We called Cyberpunk 2077 "the single biggest disappointment of the PS4 generation" in our scathing 3/10 review, published two weeks or so after the game's launch. Extremely buggy and sometimes outright broken on Sony's systems, its technical issues were simply inexcusable.
But here we are just over four months later, and we find ourselves considering the future of Cyberpunk 2077. What's next for the game? When's the DLC coming? Is it ever going to be allowed back on the PlayStation Store? What about the native PS5 version? There's a lot to talk about.
The State of Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 and PS5
Before we can look ahead, a progress report is in order. As alluded, Cyberpunk 2077 released unfinished on PS4 — there's just no denying it. However, CD Projekt Red has since deployed a number of updates, many of them promising to address console performance.
We put all of these updates to the test, and frankly, the first few did very little to improve the overall experience. Crashes remained consistent, and game-breaking bugs continued to kill our progress.
Then came patch 1.2 on the 29th March, 2021, complete with an absurdly long list of fixes. This was, in our experience, the first real turning point for Cyberpunk 2077 on PlayStation hardware. After hours of testing, we concluded that the game was running better than ever on PS5 via backwards compatibility, and PS4 Pro (you can read about our findings through here). We were no longer being hit with hard crashes every couple of hours, and the frame-rate appeared to be more stable across the board.
The tech-heads over at Digital Foundry seemed to agree with our assessment, reporting improved performance — particularly on PS4 Pro.
Patch 1.2 was a definite step in the right direction, then — but Cyberpunk 2077 is still far from perfect on PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS5. At the time of writing, the game's still very buggy, and a number of graphical elements have been scaled back in order to help smooth performance. We've still got a long way to go.
The PlayStation Store Debacle
The removal of Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store on the 18th December, 2020 — just ten days after its release — was unprecedented. In truth, we still don't know the finer details of why Sony yanked the game from its digital marketplace, but the question remains: when will it be back?
Recently, CD Projekt Red said that it was "closer" to getting Cyberpunk 2077 reissued on the PlayStation Store, following the launch of patch 1.2. A rather vague statement, but it suggests that Sony is willing to allow the title back on the storefront eventually.
We assume that it's mostly down to technical performance. If the developer can convince Sony that Cyberpunk 2077 is no longer a complete mess on consoles, then perhaps it'll be deemed worthy. After all, we dread to think how many error reports PlayStation support received following the game's release — it's likely that these statistics influenced Sony's decision.
But there could be another issue at play here — one that's a little more personal. When the state of Cyberpunk 2077 became the biggest news story in gaming, CD Projekt Red responded by offering widespread refunds to anyone who wasn't satisfied with the product. This offer extended to the PS4 version of the game, but getting a refund on that means having to go through PlayStation support — and this was not something that Sony itself had sanctioned.
It's believed that CD Projekt Red overstepped its boundaries in this situation. Sony's PlayStation Store refund policy has always been quite strict, and despite what CD Projekt Red was saying, Sony wasn't prepared to let anyone and everyone request a refund. It's largely assumed that Sony's decision to remove Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store was, in part, due to CD Projekt Red's suggestion that refunds would be readily available on PS4.
There may be a bit of bad blood between the two companies, then, which would almost certainly tie into the continued absence of Cyberpunk 2077 on the PlayStation Store. But should significant improvements be made to the game, we do think that Sony will eventually allow it to return.
Plus, there's another factor to consider...
The PS5 Version of Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt Red says that a native PS5 version of Cyberpunk 2077 is still set to release in 2021. However, we've heard very little about it, and we're yet to see it in action. It's somewhat safe to assume that the PS5 version of Cyberpunk 2077 will be comparable to the PC version when it's running on a reasonably powerful rig.
The PS5 version of Cyberpunk 2077 should launch in a much more competent state than its PS4 counterpart — and not just because CD Projekt Red will have had months to sort out the game's issues. Following the disastrous PS4 launch, the studio admitted that it had run into problems when developing the game for last-gen systems. While far from an excuse given that the company had heavily promoted the game on those consoles, it suggests that the eventual PS5 version will bypass a lot of the problems that exist on PS4.
But realistically, can CD Projekt Red release the PS5 version of Cyberpunk 2077 while the PS4 version is still missing from the PlayStation Store? Will Sony even greenlight the PS5 version? We don't have concrete answers to these questions yet, but we think that the two versions will probably be treated as separate products. Having said that, we can't see CD Projekt Red pushing the PS5 version without the PS4 version's PlayStation Store reinstatement — it just wouldn't be a good look, and the company certainly doesn't need any more negative press at this point.
From the outside looking in, it appears to be a bit of a delicate situation. Like we've already said, it's probable that Sony will, eventually, allow Cyberpunk back on the PlayStation Store — and we would guess that it'll happen before the release of the PS5 version.
The Rumoured DLC, and Paid Expansions
We already know that Cyberpunk 2077 is getting free DLC — similar to the smaller additions that were released for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Geralt's adventure was bolstered with cosmetic options, armour packs, and a number of new quests. Its New Game+ mode was also part of its DLC lineup.
The details of Cyberpunk 2077's DLC plans haven't been made official yet, but recent rumours cite leaked DLC listings on the Epic Games Store as an early glimpse of what's to come. The names of these add-ons perhaps shed a little light on what we can expect, with many players hoping that previously promised features will be incorporated into the game via these DLC packs.
For example, we've got listings for 'Ripperdocs Expansion', 'Body Shops Expansion', and 'Night City Expansion'. While we don't want to jump to any conclusions, these names do paint a promising picture. At least on paper, it sounds like CD Projekt Red will be using add-ons to help flesh out the systems of Cyberpunk 2077. Let's hope that's actually the case.
As for when these free DLCs will release, we can only guesstimate. The Witcher 3's DLC selection was sprinkled into the game over the course of months, but then, The Witcher 3 was never as troubled as Cyberpunk. We would imagine that Cyberpunk's DLCs will begin deployment once the game's in better condition. That is, when CD Projekt Red feels as though it's ironed out the title's biggest technical problems. The developer probably won't want to add more content until the base release is stable.
And then there's the paid DLC. Based on pre-release statements, we can expect Cyberpunk 2077 to receive two premium, story-based expansions. Again, much like The Witcher 3. However, it's highly likely that the development of these expansions will have been pushed back following the game's troubled launch. As such, we might not be seeing them for a while.
All in all, we expect to hear more about CD Projekt Red's DLC plans over the next few months — assuming that updates continue to improve the base Cyberpunk experience.
So What's Next for Cyberpunk 2077?
Well, going by what we've discussed throughout this article, we assume that CD Projekt Red's current goal is to get Cyberpunk running as well as it possibly can on consoles. Do that, and we should see the game return to the PlayStation Store. That's got to be the next step.
The only problem is that we don't know how long this is going to take. Again, we're already four months out from the game's release, and the updates are only just starting to add up as far as technical performance is concerned. Can CD Projekt Red afford to wait much longer before it starts talking about DLC? It's tough to say. The company must know that it needs to revive interest in Cyberpunk 2077 — but it can't do that until the game's largely "fixed". The bottom line is that the developer is still in the initial stages of repairing the damage caused by Cyberpunk's shoddy launch.
But still, we wouldn't be at all surprised to see CD Projekt Red issue some kind of public statement over the coming weeks, detailing the continued development of Cyberpunk 2077, and possibly sharing a timeline on important updates and DLC. Perhaps it'll have something to say about the PlayStation Store, too.
What do you see in Cyberpunk 2077's future? What do you want from the game going forward? Vote in our polls, and then tell us whether you'll ever return to Night City in the comments section below.