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Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed, but I’m happy about it

Oh man, today has a bit of a sombre tone to it. CD Projekt Red just dropped a tweet announcing that the launch date of their highly anticipated role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077 would be delayed again. This time, from the the 17th of September 2020 to the 19th of November 2020. This was painful to many because the game was already delayed once in the past, and it has been in development since 2013.

In the statement on Twitter, the company states that the game is pretty much done, but they wanted to take more time to tweak the balancing and fix the bugs. And for the supposedly massive world that is Night City, you can imagine that this will undoubtedly take some time.

Now, a lot of fans would probably be disappointed, but as someone looking forward to trying this game out on release, I have to say that I’m actually happy about this. Why? Well, that’s because I’m also someone who pre-ordered BioWare’s fabled game Anthem, and I even paid over RM300 for the Legion of Dawn edition.

If you know, you know

I still remember the first time I watched the Anthem E3 gameplay trailer back in 2017. The dense, dynamic open world, the jaw-dropping graphics, the buttery smooth flight and combat. I was sold, and I haven’t been more excited for a new IP video game since. I mean, it looked almost too good to be true.

Of course, in hindsight, when something looks too good to be true, it often is. And unfortunately for me, Anthem pretty much became the poster child for “this is why you should never pre-order video games”. When the game actually launched, and the rose-tinted glasses wore off, even I came to accept that this “Anthem” wasn’t the one I was promised.

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Sure, there were some amazing elements. The flight controls, overheating system and focus on mobility during combat (unless you were in the thicc boi Colossus) was super fun, as was the place the game was set in. A futuristic world abandoned by its creators? Filled with hostile fauna, ancient creatures and relics of unimaginable power? Heck yea.

But at the end of the day, all of that just couldn’t compete with the fact that this was very much an incomplete game. And one that played and ran like an incomplete game. It was just a terrible experience overall.

Still, in its failings as a game, Anthem would go on to shine a spotlight on the toxic environment of the game development industry. Exposés about “crunch” in big studios where executives clashed with developers. How the industry was almost literally draining the life out of the people who work in it because those people had the misfortune of being passionate about something other than money.

Quality over deadlines

Anthem was in development for nearly a decade, but the final game that everyone got to play was hastily thrown together in months. And the repercussions extended beyond just having one bad game. This was a new IP with innovative systems and mechanics that people were genuinely excited for. But because of how crap the game turned out in the end, we may never see this world or maybe even these systems appear in a good game.

Sure, there have been calls for an overhaul or remake, or god-forbid Anthem 2. But until I see it, I’ll always remain skeptical. What I wouldn’t have given to have Anthem delayed another six months or a year so that I would be able to play a genuinely good game that could deliver on the promises of this fascinating world.

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The thing I realised throughout all of this was that while delays sucked, if the game that comes out at the end of it was genuinely good, nobody’s going to remember the time they had to wait a little longer. They only remember that when the time came, they got a good product.

So, to see a developer like CD Projekt Red push the deadline for one of the most anticipated games of 2020 so that they could up the quality of the game is encouraging to me. I’d even say take all the time you need, just make sure the product that comes out is as phenomenal as you promised. Because if Cyberpunk 2077 ends up being another Anthem, not even Keanu Reeves will be able to save it.