December 10, 2020

By Anna Pruchnicka

(Reuters) – Cyberpunk 2077, the highly anticipated game by Polish video games maker CD Projekt, topped Steam’s chart at its premiere on Thursday after eight years in development and multiple launch delays.

The game, which takes place across a hugely detailed futuristic city where players take the first-person perspective of a customisable mercenary outlaw known as V, features Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves as rebel rocker Johnny Silverhand. It is making a debut when people stuck in their homes due to the pandemic have boosted demand for games but new titles are in short supply as developers working from home find it difficult to adhere to a timeline.

“This is coming out as a big title with not a lot of competition out there so we do expect it to be pretty big,” said David Cole, founder of research firm DFC Intelligence.

Jefferies analyst Lyra Li estimates that Cyberpunk, which is priced at 49.90 pounds ($66.40) for a standard version, could sell 33 million units from its launch until end of 2021.

The game is expected to break records set by Nintendo’s runaway hit “Animal Crossing”, which launched in March and has sold 22.4 million units in two quarters.

“We think this is much bigger, Cyberpunk is definitely going to set records, not just this holiday season but in 2021 too,” Cole said.

Before the pandemic he had expected the game to sell about 30 million units in 2021, but now thinks that it could even reach 40 million.

Pre-orders topped 8 million copies as of the end of Wednesday, implying pre-sales ahead of consensus, JP Morgan analysts said.

Cyberpunk is the biggest game CD Projekt had in the works since the 2015 debut of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”.

The success of Witcher made CD Projekt one of Poland’s biggest listed companies with a market capitalization of $10.8 billion.

CD Projekt shares, which have surged 42% this year in anticipation of Cyberpunk’s launch, were 2% lower at 0833 GMT.

The game will be immediately available on older consoles from Sony and Microsoft, and playable on newly-launched consoles next year.

The PC version scored 91 points on the Metacritic 100-point scale after the first 43 reviews, compared to The Witcher 3’s 92 points based on 32 reviews. It received acclaim for its world design, characters, though critics highlighted some technical glitches.

(Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka, additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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