That's because during its H1 2021 financial results call, CD Projekt’s senior vice president of business development Michał Nowakowski told shareholders that the company has learned not to guarantee these things. So it's unsurprising that the company isn’t certain that its planned next-generation console update will hit the 2021 target.
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“The target is to release the next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077 late this year,” Nowakowski said, as transcribed by Videogame Chronicles. “At the same time, keeping in mind the lessons we have learned during the past year and taking into account that this project still remains in development, we can’t say with full certainty that the production schedule will not change.”
The possible delay doesn’t appear to be down to a shortage of people working on the title. The company confirmed that just over a third of its staff are working on the next-gen upgrades and patching the game on current platforms. The rest are working on the game's DLC, Gwent and other secret projects.
Interestingly, it’s a similar story of potential delay for the next-generation update to The Witcher 3, despite it being “mainly” farmed out to another studio: Saber Interactive, the same firm that worked on the impressive Nintendo Switch port.
“As with Cyberpunk 2077, our goal is to release that game still in late 2021,” Nowakowski continued. “However, similarly, the development process is ongoing, and we cannot be absolutely dead certain that the release schedule will not change. But for the time being, we definitely are aiming with both titles for late 2021 and I don’t want to be more specific at this moment in time.”
CD Projekt has continued to work on Cyberpunk 2077 since its bug-laden release last December, with several chunky patches. In June, the company said that stability had reached a “satisfactory level." And, indeed, this proved satisfactory enough for Sony, which brought the game back to the PlayStation store, reversing its embarrassing removal six months earlier.
The most recent patch even offers some rudimentary DLC — a couple of jackets, an alternate appearance of an NPC and a car — alongside the bug fixes, performance enhancements and stability improvements. But as our senior editor Marshall Honorof said, it may simply be too little, too late for existing platforms.
The next-gen upgrades could fare better if there’s still a shortage of next-gen exclusive games around when they emerge from development. All the more reason for the company to move heaven and earth to ensure work is completed this year.