The Cyberpunk 2077 OpenCritic page is getting a special warning. It's not just about technical issues — it highlights the belief of many reviewers that CD Projekt Red "intentionally sought to hide the true state of the game" on consoles.
If you're unfamiliar with OpenCritic, it's a growing alternative to Metacritic that aims to accomplish many of the same goals: aggregate reviews from a pool of websites to paint an overall picture of a game's reception. Metacritic has stringent requirements for sites who wish to have their scores factored into its Metascore; Opencritic, on the other hand, accepts a much broader range of websites (including TechRaptor).
Cyberpunk 2077 has sold 8 million pre-orders alone and it's even recouped all of its development and marketing costs after the first day of sales. This game should be a phenomenal success by all rights, but it's been marred with technical issues throughout its launch. Now, the OpenCritic team is taking action.
We're adding a warning to the Cyberpunk 2077 page regarding the Xbox One and PS4 versions. pic.twitter.com/fZ57F6BHWJ— OpenCritic (@Open_Critic) December 14, 2020
The Cyberpunk 2077 OpenCritic Page Warning is Tough on CDPR
Naturally, the Cyberpunk 2077 OpenCritic warning will address the game's technical issues. However, it's going a step further and echoing allegations from a number of gaming industry professionals that CD Projekt Red's practices were deceptive.
Here's what the warning will say in full according to the above tweet:
Please note: this game has significant disparities in performance, player experience, and review scores between the PC, next-gen consoles, Xbox One, and PS4 versions.
The OpenCritic team and several critics suspect that the developer, CD PROJEKT RED, intentionally sought to hide the true state of the game on Xbox One and PS4, with requirements such as only allowing pre-rendered game footage in reviews and not issuing review copies for PS4 and Xbox One versions.
This notice will be taken down in February 2021.
OpenCritic: 'We Really Haven't Seen Anything Like This'
Update (12/14/2020, 2:13 PM) – OpenCritic has responded to our request for comment on the Cyberpunk 2077 OpenCritic page warning, stating that it believes this is "one of the most egregious examples in recent memory of a company manipulating reviews and review scores for its game."
"CD PROJEKT RED knew full well that their game bordered on unplayable on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, and they chose to sell it anyway without giving consumers any visibility," read an e-mail to TechRaptor from OpenCritic Co-Founder Matthew Enthoven. "Even worse, we believe that they actively sought misrepresentation by only issuing PC review codes to publications with high-spec machines. As a result, many consumers may have been led to believe that the game was phenomenal overall."
"It was wrong. They knew what they were doing was wrong, and they did it anyway."
Enthoven notes that this isn't the first time the review aggregator considered adding a warning like this on its game page; the troubled launch of 2015's Batman: Arkham Knight became a topic of debate within the site's development team, but the OpenCritic project had not launched at that point.
Going forward, the warning is likely to be replaced with "a less harsh layout or a callout with more information and specific citations" after the February 2021 deadline. Enthoven adds that it's unclear whether or not similar warnings will be instituted for other games in the future.
"We really haven't seen anything like this," he stated. "I hope it's a one-off."
The problems with the various versions of Cyberpunk 2077 also highlights a weakness with OpenCritic in distinguishing between the different platforms a game is released on. At this time, the site's policy is to have separate game pages only in the cases where different versions are presented as substantially different experiences such as the difference between Fallout 4 and Fallout 4 VR; this may change in the future, driven in part by the debut of the latest console generation.
Cyberpunk 2077 certainly has its fair share of issues across all platforms — there's no denying that. This is an unprecedented step by OpenCritic, though, and it will be interesting to see how the site handles similar situations in the future. For now, we've reached out to both OpenCritic and CD Projekt Red for comment and will update this article when we receive a reply.
Disclosure: TechRaptor's Owner Rutledge Daugette works at OpenCritic as their Chief of Operations, and TechRaptor's Editor in Chief Andrew Otton is their Content Manager. Neither were consulted in the writing of this story.
What do you think of the warning being placed on the Cyberpunk 2077 OpenCritic page? How has your experience been with the game thus far? Let us know in the comments below!