The big picture: Starfield quickly became Bethesda's biggest launch ever and one of the most popular games on Steam. However, Cyberpunk 2077's new expansion has pushed its player count beyond Starfield's only a day after launch. Although neither game has reached Baldur's Gate 3 in this area, it's safe to say that Cyberpunk's redemption arc is complete.
Following the release of Cyberpunk's Phantom Liberty expansion, the game has jumped just above Starfield in Steam's daily player ranking. CDPR's flagship RPG is experiencing its largest player resurgence since its disastrous 2020 launch, having gradually (and painfully) repaired its reputation.
Cyberpunk 2077 reached a peak of ~246,000 players on Tuesday, easily topping Starfield's 122,000 but falling just short of 265,000 Baldur's Gate 3 players. Larian's critically acclaimed D&D RPG is the third most popular title on Steam, sitting behind evergreen esports mainstays Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
To be fair, Baldur's Gate 3 is more heavily weighted toward Steam than the other two RPGs. Larian's game was exclusive to PC on Steam and GOG throughout its three-year early access period and only recently launched on PlayStation 5. Meanwhile, Starfield launched simultaneously on Steam and Xbox and likely has a significant number of players through Game Pass, somewhat suppressing its Steam numbers. Cyberpunk has the most divided player base between Steam, GOG, the Epic Games Store, PlayStation, and Xbox.
Phantom Liberty adds a significant new storyline to CDPR's dystopian RPG, set in a newly added district of the game's Night City. Regardless of whether they purchase the expansion, all Cyberpunk owners also receive the 2.0 update, which completely rebalances every aspect of the game.
Since the update's release, players have discovered a fun easter egg containing a short first-person shooter resembling Doom or Wolfenstein 3D. Players can access "Arasaka Tower 3D," which stars the supporting character Johnny Silverhand, inside an abandoned church north of the protein farm in the badlands outside Night City.
Additionally, PC users with high-end graphics cards can activate the new path-tracing mode, which drastically improves lighting. Reviews praise the update and expansion for fixing many, if not most, of the issues that plagued Cyberpunk at launch.
The title was one of the most anticipated in recent memory leading up to its original release but shipped with myriad glitches and console performance so unsatisfactory that Sony pulled it from the PlayStation store. CDPR has spent the last three years patching the game, and public perception of it started turning a corner in 2022 when a well-received spin-off anime series boosted unique player numbers beyond one million.
Phantom Liberty will be Cyberpunk's only expansion, as CDPR plans to close the book on its proprietary Red engine and transition to Unreal Engine 5 for future projects.