Three years ago, voice actor and gaming journalist Yong Yea posted a video on the Cyberpunk 2077 development. Former CDPR employees anonymously talked to Yea corraborating earlier reviews of the studio posted on Glassdoor.
Now that the game is out, the accounts of these anonymous sources sound all the more credible. Below is the video itself, in case you missed it, and the key points the former devs made.
- In 2012, after the studio acquired the rights to make a Cyberpunk 2077 game, 20-30 people were hired to create prototypes, but their progress was very slow.
- In early 2013, the very first teaser was released, created by Platige Image, which also made all the CGI trailers for The Witcher trilogy. This teaser attracted a lot of Western developers who wanted to participate in the development of the new title.
- However, The Witcher 3 became so ambitious that all the new people who joined the studio to work on Cyberpunk 2077 were assigned to finish The Witcher 3. As a result, Cyberpunk enthusiasts spent three years doing something completely different, many of whom eventually left with no desire to return to the project that brought them to CDPR in the first place.
- In 2014, when the development of The Witcher 3 was in full swing, only artists and writers worked on Cyberpunk 2077.
- At the end of 2015, when The Witcher 3 was already completed and the team was working on DLCs, a group was formed to create playable prototypes of Cyberpunk 2077 featuring multiplayer, a wide variety of classes and character customization options; a huge city populated by more NPCs than there were in The Witcher 3; customizable equipment and weapons; ability to switch between first and third person views; storylines for both male and female characters; and Cyberspace.
- In 2016, the development of The Witcher 3 was finally completed, the entire core team started planning Cyberpunk 2077. The success of The Witcher 3 raised the bar for the game so high that the studio decided to hire an additional 200 people.
- A lot of story ideas and prototypes of the gameplay were rejected, with no clear vision what to do next.
- The RED Engine 3 was unable to support all the ideas for Cyberpunk 2077. At the end of 2016, the team decided to give the engine a majour overhaul leaving the developers in standby mode.
- During this time, the studio head, Adam Badowski, clashed with the dev team over the general vision for the game. One of the sources describes Badowski as extremely authoritative, unfocused and technically incompetent. Before becoming the studio head, Badowski was game director on The Witcher 2 whose development only wrapped up 11 hourse before the release.
- At that time, the team that had been making prototypes since 2015 was disbanded, and all the progress they had made was canned. So, the development of Cyberpunk 2077 actually began in 2016.
- At the end of 2016, the studio held an internal meeting with plans announced for the game: a demo at E3 2017, an alpha in 2018 and a release in 2019. As one of the sources notes, this was completely unrealistic. Moreover, the presentation laid out a completely different vision: one class only, a pre-written character like Geralt; focus on the story and cinematic cutscenes; etc.
- This presentation showed that people had spent time working on things that were no longer part of the new vision.
- At the beginning of 2017, many leads left the studio… And three years later, Cyberpunk 2077 came out to become one of the biggest scandals in the history of video games.