Just how well will these outdated machines be able to handle CDPR’s massive RPG?
While Cyberpunk 2077 cannot seem to stay out of the minds and off the lips of gamers across the world at the moment, and there is plenty to be excited about for CD Projekt RED’s upcoming, open world RPG. We here at GamingBolt have not shied away from bringing up concerns and apprehensions we may have. As such, I think it’s important to point out that Cyberpunk 2077’s massive world, outstanding graphics, and general scope and depth might end up being a bit of a double-edged blade to some extent. While, yes, the wealth of character traits and story arcs you can play around with are likely to be a massive plus for the game, the more we learn about just how much is being crammed into Cyberpunk, the more base PS4 and Xbox One owners might want to hang back and see where the chips fall with those versions of the game.
Firstly, and most obviously, game developers do have a bit of a record of not exactly exceeding expectations with games that are launched on multiple platforms from different generations. Games being launched on multiple consoles is one thing, and can often – on their own – spawn their own set of problems, but to also introduce the problem of making versions of said game for multiple consoles from completely different generations can introduce an entirely different layer of difficulty for the developers.
As we discussed in another Cyberpunk 2077 feature, games like The Evil Within and the original Watch Dogs definitely come to mind as games that weren’t bad by any technical standard, but certainly felt held back on all versions for one reason or another because of how many versions were being made. It’s an easy way to take a great game and lower it down to being merely good or perceptibly less than good. Despite the game itself not necessarily being a less than good game on its own, stretching the experience out across multiple generations can be a quick way to spread a good game too thin and end up doing a disservice to the experience on the whole.
Some games can even see entire modes taken out. Is that something we need to fear for Cyberpunk 2077? Given CD Projekt RED’s track record I would like to assume no, but then again, they haven’t really had this task before them on their own. The Witcher 3 was nothing short of a fantastically well-made game that was able to meet if not exceed gamers’ expectations on all the platforms for which it was released, but those platforms were not across multiple generations. The Witcher 3 was on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One and PC, with a Nintendo switch version that came later, as it was not a part of the initial launch of the game and they were able to put special focus on it for a period of time. That’s not really the situation they’re in now with Cyberpunk 2077.
Cyberpunk is launching on the PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro, the Xbox One, Xbox One X, the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S on top of PC and Stadia. That’s a lot of versions for any game to have to launch on at the same time. Granted, the PS5 versions and the Xbox Series X versions are going to be fairly similar and they probably won’t require a whole lot of time to get them all running up to speed, but it’s still more for CD Projekt RED to keep track of then the vast majority of developers have ever had to do. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but it’s worth noting the unprecedented nature of the launch of this game, and how that is likely to affect the rollout ultimately in one way or another.
Another nugget of information that PS4 and Xbox One owners should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to pick up Cyberpunk on their respective consoles is that those very consoles are likely the majority of the reason – if not the entirety of the reason – for Cyberpunk’s most recent delay. There’s not a whole lot of information that is concretely known about the nature of the delay, or the severity of the problems that led to it, but it is safe to say that a delay after a game has gone gold could only occur if there were something demonstrably wrong.
In fact, the delay was indeed because of how the game was running on last generation hardware. Over the last few weeks it has been widely reported, across various sources, that it was revealed in no uncertain terms during an investor conference call that the delay mostly centers around problems with the game as it currently runs on the PlayStation 4 in the Xbox One. Conversely it is up and running well on next-gen platforms but those aren’t the versions that are going to be played by most people at first. The vast majority of Cyberpunk 2077 early adopters will be on the last generation of hardware, at least according to pre-order numbers.
Aside from that, most who have played the PS4 and Xbox One versions tend to have more compliments than complaints. Even though most of them probably at least got the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One X versions, that is something that we can at least put in the column of reasons to not be too concerned as those versions will likely be quite similar. Even still most of the gameplay footage that has been bandied about on the internet over the last month or so is from either PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or PC.
While this is a common practice as developers want to show off the best-looking versions of the game, seeing as how the vast majority of players will be playing it on older systems, you couldn’t be blamed for re-considering whether or not to pick it up on day one. As we all know we have examples to point to similar situations going poorly and going well, But the reality is Cyberpunk 2077 is in a very unique spot launching on an uncommonly large amount of consoles while boasting a potentially new standard for the genre in a multitude of ways. Whether or not concerns turn out to be worth having is something we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer to know, but at this point, there’s no shame in having them.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.