Cyberpunk 2077: CD Projekt Red stock drops more than 75% post launch

CD Projekt Red, once the most valued game company in Poland, has lost 75 percent of its value since the failed release of its flagship game, Cyberpunk 2077, in December 2020. According to Business Insider Poland, the company was worth $8.1 billion or roughly 40 billion Polish zloty at its peak. It is now worth around $2.1 billion or less than 10 billion Polish zloty.

The fall in value was once unprecedented, as the release of Cyberpunk 2077 was a long-awaited moment for video game fans. Prior to that, the last game CDPR released was the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3, and public expectations were understandably high for the company’s next project.

However, despite numerous delays and CDPR saying that Cyberpunk 2077 would be released “when it’s ready”, what ultimately came out was a game that was not quite as polished, causing massive backlash from fans worldwide.

CD Project also said that the game performed “surprisingly well” on then-current-gen consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which was later proven untrue. Despite an over 40GB day-one patch, the game was virtually unplayable, and due to the sheer amount of refund requests, Sony — which at the time had a strict no-refund policy — had to make an exception for Cyberpunk 2077. It subsequently took the game off the PlayStation store for more than six months.

Players with high-end PCs were only faring slightly better, as they were at least able to access the console to bypass the game-breaking bugs (assuming they didn’t crash the game altogether). Adding salt to the wound, however, was the fact that CDPR blatantly lied about gameplay features, and some promised features never made it to the game at launch, and those that did, suffered game-breaking bugs such as the game’s police system.

Quantic Lab’s involvement

While CDPR’s hubris and lies undeniably had a part to play in Cyberpunk 2077’s failed launch, the blame might not fall squarely on them. A YouTube video by Upper Echelon Gamers claimed that Quantic Lab, the company responsible for handling the game’s Q&A, had assigned junior staff members instead seasoned veterans, thus impacting the game’s quality.

It was also claimed in the video that the Romania-based company had used the incorrect performance metric when testing the game — the number of bugs and glitches. This forced the testers to focus on finding as many bugs as possible, however superficial, and kept them from discovering the more critical, game-breaking bugs that would ruin the experience entirely.

Stefan Seicarescu, CEO of Quantic Lab, denied the claims, saying, “Each project we undertake is unique with regard [to] project requirements. Project direction is agreed and adjusted accordingly as per real-time requirements with our clients.”

What’s next for CDPR

Setting aside the hacking incident that saw CDPR losing the source code of Cyberpunk 2077 in February last year, the game itself has since received many updates, and many of its problems have been patched, thus making the game playable and, to some degree, enjoyable.

It remains to be seen, however, whether CDPR could recoup the goodwill it had lost following Cyberpunk 2077’s botched release in time for the release of The Witcher 4, the next installment in The Witcher’s saga. Some are cautiously optimistic, but it would be an uphill battle for CDPR to be the king of Polish gaming once again.