AG@G: Why There Is No Longer A Place For Mediocrity In The Video Game Industry
Example: The Sad State Of CD Projekt Red’s Reputation Following Cyberpunk: 2077
If you have been generous enough to read any of my other stuff, you may have read a piece I wrote earlier in the year where I loosely reviewed the Amazing Spiderman 2 on PS4. To be honest though, I just used the review as an excuse to talk about the place that mediocrity has in the video game industry. This essay will essentially be an updated version of that piece, because every now and again something else comes along and reminds me that mediocrity in the video game industry is still extremely prevalent.
Whilst I am aware that not every game released can be a 10/10 masterpiece akin to The Last Of Us, gaming has came such a long way in the last few decades that in my eyes there is a standard that must be met at this point. There is simply no longer an excuse for mediocrity in the video game industry.
As a quick disclaimer, I’d like to state that I love and miss the mid tier section of the video game market. I loved so many Codemasters, Midway and THQ games back in the day and the mid tier is the main reason that the PS2 is my favourite console.
With that out of the way; in theory, mediocrity in gaming should have went away altogether when the mid tier crumbled in the dying days of the PS2. What we should have been left with is incredible AAA experiences and smaller, innovative indie experiences.
For those of you that are Cyberpunk fans and are worried after reading the title of the essay that I am going to spend the rest of this piece bashing the game, you can rest easy and put your pitchfork down. If that is what you are after, you can check out my review of Cyberpunk: 2077 here.
The main reason that Cyberpunk is on the receiving end of my criticism today, is because it is simply the most recent example of a major game being released that simply does not meet the high standard that we have come to expect from videogames in 2021. Don’t get me wrong though, I think that we should expect a high level of production standard in our games and frankly I think the fact that CD Projekt Red ever released this game in the abysmal state that they did is nothing less than unacceptable.
CDPR put out a statement at the start of this week claiming that, “Cyberpunk: 2077’s stability has reached a satisfactory level.”
Are they talking about the same game that everyone else is? This game has been out for almost seven months now and it is still in this state.
Frankly, I am sick to death of hearing the comparison between Cyberpunk and No Man’s Sky. They are not the same thing. The circumstances of each situation are entirely different. Excuses can be made for the utter mediocrity of No Man’s Sky upon its release. Hello Games were a small studio that bit off way more than they could chew. No Man’s Sky was never anything more than a glorified indie game. CD Projekt Red are not some small indie dev team, they aren’t even a mid tier developer, they are one of the biggest game developers on the planet. Cyberpunk: 2077 had a budget of 316 million dollars and a nine year development cycle and that is where most of the outrage regarding the sorry state of this game comes from.
Nonetheless, Cyberpunk has went on to CD Projekt Red’s biggest game ever, selling 13.7 million+ copies as of April 2021. The team have make their money back and then some, therefore more games in the series will likely be developed down the line. This is because a large portion those who purchased Cyberpunk: 2077 did so through pre order, before anyone really knew how poor the thing ran and hype alone carried this game through any of the turmoil that it faced. Frankly, I am pretty indifferent when it comes to the future of Cyberpunk as a franchise, as I still feel burnt and let down from when I purchased this game at Christmas, but if you are a Cyberpunk fan this should concern you greatly.
If you are unhappy with the exceedingly poor state that this game was released in, my advice is; don’t buy it. If you really can’t resist playing it at some point, then buy a used physical copy from a brick and mortar store. That way you aren’t giving CDPR your hard earned cash and you aren’t enabling them to continue to rely on reaching their profit goals via a lacklustre game. That is how you change the future of your favourite franchise; never underestimate the power that you possess as a consumer.
The future of Cyberpunk as a franchise aside, my concern lies more with the overall video game market and the concern is that this way of thinking will bleed out and affect the frame of mind of other developers. Using a big franchise name alone to sell your game and forfeiting any attempt at creating a well made experience for your audience.
This is an issue that we have to stamp out now, it may sound petty or harsh, but this is how we make gaming better for all of us. There is no longer a place for mediocrity in the video game industry and it is up to us, the consumers to let publishers know that.
The message that I keep reiterating is backed up again by this topic; stop being an apologist, stop settling for less and don’t be afraid to demand a higher standard. Spreading negativity isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it has a legitimate basis. This is how we push mediocrity out of gaming.
Playstation’s best slogan is still, ‘Expect Greatness,’ because we should expect greatness from developers; don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade. The most powerful voice of all lives in your back pocket; your hard earned cash and that is what gives you the right to call for better experiences.
If you are a Cyberpunk fan and fancy reading Dan saying something slightly more positive about the franchise, you can check out his review of Cyberpunk: 2077 – You Have My Word #1 here.
Alternatively, you can check out our piece on the leaked upcoming Cyberpunk: 2077 DLC here.
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