Witcher game maker CD Projekt Red has let off a zinger on Twitter while trying to calm fears Cyberpunk 2077 will be out to take more of our money.
CD Projekt joint-CEO Adam Kicinski rattled fans when, in a Polish interview with Strefa Inwestorow, he said things like, "we're interested in Cyberpunk being commercially even more significant", and, "Online is very necessary, or very recommended if you wish to achieve long-term success."
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Cyberpunk 2077 having online multiplayer is not something we've heard for a while but it is something CD Projekt Red has talked about before, even as long ago as in 2013, when studio head Adam Badowski told me Cyberpunk 2077 will be "a story-based RPG experience with amazing single-player playthroughs, but we're going to add multiplayer features".
The worry is not only whether synchronous multiplayer like this will detract from the kind of single-player experience we're all hoping CD Projekt Red can deliver in Cyberpunk 2077, but whether, in relation to being "commercially even more significant", multiplayer will be a conduit for the game taking more of our cash, through microtransactions or whatever.
Given the storm surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and loot boxes in general, it's an understandable concern, and presumably why CD Projekt Red felt the need to write the tweet it did.
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"Worry not," replied CDPR to Pretty Good Gaming, in response to a video airing similar concerns. "When thinking [Cyberpunk 2077], think nothing less than [The Witcher 3] - huge single-player, open world, story-driven RPG. No hidden catch, you get what you pay for - no bullshit, just honest gaming like with Wild Hunt."
Then the clincher: "We leave greed to others."
CD Projekt Red has built enormous amounts of goodwill within the gaming community by fighting against greedy practices and by treating players as people rather than numbers on a spreadsheet, and, of course, by making exceptional video games.
But it isn't all roses. Recently the rapidly expanding company has come under fire from within for a culture of allegedly working people too hard and without adequate reward. It prompted CD Projekt Red to issue a statement saying, "This approach to making games is not for everyone."
Cyberpunk 2077 has no release date. It's been in development for many years but the blockbuster success of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt moved the goalposts. I met Cyberpunk pen-and-paper creator, and Cyberpunk 2077 advisor, Mike Pondsmith earlier this year to talk about how the game was getting on. Personally, I don't I expect it before 2019.