CD Projekt Red Comments on Cyberpunk 2077's Long Development Time

cyberpunk 2077
(Photo: CD Projekt Red)

Cyberpunk 2077 was announced all the way back in May 2012, more than six years ago. A year later, the first-ever teaser trailer was released. Then it was silence until this past June, when CD Projekt Red released the game's second-ever trailer and held a behind-closed-doors demo for members of the press at E3.

It's been over six years since it was announced. That's quite a long time. And what makes that period of time even feel even longer is the fact there is no word of a release date. In fact, there's considerable speculation the game is cross-gen, meaning it likely won't hit until 2020 at the earliest. Even if its hits in 2020, that will be eight years from announcement. Again, that's a long time. And CD Projekt Red is well aware of it.

During an interview with Kotaku, one of the co-founders of the Polish studio, Marcin Iwiński, commented on the lengthy development cycle, noting that creative changes were made along the way, and shutting down the idea that the game at one point was "rebooted."

"I wouldn’t call it a reboot, but we were changing directions, and actually we were looking for the substance of the game," said Iwiński "It is super difficult when you’re establishing a new IP, because you can do whatever you want to do, but at the same time you’re always questioning yourself. The process of this internal dialogue – or sometimes even like a monologue happening in people’s heads – it is very difficult and hard because you don’t know, is it going to be cool or not?

"Then you come back and say, ‘No, I thought it’d be cool, but it’s not anymore, so we have to change the direction.’ Then you have to explain it to people. Then the team is larger, there are new people who might not understand how it works."

According to Iwiński, Cyberpunk 2077's development cycle is all rooted in the identity of CD Projekt Red, a company which he helped find with the purpose of creating games with complete creative freedom, and the ability to make as many changes as needed to get something right.

Iwiński notes that this process sometimes will result in throwing out six months worth of work or more, but the studio isn't afraid of making that decision, unlike almost every other studio in the world. There's an eye for perfection, and an aim to completely deliver the project the studio envisions.

Iwiński acknowledges that this type of talk paired with how long it is taking for the game to come along “might sound scary” for those looking from the outside in, but he hopes fears and worries were put to bed with the game's recent E3 demo, which dominated the conversation of the show, despite not even be made available to the public.

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If you're wondering why CD Projekt Red revealed the game so early rather than keep things under wrap, it's because the studio originally planned to work on the game alongside The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but that plan changed when the team learned the third game in the fantasy RPG series and its ambitious DLC would require all of its attention. In other words, Cyberpunk 2077 was put on the backburner.

If Cyberpunk 2077 turns out anything like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt -- which is widely considered one of the best games of all-time -- it will be well worth the wait. However, early reports seem to indicate it won't be as just as good as Geralt's third and final adventure: it will be better.