CD Projekt said yesterday that it has "decided to reconsider" its plans for Cyberpunk 2077's multiplayer component. It had previously been teased as a major standalone undertaking of its own—CD Projekt joint CEO Adam Kiciński said in November 2020 that the multiplayer component "is another independent production and [an] independent team of people works on it"—but now it sounds like that plan is being dialed back.
"Instead of primarily focusing on one big online experience or game, we are focusing on bringing online into all of our franchises one day," Kiciński said yesterday. "We are building an online technology that can be seamlessly integrated into development of our future games."
Kiciński didn't clarify what exactly is changing, but my thoughts very quickly went to Mass Effect Andromeda, another highly-anticipated and heavily-hyped RPG that bombed badly at launch. In that situation, BioWare quickly pulled the plug on the whole thing, electing not to release any singleplayer updates or new story content beyond the 1.10 patch—effectively ending development of the game.
CD Projekt said it's not going to do anything similar with Cyberpunk 2077, however, confirming in a post-update call that despite delays, planned expansions and DLC are still in development.
"We’ve been talking about the fact that there will be expansions for Cyberpunk for a while," senior vice president of business development Michał Nowakowski said. "We haven’t given any details in terms of their names or any potential SRP [suggested retail price] or anything like that, but yes, we can confirm we’re working on them. They’re in our plans."
Nowakowski added that the planned free DLC for Cyberpunk 2077, similar to the small pieces of free content released for The Witcher 3, is also still planned.
In the same call, Kiciński took a turn to talk more about the shift in Cyberpunk 2077's multiplayer component, although he didn't actually say much about how it's going to impact the game.
"We are changing our approach towards multiplayer, and—as we said—we want to add online elements," he said. "I’m not talking about DLCs or mods; we’re not ready to discuss details, but we want to roll out major changes step by step, and we will, of course, develop AAAs in parallel. So—we’ll have parallel AAA development teams, and online as a different organizational unit, so to speak. Multiplayer/online components will one day enhance our future single-player games."
In the strategy video posted yesterday Kiciński said that GOG, CD Projekt's online storefront and launcher, will play a central role in the company's efforts to "grow a global community of gamers." Responding to a separate question about whether CD Projekt is looking to increase monetization of its games, however, he clarified that the new strategy is still focused on multiplayer.
"We are talking about multiplayer, full stop," he said. "We are referring to multiplayer elements within our games, and—first and foremost—we need to make them fit the single-player experience. It’s too early to talk about monetization, but we definitely want players to have shared experiences, to play together—in some areas, I would say—in our future games."
Unfortunately, there was no indication given as to when those full-on Cyberpunk 2077 expansions might arrive. The studio said in a January update that the focus on fixing the game has forced it to push back the DLC release schedule, and in accordance with its new strategy of not firing up the hype machine too soon, Nowakowski said he would "rather not comment on the timing" just yet.