Cyberpunk Game Developer Apologizes for Pro-Ukrainian Messages In-Game
You read that right… CD Projekt Red (CDPR), the Polish developer of the massively popular “Witcher” game series, as well as “Cyberpunk 2077”, recently apologized to Russia for pro-Ukrainian messages that were put in the game during their most recent 2.0 update.
But let’s back up.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a massive, open-world role-playing game for Playstation, Xbox, and PC, that suffered through a disastrous launch three years ago that was full of game-breaking bugs.
It was so bad, in fact, that CDPR settled a class-action lawsuit for $1.85 million over its launch.
Over the years, CDPR has been making incremental improvements to the game, most notably in its stability, which culminated with patch 2.0 released this week — it was to be CDPR’s redemption.
And by all accounts, the free 2.0 patch is a masterpiece, not only showcasing the true vision that CDPR intended when the game was released years ago, but also coinciding with the release of new downloadable content (DLC) complete with actor Idris Elba in a new role, and Keanu Reeves reprising his role as Johnny Silverhand.
As part of the video game development process, games (and movies for that matter) go through a process called localization. This process adapts the dialogue language used in the game, any text seen in the world, and the user interface for a particular local audience.
The developers typically outsource this localization to smaller game developers in the target country.
It was the Ukrainian localization of 2.0 where our story begins.
During the localization process, the Ukrainian team added a couple of lines of dialogue, and some in-game graffiti that, in my estimation, sound pretty harmless.
So, what did they add that was so offensive to Russians?
There is a line of dialogue that has been altered to now say “Go f*ck yourself in the same direction as the ship did” which is a reference to the famous response to Russia’s demand that Ukraine’s Snake Island be surrendered.
To me, this is pretty innocuous. Out of context, you wouldn’t even know that the dialogue was referencing the Snake Island defiance early in the war. Besides, that episode was, and still is, a point of pride for Ukrainians.