With the release of Cyberpunk 2077, we've now seen the hype die down as people start playing and progressing through the game. While the hype was at 100 (or close to it), the overall consensus seems to be somewhere between negative and mixed. Just go to the Cyberpunk sub, where now 10k+ upvoted posts complain about the game on the daily.
With that being said, I believe Cyberpunk 2077 will be the last ambitious game created by a AAA studio.
Let me preface by saying, I'm not a CDPR apologist or fan boy. I enjoyed The Witcher 3 very much, and so far, after around 6.5 hours, I am enjoying Cyberpunk as well. Both of these games are/were massive in size and content. But focusing on Cyberpunk, this game was announced in 2012(!), and has been in development for 8+ years. I appreciate Cyberpunk for what it is. It is an ambitious game. A game that is trying to tie in a dense open world, with a great story, great mechanics, and a great RPG. Most games now feel empty. They are "open world" but lack density. They have good main stories but severely lack quality in side missions. They have great mechanics but lack in RPG options. Etc.etc. Overall, I feel like Cyberpunk does a pretty good job (so far at least) in bringing all of these things together, and creating something not found in many, if any, Open World RPG games. Yes it has some bugs, but like the Witcher 3 on release, CDPR will work on squashing those over time. The core foundation of the game is very solid and, dare I say, fun.
Putting aside company semantics, CDPR and its developers seem like, from the outside, a team of people who care deeply about what they put out. They have never, up to this point, given us a reason to assume that they are a money hungry, profit driven company who doesn't really care about the quality of the game, but the overall profits the game will make them. They want to produce quality, great games, which will in turn sell a lot and make them profits (this is in my personal opinion). This is different from a company like EA, for example, who seems to base games and decisions off of profits, and quality comes second (again my personal opinion). I understand CDPR obviously wants to make a profit, but again, I believe they want to make a profit because of the quality of the content being high, not because they sell a half baked game and make money on cosmetics/loot crates/etc.
Which brings me to my point. Why would a AAA company want to attempt to create any ambitious game? Cyberpunk was under development for 8+ years. And in the end, they could have either 1) Had yet another delay, which would have irritated a lot of people but they probably could have reduced at least some of the bugs/issues that currently plague the game. Or 2) Released the game as is and proceed to get attacked by the media and its fans for producing a "half baked" game. They chose option 2, and now even their devoted fans who waited 8+ years for the game are upset at what they received.
Meanwhile, look at a game like Warzone. Call of Duty made over $3 billion this year because of Warzone/CoD Mobile. The development time of those games was not nearly as long as something like Cyberpunk (as far as I'm aware), and will make Activision more money than CDPR will ever make off Cyberpunk. Warzone also has had minimal updates since launch, and still has bugs and glitches galore, with new ones popping up seemingly every new update. Say what you want about Warzone, but Activision hit the cash cow with that game, and they didn't have to waste years of development trying to create something grand or incredible. Just take what you have, play it safe, make minor adjustments, and rake in the money from cosmetics/battle passes.
I feel like AAA studios have to see this for what it is. FTP games with purchasable options give the company the most profits. They can play it safe and easy, whip these things out in a timely fashion, slap on a "beta" or "alpha" tag to reduce complaining of bugs, and make their money. Why bother trying to create something never before seen if in the end, people will still find a way to hate on it, instead of appreciating it for what it is. In a world where money doesn't matter, maybe big AAA studios like CDPR will continue to produce high quality ambitious games. But money does matter, and I'm afraid we won't see AAA companies take the big risk, since they can make money, more money in most cases, by playing it safe.
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