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‘Cyberpunk 2077’: CD Projekt Red offers Xbox and PlayStation refunds as situation escalates

The launch of Cyberpunk 2077 just seems to get worse and worse for CD Projekt Red, with refunds now being offered and reports of tensions between management and employees.

Cyberpunk 2077 was pulled from the PlayStation Store last night, with Sony offering a refund to anyone who had purchased the game. The game is still available on Xbox systems through the Microsoft Store, but Microsoft is expanding its refund policies for digital purchases.

American retailer Best Buy is also allowing for full refunds of opened copies of Cyberpunk 2077. Developer CD Projekt Red has responded to the ongoing refund crisis, stating that it will allow both physical and digital copies to be refunded “out of our own pocket if necessary” during a “one-time initiative” that will last until 21 December.

Cyberpunk 2077 Keanu Reeves
Image: CD Projekt Red

The Warsaw, Poland-based company has apologised for the less-than-ideal performance of the game on last-gen consoles and has pledged to fix the myriad of technical issues, game-breaking or otherwise. While announced in 2012, the game did not enter production until 2016 and endured three delays including one that occurred after the game went gold.

A new report from Bloomberg has outlined rising tensions between CD Projekt Red management and employees stemming from the rocky launch of Cyberpunk 2077. During an internal video meeting between the board and staff, questions were raised surrounding the game’s turbulent development including the sustained crunch periods leading up to the game’s December 10 release date.

One employee even pointed out the hypocrisy of developing Cyberpunk 2077, a game about corporate exploitation, that allegedly required mandatory six-day weeks from employees to finish its development. The response given by the CD Projekt board was reportedly “vague and noncommital [sic].”

The state in which Cyberpunk 2077 has launched has been rough to say the least. With the game being practically unplayable on last-gen consoles and suffering from many bugs, ranging from funny but immersion-breaking to straight crashes, it appears gamers are making themselves heard in the only way CD Projekt Red may hear – by hitting the company’s bottom line.

It is important to remember that video games are products often created by corporations for profit and sold in the marketplace for the benefit of the consumer. While praise must go to the employees of CD Projekt Red whose passion can be felt in various facets of the game, the issues seen with its development is just another example of a much wider problem in the gaming industry.

The employee crunch that occurred here with Cyberpunk 2077 is not the exception, but instead the gaming industry standard. Multiple AAA titles over the years have been produced through crunching, including most recently The Last of Us Part II and Red Dead Redemption 2.

Unfortunately, the nature of companies being structured as corporations means that shareholders and investors need to be appeased through getting products out the door as soon as possible, leading to such situations.