CD Projekt is rethinking Cyberpunk 2077’s multiplayer elements, president and joint CEO Adam Kiciński explained during the company’s recent strategy update.
“Previously, we hinted that our next AAA would be a multiplayer Cyberpunk game, but we have decided to reconsider this plan,” Kiciński said. “Given our new, more systematic and agile approach, instead of primarily focusing on one big online experience or game, we are focusing on bringing online into all of our franchises one day.”
When asked for more information by investors, Kiciński clarified that when they say “online” they mean “multiplayer.” Kotaku reached out to CD Projekt in the hopes of clearing up some of the vagueness and was directed back to Kiciński’s previous statements and the following quote from Kiciński in the strategy update video:
“We are building an online technology that can be seamlessly integrated into development of our future games. This technology will power online components we choose to introduce in our games, and will ensure we can do so without any great technological debt. With this technology in place, we can start to grow an online community—powered by our own GOG Galaxy platform—which connects gamers both inside and outside of our games.”
The idea of an online Cyberpunk 2077 stretches all the way back to the game’s initial announcement in 2013. At the time, studio head Adam Badowski merely made mention of some hazy “multiplayer features” while discussing the game with Eurogamer, but much like the overall scope of Cyberpunk 2077 itself, these details expanded over time.
In a late 2020 investor call, CFO Piotr Nielubowicz protested a reference to the game’s multiplayer aspects as a “mode,” but rather said there would be “a separate, dedicated production” to develop a “standalone product.” While this has led people to believe the Cyberpunk 2077 online experience would be an entirely different game, Nielubowicz may also have meant that their vision for multiplayer was something akin to Grand Theft Auto Online rather than, say, a simple deathmatch mode.
Nielubowicz said in the 2020 investor call, “Obviously, it’s not entirely standalone as it comes from the Cyberpunk universe and is very much related to the concept of single-player Cyberpunk, but from our perspective it’s an independent production and an independent team of people works on it.”
Other than that, all we knew about Cyberpunk 2077’s multiplayer is that it probably wouldn’t launch until after 2021.
As part of its new production strategy, which will see shortened marketing campaigns before game releases, CD Projekt was careful not to speak too openly about projects in development today. Despite repeated attempts to glean more information, many of the answers executives provided during a follow-up Q&A were vague, perhaps as a way to avoid the same oversharing from the lead-up to Cyberpunk 2077 that led to player criticism after the game launched.
Multiplayer was always an ephemeral concept in the grand scope of Cyberpunk 2077’s production, so we’ll just have to continue to wait and see how those features shake out as the developers continue to refine the game after its rough landing.