What if: Cyberpunk 2077 came out right now?

What’s the first thing you think of when you read the words ‘Cyberpunk 2077’? Let me hazard a guess: I’m pretty sure it’s not blasting down one of Night City’s main thoroughfares atop a futuristic Arch motorcycle with Run The Jewels thumping in your ears. It’s probably not helping the roguish Panam Palmer reunite the Aldecaldo clan. My bet is that your first thoughts about CD Projekt Red’s latest open-world game are about bugs and memes.

Since its troubled launch, Cyberpunk 2077 has been the butt of countless viral jokes – the latest has involved the v buck generator with riffs on developer CD Projekt Red’s own #CyberpunkInNumbers hashtag. While CD Projekt was sharing figures like “13,000,000,000 enemies defeated,” redditors were shooting back with meme versions about how many players had crashed into buildings due to not being able to see an upcoming turn on the minimap.

By the time Cyberpunk 2077 launched in December 2020, expectations had reached ludicrous levels. CD Projekt had been running a full court publicity press since Keanu Reeves’ appearance at E3 the year before, and the product the publisher ultimately delivered turned out to be completely unprepared for its big moment in the spotlight. What might have been the biggest hype train in gaming history crashed hard into the ravine floor of multiple game-breaking bugs, severe performance problems (especially on last-gen consoles), and undercooked gameplay mechanics.

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