In one of probably many dissections of CD Projekt Red’s missteps in making Cyberpunk 2077, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier just published a piece investigating the game’s development. His reporting doesn’t back up forum thread rumors about Keanu Reeves, instead it’s the more run-of-the-mill issue of unrealistic development timelines and failing to account for console hardware limitations.
As the article explains, despite being announced in 2012, the company was still focused on The Witcher 3 and “full development” didn’t begin until 2016 when CD Projekt Red “hit the reset button.” The game’s impressive E3 2018 demo is described as “almost entirely fake.” Despite pledges from leadership that crunch wouldn’t be necessary, developers still felt pressured to work long hours, and when its spring 2020 release date was announced, they started taking bets on when it would be delayed.
Management apparently hoped to "double dip" with versions for PS4/Xbox One ahead of next-gen upgrades, but underestimated their lack of horsepower and slow storage. Add in COVID-related restrictions during the last stretch of development, where programmers mostly played development builds of the game at home on PC, far away from testers on console who could see the game's issues.
Major bugs and missing content were apparent right up until the game was finally released, and you know how things went after that. Refunds, Sony pulled the game from its digital store and the inevitable lawsuits. CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński offered an apology and an updated timeline on patches earlier this week, saying "The console version of Cyberpunk 2077 did not meet the quality standard we wanted it to meet." The first of two patches to address last-gen console issues is expected to arrive in the next week or so.