A planned standalone multiplayer version of Cyberpunk 2077 is being “reconsidered,” developer CD Projekt Red says, as the company reconfigures itself for a new development structure going forward.
In a “strategy update” video posted Tuesday, CDPR joint CEO Adam Kicinski mentioned that the team had previously “hinted that our next AAA would be a multiplayer Cyberpunk game, but we have decided to reconsider this plan given our new more systematic and agile approach [to development].”
Instead, CDPR will be focusing on “building an online technology that can be seamlessly integrated into all of our future games,” Kicinski said. That means developing technologies that can “power online components we choose to add to our games without any technological delay.”
While such online features will be “an important part of our future games,” Kicinski stressed that “CD Projekt Red makes single-player story-driven AAA RPGs. That is not changing.” Online features will be implemented in future games only “when it makes sense,” he added.
Parallel development and cross-functional teams
CDPR’s new partial focus on online features comes amid an internal restructuring of CDPR’s project management. Kicinski said that instead of focusing on one big-budget title at a time, the company will “shift and adapt our focus to enable parallel AAA game development.” That means using “cross-functional teams” that can do simultaneous work on games in both of CDPR’s major franchises—The Witcher and Cyberpunk.
The goal is to create faster iteration and more seamless contact between teams, studio co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwinski said. That goal takes on added importance since Iwinski said in January that poor internal communications were partly to blame for the company missing massive bugs in “last-generation” console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 before the game was released.
“We underestimated the scale and complexity of the issues, we ignored the signals about the need for additional time to refine the game on the base last-gen consoles,” Iwinski said in a December conference call addressing the same issues. “This caused the loss of gamers’ trust and the reputation that we’ve been building through a big part of our lives.”
Under the new structure, the company’s Red Engine technology will be refocused to better serve both franchises at once, CTO Pawel Zawodny said. The newly centralized version of the engine will let the team “prepare certain functionalities that can be used in both franchises,” meaning that features like NPC routines and character control can be programmed once and applied to multiple games in parallel. Zawodny said he hopes that strategy will bring more “consistency” to CDPR games’ technical performance.
CDPR also said that, going forward, it will be changing the way it promotes its upcoming games before their release. PR campaigns for future titles will be much shorter and start closer to the game’s planned launch, with only short teasers releasing further ahead of time. Senior VP of Business Development Michal Nowakowski also promised that the team would focus on showing actual game footage before release, not mere concepts, and would make sure all planned platforms were represented in pre-release materials.
Elsewhere, in a Q&A session with investors, Nowakowski said that he feels recent patches for Cyberpunk 2077 have gotten the game closer to a planned return to the PlayStation Store, following its delisting in December. “Each and every [patch] brings us closer to going back to the PSN store,” he said. “However, the final decision, you have to understand, belongs to Sony. We do believe we’re closer than further, but of course, the final call is theirs, so let’s wait and see.”