Cyberpunk 2077's launch last year was messy to say the least, leading Sony to take the unprecedented step of removing the game from the PlayStation Store. In a new interview with GQ, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan was asked about the PlayStation 5 lineup, and the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on development. Ryan discussed the importance of releasing games when they're ready, as opposed to launching when the game still needs development time. While Ryan was diplomatic in his response, he clearly alluded to other high-profile games that shipped when they still had work to be done.
"Yeah, we’re feeling pretty good about Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Horizon Forbidden West." Ryan told GQ. "And, you know, there are two approaches to this: you can either hold the date and put out the game irrespective of quality or you can ship it when it’s right. We have always taken the latter approach. There have been some high-profile instances of publishers trying the former approach."
While Ryan did not specifically reference Cyberpunk 2077 by name, GQ did link "high-profile instances" directly to its review of the game. PlayStation fans can still purchase the physical version of the game, but the digital version remains unavailable. Developer CD Projekt Red has been working behind the scenes to get the game reinstated on the PlayStation Store, but it's unclear how long it will take.
Ryan's approach to delaying high-profile games until they're ready is very similar to an oft-shared quote by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto: "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad." It's worth noting that Miyamoto said that long before video games received regular patches and updates, but the spirit of the quote lives on. It remains to be seen whether or not Cyberpunk 2077 will be able to escape the reputation its gained over the last few months, but it's clear that it will be a cautionary tale for publishers for a long time to come.
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