Gamescom was back in full force last week, with just about every participating company giving us plenty to get excited about. Personally, I was pretty wowed by Atomic Heart’s combat trailer. The combination of cool powers, exotic weapons, speed and brutal depiction thereof had my jaw-dropped for the duration! I was feeling psyched, truly psyched for this game, a feeling I haven’t felt for a little while now!
Then a thought popped-into my mind that brought me right back down to Earth in an instant: “what if it’s just another Cyberpunk?” After that, well let’s just say I’m not feeling the hype anymore. I thought I was past Cyberpunk 2077 by this point, but it seems that the utter disappointment still stings even two years later. This got me thinking, when will Cyberpunk 2077 finally become a thing of the past? Should it?
In many ways, Cyberpunk 2077 was a wake-up call that many of us sorely needed. It was and I guess still is the undeniable proof that even gameplay footage can be terribly misleading and that no developer is above reproach. Like many others out there, I fully bought into the Cyberpunk 2077 hype for two reasons: that extended gameplay trailer showing us a “typical” mission in the game and CD Projekt Red’s sterling reputation as a developer/publisher that cared about its customers.
There were warning signs of course. The multiple delays, the years that the project spent in development hell before reappearing in 2018, and the reports of insane crunch all should have provided plenty of caution to us oh so eager fans. Yet, we largely ignored it thinking that something like “yeah, that’s not good, but it’s CD Projekt Red! They would never mislead us and put out an unfinished game like an EA or Bethesda!” That’s exactly what they did though, and we all got blindsided thanks to the entirely unwarranted faith we put into that company (specifically its upper-management).
Ever since Cyberpunk 2077, I (and likely plenty of others out there) no longer truly trust anything I see in trailers or hear in developer interviews. Sure, I’ll still get excited about the ideas and the potential of the game I’m seeing or hearing about, but I don’t really expect to experience exactly that anymore. Instead, I find myself wondering how many steps down the real game will be from the proposed experience. If it turns out better than expected, great! If it winds up being nowhere near what was promised though, at least it won’t be a surprise this time.
Part of me wishes I could watch a gameplay trailer and actually be able to expect something close to that again. Yet, I think it’s better this way. The business has changed a lot over the years, so much so that making a great game is not necessarily the goal for a lot of companies. Cyberpunk 2077 proved this, and I think it’s an important lesson to take to heart. Sure, it makes this hobby a bit less fun, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid being taken advantage of. As nice as it would be to live in a world where we don’t need to remember Cyberpunk 2077, where not there yet. Until we are, perhaps its better if we never forget.
What do you think? Do you still get hyped after the Cyberpunk debacle? When do think gamers should let it go (if ever)?
Image from official promotional screenshot from CD Projekt Red’s site.