Cyberpunk 2077 - Super Smash Bros Ultimate Director Masahiro Sakurai Comments on CD Projekt Red And Game Development

Masahiro Sakurai cleared the main story in a week, mentioned Cyberpunk 2077 is one of his "dream games", and praised CD Projekt Red for its honesty.

By Iyane Agossah

January 26, 2021

Masahiro Sakurai – director of Super Smash Bros Ultimate (Switch) – recently spoke on Cyberpunk 2077 (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X) and CD Projekt Red in his usual biweekly column in Famitsu magazine. While Super Smash Bros Ultimate players are currently enjoying Sephiroth, Sakurai is spending some time on Cyberpunk 2077. In his column, Masahiro Sakurai shared several thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077 including his own gameplay experience, the bugs and performance issues, and his point of view on it all as a developer. DualShockers read the column, translated, and summarized everything below. Keep in mind that while this issue of Famitsu magazine released on January 14, Masahiro Sakurai wrote the column in late December.

Tweet: Weekly Famitsu Magazine January 28, 2021 Issue (Released January 14, 2021). Cover featuring Sakuna.

After wishing a happy new year to readers, Super Smash Bros director Masahiro Sakurai brought up how CD Projekt Red started issuing refunds for Cyberpunk 2077. Due to various issues such as bugs, performance issues, the difference between the PC and console versions, etc. He brought up the official statement mentioning refunds will be issued to anyone dissatisfied. Masahiro Sakurai mentioned that there are various opinions about the situation, but he was honestly very moved by CD Projekt Red’s sincerity.

Masahiro Sakurai: “This situation is unprecedented, but I personally also consider the honesty of CD Projekt Red’s response as unprecedented as well”.

Next, Masahiro Sakurai shared his own experience with Cyberpunk 2077.

Sakurai tried out Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 Pro, and could play it without problems. Especially with the December 20, 2020 patch (patch 1.05). This made the game run at relatively stable 30 FPS, with the standard quality level expected on consoles. Sakurai knows the PS4 version is below that though.

With that said, Sakurai first played and mainly plays Cyberpunk 2077 on PC, with a brand new GPU. He experienced fun bugs such as staying alive with zero HP. Or getting blown away by like 200 meters after breaking a simple window. However, Sakurai also experienced much more serious issues in Night City. Such as being unable to close the game, being unable to use the Steam cloud save function. Or problems with his dual monitors setup.

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Despite all that, Masahiro Sakurai is thoroughly enjoying his time with Cyberpunk 2077. He actually already finished the main story, clearing it one week after launch. Now, he aims to further explore the game.

Masahiro Sakurai:Cyberpunk 2077 is one of my dream games and I’m impressed to see all the work poured into it”.

Masahiro Sakurai highly praised Cyberpunk 2077 for its rich world filled with cultural and historical references. And mentioned he feels like only having seen a glimpse of it. Even after clearing the main story and reading the materials included in the limited edition.

Next up, Masahiro Sakurai shared his point of view on the development of Cyberpunk 2077 as a developer himself.

First, Sakurai stated players are often unable to realize the incredibly huge amount of work hidden behind the word “optimization”, without even taking debugging into account. And how there’s a near endless number of tasks related to optimizing a game. He listed several. Such as handling each model’s texture efficiently. Compressing the game’s sound data correctly. Optimizing the order of the game’s processes. Making the game omit a certain number of polygons and movements for models far away from the player. Making it so the game doesn’t display elements outside of your field of vision. Classifying the game’s effects between those who need to stay in the memory and those who don’t. Etc.

Secondly, Sakurai explained that taking all of this optimization work into account, for a game as ambitious as Cyberpunk 2077, it’s impossible for its technical performance at launch to match expectations.

Masahiro Sakurai: “When your game pushes boundaries the way Cyberpunk 2077 does, be it during development or at release, it won’t reach the expected performance level. Because optimization never ends. Needless to say, performance estimates are made during development, but it’s like walking on an never-ending tightrope.”

Thirdly, Masahiro Sakurai added that development becomes even more complicated when it comes to AAA titles, who hold an incredible amount of in-game content. Furthermore, a multi-platform release is also a huge source of trouble.

Masahiro Sakurai: “I think it’s a miracle in itself that AAA titles manage to release on multiple platforms”.

Lastly, on top of it all, Sakurai added there’s the Covid-19 pandemic to take into account too. So with everything considered, Sakurai supports CD Projekt Red.

Masahiro Sakurai: “When you also take Covid-19 into account and the chaos it must have thrown the game’s development into, I think it’s even more important to stress out CD Projekt Red’s honest response. I support Cyberpunk 2077 from the bottom of my heart.”

Cyberpunk 2077 – DualShockers Review Discussion

If you’ve read this far and interested in hearing my Unneeded Opinion on this column, I interpret it this way. Sakurai wasn’t defending CD Projekt Red for the catastrophic launch of Cyberpunk 2077. He said it’s important to take into account the various factors which led to this situation. And how at least CD Projekt Red admitted its misstep, going as far as issuing refunds. Next up, I’d mention Japanese developers more often than not have nothing but incredibly high praise for AAA Western games. Because of what I interpret as some kind of inferiority complex. And the overall dominion of Western and American culture over the world, often subconsciously considered as superior.

Lastly, as we previously mentioned, Masahiro Sakurai wrote the column in late December. The situation has shifted even more since the release of Cyberpunk 2077 on December 10. Most notably with a Bloomberg report on the development of Cyberpunk 2077 and the response that followed from CD Projekt Red.

For further reading on Masahiro Sakurai and Cyberpunk 2077

Be sure to check out our latest story analysis of Cyberpunk 2077. Steam and Valve’s Gabe Newell recently spoke about Cyberpunk 2077 as well. You can read our Cyberpunk 2077 review too for a proper intro to the RPG.

Next, you can also follow Masahiro Sakurai on Twitter. Super Smash Bros Ultimate just added Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII as its newest character. Square Enix recently trademarked several Final Fantasy VII related terms, one of which might be referring to Sephiroth. Nothing was announced yet, however.

There are still three upcoming DLC characters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Masahiro Sakurai mentioned mutiple times in the past how Nintendo makes the picks. A pretty safe bet would be the inclusion of the Hunters of Monster Hunter Rise by Capcom. As for the last two, personally, I’m still hoping for the addition of Adol Christin from the Ys series by Nihon Falcom. And the inclusion of Laala from PriPara and Pretty Series by TakaraTomy. I don’t think I need to introduce Ys, and Falcom celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2021. As for PriPara it’s long story short an arcade rhythm game and one of the most popular arcade games of all time in Japan and Asia.

Masahiro Sakurai shares some thoughts on many different subjects in his Famitsu magazine column. Not necessarily on a specific game. In the past, Sakurai brought up games’ review scores and granting awards in the game industry. He also shared some thoughts on Death Stranding and Kojima Productions. Lastly, Masahiro Sakurai also highly praised 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim by Vanillaware.

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been watching anime for over 25 years, and plays Genshin Impact mainly for its story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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