I’ve spent an hour playing Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One, and it hasn’t been pretty. Sometimes it’s been straight up ugly. Based on screenshots and footage other people are sharing online, I’m not alone.
Cyberpunk 2077 began rolling out on console earlier today starting in the New Zealand time zone, which is what I set my Xbox Series S to to begin playing ahead of tonight’s official midnight release on the east coast. The game ran without any hitches and looked great on the next-gen hardware, despite being the less powerful of Microsoft’s two new consoles. It has been another story entirely on Xbox One.
There I’ve had framerate drops, UI and texture pop-in, and an overall layer of fuzzy lighting and jagged reflections that made it hard not to feel like I was playing a PS3 or 360 game, or at least a modern one on ultra low graphics settings.
The game is supposed to have a major day-one patch. My game’s version is 126.96.36.199, which appears to be the pre-patch version, but it won’t let me install any further updates, even after re-downloading the entire game from scratch. It’s unclear how many people who are currently experiencing poor performance are also missing the patch. A number of players on Xbox One and PS4 have reported having similar issues on Twitter, not knowing if they have the day one patch, or how to download it if they don’t.
CD Projekt Red didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
While I’m sure the game will improve with further updates, it’s currently not in a great place on last-gen consoles for a lot of people. Here are some comparison shots:
Things that are off in the distance mostly look fine, until you start to move the camera, or begin walking, at which point they dissolve into a low-res haze. People’s faces look flat unless you’re standing a foot away from them, and even then there’s something off about the lighting and texture, as if an entire layer of graphics is missing, or out of sync with everything around it.
The problems, including entire cars appearing and disappearing out of thin air, went down exponentially when I left big open spaces and headed into one of the game’s narrower, more linear combat zones. Even there, though, I was constantly pulled out of the game with how off everything looked and how slow the framerate felt. Even while on a scripted car ride with one of the game’s main characters, Dexter DeShawn, it felt vaguely like I was trapped inside of a quickly rotoscoped movie rather than playing a game built for the Xbox One arriving at the end of its life cycle.
Things don’t appear to be much better on PS4. Videos going around show similar issues with boxy faces and entire city blocks that look like they were dipped in vaseline. There are issues beyond just the graphics as well. Polygon has a round-up of a number of glitches players have experienced so far on PS4 and Xbox One, though players on PC have reported a number of bugs as well, especially near the end of the game.
Cyberpunk 2077 was previously set to come out in November, but was delayed by three weeks so CD Projekt Red could finish optimizing the last-gen versions of the game. “I wouldn’t say there is a ‘problem’ because there’s nothing wrong with Xbox or PS4 versions—there is optimization to be handled, also because of how we were approaching things from the get-go in terms of development; so—there is no problem with Xbox or PlayStation 4, to be honest,” the development studio’s VP of business development Michał Nowakowski said during an October shareholder meeting about the delay.
Developers at the studio have also spent the last few months working an extra day a week on the game, though according to a report by Bloomberg, certain departments at the studio have been crunching—an industry term for long periods of extensive overtime—since long before then. As demands to continually update games after release grow, so do studios’ post-launch workloads, meaning that crunch can even extend beyond a game’s initial release. The current state of Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One and PS4 is a good reason to hold off from playing the game on those platforms until things get sorted out. It’s not a good reason for anyone at CD Projekt Red to continue to be forced to crunch.