In previous earnings talks (transcribed by Seeking Alpha), Kiciński has made it clear that a spear team made multiplayer, and that “we [at CD Projekt] think of it as a stand-alone product, “- but crucially never went so far as to say so wanted released as a stand-alone project. Kiciński̵
“Previously, we suggested that our next AAA would be a multiplayer Cyberpunk game,” he explained, “but we have decided to reconsider this plan given our new, more systemic and flexible approach. Instead of focusing primarily on on a great online experience or a game we are focused on bringing online into all our franchises one day. “
It tells us something has changed, but not exactly what. Cyberpunk multiplayer may have been delayed, it may have been canceled, or it may have been redirected. Furthermore, CD Projekt has now committed to adding online experiences to its future games, and says that it builds technology to ensure that all single-player RPGs come with a kind of multiplayer connectivity. What it has not said is whether that technology is close enough to be used in Cyberpunk 2077 at some point – or whether any multiplayer mode could be, could use that technology in some way. Similarly, the message may mean that we will wait for a future Witcher or Cyberpunk sequel to see their online experiments.
The result of all this is that people are deeply confused about what has happened (and what will happen) with Cyberpunk 2077’s multiplayer – social media is filled with conflicting, gets the meaning of the comments, questions about what has happened, and complaints from those who profess to have bought the game in at least in part because of a promised multiplayer mode, and who are upset, they may not see it.
CD Projekt Red was asked for clarification to IGN that the statement above was “all we have to say.”This attitude, and the confusion it causes, became extremely apparent during an Investor Q&A that followed the strategy update. In a short session, no fewer than five separate CD Project investors asked for clarification on what the plans for Cyberpunk multiplayer were. No one got what they had come in looking for.
The closest to an explanation came early from Kiciński, who touched on the company’s philosophy of multiplayer going forward, without directly explaining how it would be used on Cyberpunk 2077:
“When it comes to online, we change our approach. We want to have online in our future games, definitely, but step by step. We work on specific features, improve our single player, but we do not work on releasing the next game. [as] a great online experience. So we want to improve our single player games with online experiences. “
“The only change is that we continue to work with [online] not as a main production line, but as a supporting production line together with our single-player productions. But we believe that our ideas, once revealed, will be very exciting for players as an extra experience in our world that suits our single player games. “The ambiguity about the actual ideas behind all this led to a number of follow-up questions from investors. Matthew Walker of Credit Suisse put it perhaps most bluntly when asked about the specific wording used in the original announcement: “I do not think I’m the only person in the conversation who is a little confused by this definition of ‘online’ vs. ‘online’. He added: “I appreciate that you will not reveal all your plans, but this is a pretty important thing that people have been waiting for for quite some time.” No plans were revealed in response.
This cuts to the heart of the matter. It is completely understandable – and admirable – that CD Projekt wants to change the marketing approach, and provide more accurate updates over a shorter period before release. But this works for projects that have not yet been announced, while Cyberpunk’s multiplayer mode hair been announced, and been discussed (at least obliquely) for many years at this time. Silence about a project fans are happy about – and investors have budget sheets pointed out – seems counterproductive.
When asked for the fifth and final time about the mode of question and answer, Kiciński (who sounded audibly tired at this point) replied more directly: “We are not ready to talk about any details, and add later,” I know it is difficult for everyone, but we are trying to change our approach to talking about the future. We are more focused on how we work, less focused on our release plans. “
The problem CD Project faces is that its many interested are very focused on just this release schedule. The lack of concrete information and the addition of more confusion is another moment in a long, confusing campaign where those who are most invested (in some cases literally) in Cyberpunk 2077 seem to be the ones who are most left without the answers they want.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s CEO of News. Follow him on Twitter. Got a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.