Critics accuse Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red of “intentionally seeking to hide the true state of the game” whilst their official apology promises refunds that are now being rejected by Microsoft and Sony.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the game that keeps on giving, if you’re into controversy that is. After an official apology promised refunds after bugs, crashes and unplayable framerates marred the last gen versions of the game, it’s being reported that that might well not be possible.
The apology reads:
“We would appreciate it if you would give us a chance, but if you are not pleased with the game on your console and don’t want to wait for updates, you can opt to refund your copy. For copies purchased digitally, please use the refund system of PSN or Xbox respectively. For boxed versions, please first try to get a refund at the store where you bought the game. Should this not be possible, please contact us at email@example.com and we will do our best to help you. Starting from today, you can contact us for a week up until December 21st, 2020.”
Whilst said apology seems promising at first, in reality it places the full burden on the platforms and sites/stores to fulfil said requests – something many players are finding isn’t bearing fruit.
— Koda ➐ (@ThatBoiKoda) December 14, 2020
— sabinfire (@sabinfire) December 14, 2020
Both Microsoft and Sony’s restrictive digital refund policies mean players are finding refunds inconsistent to obtain at best. Not an ideal situation when reportedly 74% of all Cyberpunk 2077’s eight million pre-orders were digital. Stores like Game also stipulate in their returns policy that any product must be in its “original condition (unopened and unused)” to be eligible for a refund. It doesn’t appear as if CD Projekt Red have made any attempt to contact retail stores.
In fact, CD Projekt Red’s senior vice president of business development, Michał Nowakowski confirmed in an investor call that no special agreement had been made with the platforms for refunds when making that original promise to players:
“Despite several articles I’ve seen that things are being set up just for us, it’s actually not true,” said Nowakowski, “these policies are in place and have always been in place; they’re not offered specifically for us. Anyone who has purchased any title on the PlayStation network or the Microsoft storefront can ask for a refund, and if it’s made within certain boundaries, usually related to time, usage and so on, can ask for that refund. Our procedure here with Microsoft and Sony is not different than with any other title released on any of those storefronts.”
In this way, CD Projekt Red’s assurance of refunds falls flat. The onus is entirely on everyone but the company to fulfil those refunds. If you’re completely out of luck, you’ll just have to wait for two large patches in January and February to potentially resolve the current issues.
As for that “firstname.lastname@example.org” address CD Projekt Red provided, people are starting to get a standard response. Continue requesting refunds from Microsoft, but otherwise wait if you own a PS4 copy it suggests. It’s unclear what support CD Projekt Red are having people wait for, but they promise to get back to everyone “by the end of 2020 with information regarding next steps.”
This situation is made all the worse by strong accusations from Opencritic and others that the last gen versions were knowingly hidden from scrutiny with review requirements precluding those versions and only permitting pre-rendered game footage in reviews. In a damning statement on the game, Opencritic said:
“They did this knowing that their game had severe performance issues on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which were its target launch consoles… They did it knowing that many publications generally can’t re-review games… They did it knowing that, to this day, it is still challenging for consumers to return a video game… They did it knowing that most online communities don’t discuss the platforms behind the review…
They did it knowing that what they were doing was wrong. It was deceptive, selfish, and exploitative. They did it anyway.”
IGN too have released a PS4 and Xbox One-specific review damning Cyberpunk 2077 with a 4/10, calling it a “shockingly bad way to experience what is a fantastic RPG on better hardware.”
It’s a bad state of affairs that looks unlikely to be resolved until we see what fixes can be delivered in the new year. “The cost of patching the game is irrelevant [compared] to what we have at stake at this moment,” says Nowakowski. It no doubt requires yet more crunch of the development team, of which the company has already been heavily criticised for.
In the meantime, if you want an alternative cyberpunk experience, you can always opt for this anti-Cyberpunk 2077 bundle, released in opposition to Cyberpunk 2077’s “exploitative labor practices,” “transphobia“, and “racist stereotypes.”