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CD Projekt Red, the studio behind the Witcher franchise of games, announced yesterday on Twitter that Cyberpunk 2077, their new title, is being pushed back yet again to December 10th. It’s three weeks, so while it isn’t a few months, it’s enough of a kick in the face for fans to be understandably upset.

In that Tweet, CD Projekt Red studio heads Adam Badowski and Marcin Iwiński blame the delay on the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 “evolved towards almost being a next-gen title somewhere along the way…” in combination with the struggles of developing a game of this size and scope across nine different platforms while working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They also go on to explain that while 21 days may not seem like a lot of time, especially since the game “went gold” earlier this month, meaning that discs were being printed and packaged, the studio heads explained that the needed extra time would go towards the Day 0 patch, which is part of what players will be downloading when they install the game the very first time.

If it seems like you’ve heard about this game releasing before, that’s because you probably have. Cyberpunk 2077 was initially set to launch back in April of this year, before getting pushed back to September 17th, and then back again until November 19th, the expected release date before yesterday’s announcement.

While those first two delays can almost certainly be blamed on the pandemic and the effects working from home has had on the entirety of the gaming industry, this latest delay seems somewhat odd, especially if rumors that the game’s developers didn’t even know until the announcement went live is true.

This seems to me to be more of a move to keep from crunching on the Day 0 patch after Iwiński told Kotaku the studio wouldn’t crunch to finish the game, a phenomenon that’s become so common in the industry it’s practically synonymous with game development at this point. If that’s the case though, the announcement coming now seems like an attempt to head-off any reports of crunch rather than a genuine attempt to prevent it.

When it comes down to it, CD Projekt Red have a good reputation with their fans when it comes to the quality of their games, and fans are more than willing to forgive delays if it means the polish of the game is at the usual level for the studio, especially given how long this game has been in development and everything it promises.

The problem right now lies in the question of if CDPR is abusing that good will and trust from the community, and just what the cause of the issue actually is. Working on the Day 0 patch is all well and good, but if the developers actually need six weeks from now to launch to get significant bugs and other issues resolved, why did the game go gold and start printing discs if the game was so buggy that three weeks wasn’t enough time.

If it is to avoid crunch on the game’s final fixes and patches, why announce the delay now, and not earlier, to avoid the backlash so far, especially with many users on Twitter upset that their requested time off from work to play the game is now wasted?

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