In a company strategy video released today, CD Projekt Red has outlined changes they plan to make to the development studio’s structure and focus. Main among the changes is the news that their next project will no longer be a standalone multiplayer Cyberpunk game.
Instead, they will focus on developing basic technology that will eventually bring multiplayer components to all of their games. This was explained along with a shift towards “parallel AAA game development”, which allows them to work on both Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher series at the same time.
The video is 24 minutes long and filled with corporate goals and values instead of product announcements, but I still found it interesting. There̵
A multiplayer version of Cyberpunk 2077 was first mentioned in September 2019, originally believed to be a mode for the base game and later prepared as a standalone release.
“Earlier we suggested that our next triple-A would be a multiplayer Cyberpunk game, but we have decided to reconsider this plan,” said CDPR Joint CEO Adam Kicinski during the presentation above.
“Given our new systematic and more flexible approach, instead of focusing primarily on a great online experience or game, we focus on bringing online into all our franchises one day. We build an online technology that can be seamlessly integrated into development of our future games. This technology will drive electronic components that we choose to introduce into our games, and will ensure that we can do so without much technological debt. ”
Before saying any of this, Kicinski emphasizes that the company will remain a developer of primarily single-player RPGs. There are also no specifications on what these electronic components or elements may be, other than that they will be integrated through the GOG Galaxy. For all I know, they can talk about adding online leaderboards to their games (but I bet not).
Their focus on parallel game development is similarly vague, to the extent that there is no announcement of The Witcher 4 or Cyberpunk 2078. Instead, they commit to continuing to “expand” both series. This includes the development of the augmented reality mobile game The Witcher: Monster Slayer, the previously announced anime series The Witcher and Cyberpunk, and “increased supply of toys, gadgets, cartoons and clothing.”
The Lions’ share of the video deals with structural changes in the studio, and a commitment to certain values they say they have always had. This is clearly an answer to the misery of Cyberpunk 2077, although none of the presenters explicitly connect the dots. For example, they spend time talking about doing more to be a “sustainable and caring work environment”, which seems to be a response to the difficult conditions the developers worked on during the last months of development on Cyberpunk.
They are also talking about expanding the role of Chief Technical Officer, and having a centralized ‘REDengine’ development team, which in part seems to be a response to the bugs and technical issues present in the game (at least until yesterday’s 1.2 patch).
There are even some dedicated to how they communicate with the audience, where they say that although they may make early teasers for new projects, detailed marketing campaigns will take place closer to release in the future. They will also demonstrate all the platforms that a game avoids, so as not to be surprised as they were with the state of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Cyberpunk 2077.
All of this seems like a sensible answer to the mess of Cyberpunk 2077’s release – including all the parts they are deliberately vague about, because the plans are not yet concrete. And for all the clutter with the release, I most enjoyed my time with Cyberpunk 2077. I hope they stop making developers crunch and release better games in the future.