Nope, you’re not getting (cyber)punk’d. CD Projekt Red has delayed the anticipated next-gen updates for its two massive role-playing games, Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
“We have an important update regarding [the] next-generation updates of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3,” the company said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Based on recommendations supplied by teams supervising the development of both games, we decided to postpone their releases until 2022.”
CD Projekt Red said that the next-gen upgrade for Cyberpunk 2077 is now slated for the first quarter of the next year, while the upgrade for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will come out in the quarter after. Both were initially planned for release before the end of 2021.
Players were no doubt excited to play a spruced-up version of The Witcher 3, one of the games that defined the past decade of gaming, on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. The game at least functions, and plays perfectly fine, via backward compatibility on those consoles. (And to further ground expectations, you also have to consider that a next-gen upgrade for a six-year-old game will no doubt make it look prettier and load faster, but you’ll still be playing a six-year-old game.)
More urgent is the rollout of Cyberpunk 2077’s next-gen upgrade. By now, the story of the troubled shooter-RPG has been told to death (good recap here if you need it). In June, CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński said that Cyberpunk 2077 was finally at a “satisfying” level of playability, freeing up the development team to focus on new content — including these anticipated snazzier versions — rather than patching up the game’s digital holes with digital Scotch tape.
Personally, I’ve been holding off on finishing Cyberpunk 2077 (I’m about 20 hours in) until the next-gen versions come out. Cyberpunk is, by all accounts, a massively long game. Given its scope and the ephemeral, fleeting nature of time, I’ll probably play through it just once. Why spend time on the lesser version when one with all the bells and whistles is on the horizon?
In any case, I — and anyone else in my position — will have to wait a bit longer. When the updated version eventually comes out, will it still feel like a brand-new game, worthy of a next-gen denomination? Or will it play like a three-year-old game, a visually stunning if still dusty time capsule from a prior era of an industry that moves rapidly enough for three years to feel like a minor eternity?