CD Projekt Red punks up, Vin Diesel loves creative, gaymers make history: 12/14 - 12/20 News Roundup
Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Too busy to keep up with gaming news? Need one place to get updated on all the biggest GAMER™ news out there? Every Sunday, we'll write a quick round-up of all the important headlines in games, with a few hidden gems that even those in the know might have missed.
This week, Cyberpunk finds a way to keep itself on everyone's minds for all the wrong reasons, Nintendo has indies and Sephiroth goodies to share, and Vin Diesel officially joins a development studio.
Headline: CD Projekt Red promises changes to come to console versions of Cyberpunk in January and February
The Gist: In a statement released addressing the controversy over Cyberpunk 2077's current buggy state (particularly on consoles), CD Projekt Red promises major patches in both January and February to bring the game to a playable state.
Bright Side: As much as CD Projekt Red really bungled the launch of this game, they're making the right promises early on. And if the game truly is in a much cleaner state by February, I'd consider that a win — and a much speedier one than most were expecting.
Dark Side: There are a few concerning things to consider here across multiple headlines for CD Projekt Red and their troubled release. One, after reports of actual years of sustained crunch, developers will be forced back into the mines to work around the clock to ensure this game gets back to a playable state. Two, their statement (which can be read in the next headline) shows that they likely knew the game was unplayable on last-gen consoles and they hid that performance via a lack of review codes and any major gameplay videos before launch. Very bad all around.
Headline: Full refunds offered for Cyberpunk on PlayStation Store and Xbox due to quality issues, Cyberpunk fully delisted from PlayStation store
The Gist: As a proposed solution to the problems found on PS4 and Xbox One, CD Projekt Red has offered full refunds to those unwilling to wait for major patches. After a confusing period where both PlayStation and Microsoft were only processing some of the refund requests submitted, PlayStation said "no half measures" and delisted the game from their digital store, making it unavailable for purchase until major fixes were established. Bright Side: Unsatisfied customers who were left unable to make an informed purchasing decision are able to get their money back. PlayStation bit back at CD Projekt Red for throwing them under the bus: The developer stated that PlayStation must have just trusted them to make the game work better than it did at the time of certification. Offering full refunds was a necessary and mostly goodwill move by CD Projekt Red. But...
Dark Side: Again, the statement reads as if they knew the game's issues were this bad for quite a long time now and are only honoring this as a mea culpa after the shit storm hit. It's a bummer to get the game fully delisted as well. The game runs fine on PS5, but there's technically no PS5 version yet, and now owners of the system are out of luck until the patches come through. On top of that, all of the people who worked on this game are now seeing their work torn to shreds and find themselves unable to even purchase their own game.
Headline: CD Projekt Red holds call with their own staff, gets grilled over the state of the studio
The Gist: During an all-staff Q&A meeting, several developers at CD Projekt Red vented their frustrations to management. Some asked if it was hypocritical to release a game that's critical of corporations while requiring the people working on it to crunch for months at a time. Others questioned why the game was labeled as "complete and playable" in January of this year. Bright Side: The divide between development and management shows us where the issue really lies. With CD Projekt Red backed into a corner and admitting fault, the developers are given the opportunity to air their grievances about the Cyberpunk development process, but also the deep-seated issues plaguing the company and the industry. This also feels like a hopeful step toward the future of unionizing the games industry.
Dark Side: The company's response feels symbolic more than anything. CD Projekt started as a small company in Poland, operating outside of the normal expected practices and bringing PC gaming to a country that didn't have many options at the time. They've since seen themselves succumb to industry pressures and morph into the bad guys: forcing crunch, making endless promises that aren't met, and withholding information from the folks buying their games. It's a sad development and a far cry from their humble beginnings. We can only hope they eventually piece things together.
Headline: Big bundle of LGBTQIA+ games donated to the Strong Museum of Play in NY
The Gist: The LGBTQ Video Game Archive was donated to the Strong Museum of Play in New York. Over 1,000 games from the 1970s through today are included in this archival project and will live on in the museum's archives. Bright Side: Video game preservation is a hot topic for many gaming historians and this move ensures that the history of LGBTQIA+ games and gamers will live on for decades to come. I'm most excited to hear about two of the first ever LGBTQIA+ games ever released: Caper in the Castro, a murder mystery game, and GayBlade, an RPG which has you fighting homophobic enemies. You can read more about the collection's full list of titles at the link above.
Dark Side: No real downside here. Like other forms of art and entertainment, gaming needs to be preserved in some capacity, and the efforts of archivists and museums like these should be celebrated.
Headline: Nintendo has lots to share with a brand new Indie World Showcase and Sephiroth Smash Breakdown
The Gist: Nintendo hosted another video showcase of indie titles with games like Spelunky 1 and 2 confirmed to come to the Switch, while also showcasing the newly announced character Sephiroth in Smash Bros. He's available for an early unlock as well, so try and nab yourself your very own stabby boy today! Bright Side: The title of "Indie Hero" has been passed around the three major publishers for a few years now. Microsoft held it early on during their first few steps into the online marketplace with Xbox 360, Sony stole it in the PS4's early years as they embraced the indie development scene, and Nintendo holds it now, with the Switch's half-handheld half-home console design calling to indie devs everywhere. It's great to see that partnership grow into a major initiative for Nintendo, and the full showcase has some great games. Check it out! Also Sephiroth is great. Sakurai's in-depth gameplay showcases for new fighters in Smash Ultimate are always a delight and this week's is no different. He takes jabs at spoiler-phobic folks, the fighting game community, and generally showcases how much better at the game he is than most of us. It's great.
Dark Side: I'm bad at Smash and it's not fair that someone very good at Smash gets to unlock Sephiroth early. It's unfortunate that Nintendo is a little later on the release window for some of these indie games, but I'll hold out to buy and play some of these releases on the Switch.
Headline: Vin Diesel named President of Creative Convergence at Studio Wildcard, creators of the Ark series
The Gist: Uhm. Vin Diesel spent thousands of hours playing Ark Survival Evolved apparently and so that qualifies him to join the team as an executive producer on Ark 2 and as the... President of Creative Convergence??? I mean... Vin does love creative. Bright Side: A major celebrity joining a development studio isn't necessarily new and is rarely anything more than symbolic, but as it continues happening it feels like it helps to legitimize the industry in more people's eyes. Vin also has a pretty solid history in game development with Vin's very own game dev studio developing both of the Riddick games (that are personal favorites) and the latest Fast and Furious release. Ark 2 might be very good?
Dark Side: Vin Diesel is a meme of a man at this point and his presence was immediately made fun of in the Ark 2 reveal trailer. Does adding his name to the development side of things help things or hurt things? Who knows? Ark 2 might be very bad?
In other news, No More Heroes 1 + 2 might be coming to PC, Among Us comes to almost everything now (Xbox, Switch, various PC marketplaces), Death Stranding gets an extensive update with Cyberpunk crossover goodies, and Fortnite tries to steal some thunder with their very own Among Us-like game mode.
And that's it for this week. Keep your eyes open for even more exciting news in the coming week. If there's anything you REALLY want us to know about email firstname.lastname@example.org with your headline submissions. Thanks!