Netflix has recently released Cyberpunk: Edgerunners to smashing success. The series, produced by CD Projekt Red, Trigger Studios, and R. Talsorian Games Inc., has made its way to the top 5 viewed shows on Netflix and given the Cyberpunk IP a second chance in the limelight.
After the disastrous launch of Cyberpunk: 2077 by CD Projekt Red in the fourth quarter of 2020, the studio and the IP lost credibility, as the product failed to live up to the hype generated since its first teaser in 2013. Despite high initial numbers, early consumers reported that the game was released in an unfinished state. Glitches and bugs were rampant, leaving many disappointed with the final release. The community response was so bad that CD Projekt Red began offering refunds for the game, admitting to its audience that the product released did not live up to expectations.
This was the sentiment for two years following the release, with many consumers not giving Cyberpunk: 2077 a second chance. The studio slowly worked on fixing the major bugs and issues with the game in the interim to try and retain the audience that stayed throughout the ordeal. This would all change with the release of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. The release immediately shot to the top of the charts on Netflix and showed just what kind of story this IP could tell. Trigger, one of the major companies involved in the film’s production, is a renowned animation studio known by many for its wild and impactful animation style. The setting & story of Cyberpunk mixed with the animation from Trigger made for excellent visual and dialogue-focused storytelling that drew a large audience.
The success of Edgerunners had a rippling effect, bringing an entirely new audience back to Cyberpunk: 2077. While the game had been averaging around 10,000-20,000 players before the release, the show’s success led to the active players per day shooting to upwards of 80,000, which continues to rise. The success turned out to be one of the most effective advertisements for a gaming product in recent years. This surge timed well with the recent announcement of the first major expansion for Cyberpunk: 2077, which will likely see increased sales due to the popularity the IP has suddenly generated. The question is if the studios behind Edgerunners can capitalize on this success. Trigger is a studio that rarely does second seasons, so there will likely not be a second season of Edgerunners. Cyberpunk: 2077 is still lacking in many of the features promised at launch and has unrefined systems that have left many wanting more. The next few months will be crucial for the future of both Edgerunners and 2077, which could lead to the IP being reinvigorated in the current media and gaming climate.
Cyberpunk has two major releases coming up for both the game and the tabletop RPG. While the details are sparse, CD Projekt Red has shared some information on the upcoming offerings. Cyberpunk: Blackchrome will be the first paid expansion for Cyberpunk: Red, offering new selections of cyberware and weapons for the tabletop game. Cyberpunk: 2077 is also getting its first and potentially only expansion titled Phantom Liberty, which will primarily focus on the New United States of America. These two releases will be watched closely after the release of Edgerunners, with both having the potential to grow the booming player numbers if their quality is on par with the show. If the game-end of these new releases goes well, the higher-ups may decide to continue adding new expansions to Cyberpunk: 2077, but if it doesn’t, it may be the end of new major content for the game. Until then, fans of Cyberpunk will have to wait. At least Edgerunners has given some hope that even after the failed launch of 2077, Cyberpunk will never fade away as long as people are shown the setting in its best possible light.
Image from Netflix