It's been a year for delays - just this week, both Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 and former highly anticipated Xbox Series X launch title Halo Infinite were pushed back until 2021. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced game developers worldwide to work remotely, is generally considered to be the primary reason behind these delays.
One game which has experienced not one but several delays is CD Projekt RED's futuristic open world adventure, Cyberpunk 2077. Originally slated for a spring release, it was delayed first to September and then to November 19, 2020. A "Night City Wire" event on August 10, which revealed more information about the game's Lifepath system as well as the in-game band SAMURAI, continued to refer to the November 19 date.
However, senior game play designer Pawel Kapala admitted in an interview with VG247 that the team behind the game was not yet "100% happy" with the state of Cyberpunk's combat. In particular, the developers are struggling to create smooth, realistic-feeling melee combat in a first person perspective. Kapala acknowledged that the melee combat was one of the weakest parts of the preview demo recently shown to journalists.
However, Kapala was confident that the Cyberpunk team will overcome this difficulty. "We're working on it," he affirmed, as well as stating that the combat was already "much better than it was."
First-person melee combat is a notoriously difficult gameplay element to include, especially when compared to the more standard first-person shooting mechanics. Even otherwise well-received games, such as the Dishonored series, have received criticism for their melee combat. It remains to be seen whether Cyberpunk 2077 will be able to overcome this hurdle, but the team seems determined to do the best they can.
It is unknown whether the issues with Cyberpunk 2077's melee combat will lead to yet another delay. Further delays would likely push the game's release date into 2021, along with Infinite and other postponed titles.