An expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 will need to be more than simply polished.

It’s hard to separate my feelings about Cyberpunk 2077(opens in a new tab) from the launch disaster. I suppose I’m lucky that I never tried to play it on last-gen consoles, but even on PC, it was full of glitches and disappointments, from game-breaking bugs to wonky systems like Night City’s law enforcement.

To be clear, I had such a lot of fun going on vacation in Night City. It’s a huge RPG with clenching stories of crime and corruption, but that’s not its legacy. Phantom Liberty, then, is an option for CD Projekt Red to rewrite it—but it has to be something special.

At the least, this week’s reveal has left me cautiously optimistic. Questions about quality and polish have to wait until the game is released but the setup has piqued my interest, promising to explore the dystopia’s political situation while bringing back V and Johnny. An alleged determine(opens in new tab) in May suggested that Keanu would not be going back, so this was a happy surprise.

Really, I’m just excited to have a reason to go to Night City apart from new apartments(opens in new tab) and a cool jacket (opens in new tab). Of course, I can come back whenever I want, but Night City isn’t precisely a sandbox. Chaos doesn’t really reign supreme in GTA Online or Skyrim. It’s a stage, and it requires a script to bring it to life. I still love cars beneath its spires and gaudy holograms or taking road trips out to the desert for the best views, but there are only so many screenshots I can take. It’s a city in desperate need of additional stories.

Regrettably, it will be closely watched. Mostly from players who merely want the play to be good, but also from those looking for another reason to lash out at the studio. After The Witcher 3, CDPR became one of the most well-known developers, but once there was blood in the water, that reputation can not save them. Because of the discrepancy between the pre-release promises and the final product, there are no grudges.

People have traditionally been gentle to jank, especially on PC. It’s sometimes even appealing. Big corporations like Bethesda have been given a lot of leeways, and Skyrim’s enduring popularity isn’t due to polish. Even so, Cyberpunk 2077 crossed an invisible line and was left with a bad reputation that took a long time to repair.

Any more work has been done to improve the base game ever since its troubled launch in December 2020, but players are hungry for something new. The Witcher 3’s exceptional DLC established a high standard, and this is the studio’s first major chance to show what it’s learned from its mistakes. There’s also the context of Cyberpunk 2077’s multiplayer mode, which was previously slated for this year but was canceled entirely just after the film’s release. Issues that could have been overlooked in another game will not be accepted here.

CD Projekt, no doubt, is now under pressure from shareholders. In July, the company’s stock had dropped to a quarter of what it was before the discharge of Cyberpunk 2077. (opens in new tab). The effect on its reputation dismayed people, but it was far from the only issue. Sony removed Cyberpunk 2077 from the PS Store, removing millions of potential customers from the pool, as the previous-generation console versions were in such horrible condition. That didn’t stop it from getting a profit, and development costs had already been recouped before launch, but sales fell sharply after it was issued, according to CD Projekt.

The hype was solid enough that none of the troubles were enough to bring the company off the, and it remains one of Poland’s heavy hitters, but I doubt it can afford another set – back. Phantom Liberty is set to be released in 2023, and hopefully this time it won’t be tried to rush out the door. It will be an uphill fight, and while not going to release the expansion on last-gen consoles would seem to be the correct decision, it does mean that it is already disappointing people. Phantom Liberty symbolizes a chance for CDPR to claim back its own, but only the best will do.

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