CD Projekt RED blames Cyberpunk 2077's dismal PS4, Xbox One console performance on lower-end hard drives and says the game's multitude of glitches took them by surprise.
Apparently CD Projekt RED was just as surprised about Cyberpunk 2077's bad console performance as gamers were. According to a recent update from CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski, the company performed rigorous playtests after each Cyberpunk 2077 build iteration and wasn't able to re-create many of the glitches and bad performance that're now immortalized as internet memes.
"Every change and improvement needed to be tested, and as it turned out, our testing did not show a big part of the issues you experienced while playing the game," Iwinski said.
"As we got closer to launch, we saw significant improvements each and every day, and we really believed we'd deliver in the final day zero update."
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Iwinski goes on to reveal that disk bandwidth was the biggest issue with last-gen hardware. The base PS4 and Xbox One both use slower 5400 RPM drives in tandem with a limited 8GB of unified memory (8GB GDDR5 for the PS4, 8GB of GDDR3 for the Xbox One). The memory pool filled up fast, which is also a limitation for console games, but the slower disk drive didn't help feed the assets into the streaming pipeline.
"We wanted to make the game look epic on PCs and then adjusting it to consoles, especially old-gens. That was our core assumption. Things did not look super difficult at first.
"We know the hardware gap, yes, but ultimately, I think that time has proven we've underestimated the task.
"The main culprit was that we had to constantly improve our in-game streaming system for old-gen consoles. Streaming is responsible for feeding the engine with what you see on screen, as well as the game mechanics.
"Since the city is so packed and the disk bandwidth of old-gens is what it is, it constantly challenged us."
The PS5 and Xbox Series X, conversely, both feature PCIe 4.0 SSDs capable of blasting data at higher 2.4GB/sec - 5GB/sec speeds in tandem with custom I/O compression blocks and storage architecture designed specifically to remove bottlenecks between storage and higher-end GPUs and CPUs. The Series X, for example, uses Sampler Feedback Streaming to dramatically control what assets are fed to the GPU, as well as the new DirectX DirectStorage API for data pipeline optimization.
Then again, Cyberpunk 2077 hasn't been optimized for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles yet. Both systems run the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions in backwards compatibility mode, and both of these old-gen systems come stock with 5400 RPM drives...
CD Projekt also outlined Cyberpunk 2077's future roadmap of content. The two big PS4/Xbox One patches are set for January and February, but the free DLC will drop sometime later, possibly during the summer. The PS5/Xbox Series X upgrades are coming in 2H 2021, possibly in August or September.