The resurgence of Cyberpunk 2077 means CDPR has to go back to its original expansion plans

The popularity of anime should be a wake-up call for CDPR.

With the success of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, a new audience for Cyberpunk 2077, the Samurai, has awakened. On Steam, the game has recently outnumbered The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, achieving the highest level 136,724 to the Witcher 103329 Better. The rising tide of Edgerunners has also pushed Cyberpunk 2077’s lifetime unit sales to over 20 million.

Cyberpunk 2077 was launched broken and CDPR took a long time to put it into working order. So, almost two years after its buggy release, it’s understandable that you’ll want to celebrate the game’s recovery arc. No Man’s Sky, Final Fantasy XIV, and Fallout 76 have all taken their long journey from punching bag to platitude. Why shouldn’t Cyberpunk 2077?

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RELATED: Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Is Cool, But It Won’t Make Me Play 2077

Well, as our editor-in-chief Stacey Henley wrote recently, the game isn’t really fixed, it’s just fixed. Most bugs have been corrected, some systems are better implemented, and your character’s Cyberweiner will no longer cut it from the Internet. It’s technically a solid point – arguably the state it should have started – but it still misses a lot of what it needs to be a really great game. Therefore, it needs major repairs.

Which is why it’s unfortunate that CDPR announces that Phantom Liberty, the upcoming downloadable content slated for release in 2023, is the only expansion it plans to release before moving on from Cyberpunk 2077. I want to play The Witcher 4 and Cyberpunk 2078 as the next person, But, just as CP2077’s hard launch caused a shift in CDPR’s long-term plans for the game, so too should its recent success be taken into account.

Lots of players pick up on Cyberpunk 2077 for the first time, and unlike the more than a million players who were there the night the game kicked off, these players pick a game with all of its technical kinks. While fans like me who have been there since day one have generally had to measure our praise of the game with a heavy dose of criticism, new players are picking a game that will be easier for them to fall in love with.

Just releasing one expansion and then moving on makes sense when the game is performing poorly. Cut your losses, get the thing that generates bad press from the news, and move on to other projects that have the potential to be more profitable and better received by fans and critics. It makes less sense when the game sees an increase in popularity with the influx of new players, many of whom will continue playing the game if they have a reason to stay.

When Phantom Liberty was revealed, I wrote that one expansion wasn’t enough to fix the issues with Cyberpunk 2077. Even with the bug fixes, the game still has a fair amount of very shallow missions that credit their dialogue from other better artworks like Portal and The Silence of the Lambs. Night City still doesn’t have basically any interiors except for buildings that you need to enter for missions. Writing is often an event, it has issues with the way it deals with race and gender, and some of its systems, like wording, aren’t worth dealing with. It needs more than one expansion to fix bigger problems that still exist.

That was true a month ago, when Phantom Liberty was announced, and it’s still true now. The difference is that now, with the success of Edgerunners, there is an enthusiastic audience, eager to play even more. CDPR shouldn’t give up on Cyberpunk 2077 when many players start trying it out for the first time.

Next: Cyberpunk 2077’s stealth mechanics are still complete rubbish

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