Despite a recent uptick in goodwill thanks to its massive 1.5 patch, Cyberpunk 2077 spent the weekend beset by negative Steam reviews over a different matter entirely.
Here’s a smattering of the negative feedback left over the last few days. I’ll let you guess what’s got everyone so riled up (and, no, it’s not that Cyberpunk 2077 continues to be a buggy mess).
“Game has no borders. You shall feel so good to oppress Russian citizens. Have a good day.”
“I wish CDPR bankruptcy and you guys all get laid off ASAP!! To be acquired by Tencent!!!!! IStandWithPutin”
“what are the CDPR’s leaders thinking about? This war is none of your business, idiot! if u stand with Ukraine and Ukraine Nazis, then i go to support Russia.”
Some of the reviews also criticize CD Projekt Red for “taking a political stance,” while others simply display ASCII art of a middle finger. Several more are written in Russian and Chinese, though Kotaku is unable to independently verify the legitimacy of those specific messages.
This all started when Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red offered up a message of support for the people of Ukraine at the outset of the currently ongoing Russian invasion on February 25. The military action reportedly left the studio (located in neighboring Poland) “shocked and outraged,” leading its parent company to donate 1 million PLN (a little over $218,000 USD) to Polska Akcja Humanitarna, a Polish organization dedicated to humanitarian efforts around the world.
“We cannot remain indifferent in the face of such injustice and we ask everybody to join in and help in any way you can,” CD Projekt Red said on Twitter. “Together we can make a huge difference!”
A week later, CD Projekt Red took things a step further by halting both physical and digital sales of its games in Russia and Belarus, the latter of which is supporting the former in its invasion of Ukraine. According to figures released to investors on March 3, those two countries combined generate 5.4% of the studio’s total sales.
“We know that players in Russia and Belarus, individuals who have nothing to do with the invasion of Ukraine, will be impacted by this decision,” CD Projekt Red said at the time, “but with this action we wish to further galvanize the global community to speak about what is going on in the heart of Europe.”
While obviously a propaganda campaign meant to cover up Russia’s war crimes, that’s not to say some of the astroturfed Cyberpunk 2077 reviews don’t make good points. A common, copy-pasted sentiment rightly points out that many responding negatively to the invasion cared little about the United States bombing countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Somalia, at least when compared to the massive outcry against Russia. The disparity between how the media has reported on Ukraine’s defense, in comparison to coverage of Arab resistance efforts like the Palestinian people’s desperate attempts to stave off Israel’s apartheid state, has also been a major conversation outside gaming.
As pointed out by TheGamer, these negative reviews at one point caused Cyberpunk 2077’s status to drop from “mostly positive” to “mixed” on Steam. Valve’s digital storefront has since reinstated the underperforming game’s “mostly positive” status by excluding this “period of off-topic review activity” from the overall score.