The Polish game studio tweeted earlier today that its upcoming scifi game would be “nothing less than” The Witcher 3. The statement was aimed at quelling fears Cyberpunk 2077 might include microtransactions after studio CEO Adam Kicinski said “there will be a certain online element related to Cyberpunk” in an interview earlier in the week.
Ever since the controversy around loot boxes reached a fever pitch with Battlefront II, some people have been enthusiastically parsing any and all comments related to CD Projekt Red’s future game. In addition to online features, Kicinski also said in the same interview that “Online is necessary, or very recommended if you wish to achieve a long-term success,” it seemed to suggest the game would be moving beyond the traditional single-player roots of The Witcher series.
Threads started popping up on Reddit discuss what the CEOs comments might mean, afraid of what a games-as-service model might mean for one of the best RPG makers out there. When the YouTube channel Pretty Good Gaming tweeted out a link to its analysis of the topic, CD Projekt Red responded:
The response appears to reaffirm the studio’s commitment to single-play at a time when many story-focused AAA games are struggling (or canceled altogether). But CD Projekt Red went even further, taking shots at game companies who have embraced game design that prioritizes microtransactions in no uncertain terms. “No hidden catch,” “get what you pay for,” “no bullshit,” and “we leave greed to others” is as explicit a call out of EA’s treatment of Battlefront II as you’re likely to see from another developer.
As public backlash to the new Star Wars game’s pay-to-win mechanics and onerous loot box grinding mounted earlier in the week, EA announced it would temporarily be pulling all microtransactions from the game. But while many took it as a sign the company was caving on one of its most lucrative new revenue streams, EA has yet to confirm that it won’t simply bring microtransactions back once the outrage has died down. When asked by the Washington Post if EA could guarantee that “pay to win” mechanics had been removed from the game altogether, the company declined to say anything further than what it laid out in Thursday’s announcement.
Whether the backlash being reported as widely as the Post and CNN will change Battlefront II beyond the short term, it’s certainly put pressure on other game companies to clarify their positions on the subject. Cyberpunk 2077 remains several years out from release, however, and in the meanwhile CD Projekt Red has faced other criticisms over office working conditions, some of which resulted in a torrent of negative reviews on the employer feedback site Glass Door only a month ago.