Some of Those Cyberpunk 2077 ‘Bugs’ May be Intentional Design and Programming Workarounds

It’s no secret that Cyberpunk 2077 launched with a mountain of issues for players to contend with, whether you’re playing the blatantly broken and poor quality version on last-gen consoles or the bug-filled mess on PC at a higher frame rate and resolution. But as one game developer pointed out, some of the Cyberpunk 2077 bugs players are encountering may not actually be bugs at all. Odd behaviors by in-game AI could just be the result of intentional programming workarounds.

Developer Gareth Damian Martin, who is unaffiliated with CDPR, presented evidence that while CD Projekt RED might be content to let players think these issues are “bugs” that can be ironed out and fixed, they are often the result of the core programming for the AI, which would require an overhaul of the game’s AI systems.

Martin points out that while the game is definitely “buggy as hell,” certain “massive, often absurd, issues with the game’s open world” are being lumped into that category when they are in fact there by design.

His first example is the rather limited and almost non-existent vehicle AI, in which cars in the game can’t even navigate around the most basic of obstacles. In order to prevent the entire game’s roadways from meeting massive gridlock, stopped cars simply disappear when you look away. He calls it a “specifically engineered solution to a massive gap in the game’s feature set.”

Further he points out mechanics with cowering pedestrians in the face of violent situations, who, instead of eventually returning to normal AI actions, simply de-spawn when you aren’t looking at them so the game doesn’t have to deal with AI calculations for the shallow civilians that dot Night City.

Martin then shows video examples of both issues, which he says took him less than two minutes after loading up the game to reproduce.

Finally he reiterates that game dev often consists of finding clever solutions to complex problems, but that the solutions implemented here don’t match the promise of what Cyberpunk 2077 was marketed as for years. “The kind of solutions we are seeing here come from 11th hour desperation and exhaustion,” Martin says, referring to the immense amounts of crunch CD Projekt RED underwent to get Cyberpunk 2077 across the finish line, no matter how ragged and haphazard that launch had to be.

The issues above seem to align with “pop-out” that I’ve personally experienced, watching as cars, people, and objects de-spawn and disappear right in front of me as I approach them. This may also account for why enemies frequently just appear and disappear seemingly at random, as well as how the Night City Police seem to have the ability to teleport and materialize out of thin air, while also never really giving chase at all.

This is just the latest in an encyclopedia of Cyberpunk 2077 discourse that has hit since the game launched last week, eroding players’ trust in the studio that had been built up for years. Other developers have pointed out the difference between QA and Cert, placing the blame on releasing a shoddy game squarely on the leadership at CDPR who made the decision to launch in this state. The studio has made a number of half-hearted apologies, promising refunds that it doesn’t have the power to give.

We’re currently making our way through the PS4 version of the game to bring you our review, but suffice to say we’re experiencing many of the same issues that other players have reported, and while there’s a lot to really enjoy here, there are a lot of problems that severely distract from the experience.