In a nutshell: Cyberpunk 2077's redemption from launching as a mostly slammed technical mess into the praised current version with its Phantom Liberty DLC has been a long and expensive road. The amount developer CD Projekt Red (CDPR) spent on turning things around – both in fixing issues and marketing – was a massive $120 million, more than most games' entire budgets.
At the Polish dev's recent Investor Day, CDPR revealed that it spent $40 - $41 million to bring Cyberpunk 2077 to the current console generation and create the 2.0 update, which adds a ton of improvements and new features to the game.
The Phantom Liberty expansion, meanwhile, with its Hollywood cast and big production values, cost a massive $84 million to create and promote.
That's a huge amount of money for a piece of DLC. For comparison, CDPR spent $174 million on the development of Cyberpunk 2077 and $142 million on marketing the game. The only title to rank above it on the 'Most Expensive Video Games Ever Made' list is Star Citizen, though its $500+ million budget has been crowdsourced and the final version isn't out – still.
The presentation also revealed that Cyberpunk 2077 has now sold more than 25 million copies since its launch almost three years ago, while Phantom Liberty recorded nearly 3 million in sales during its first week. CDPR CEO Adam Kicinski pointed out that it had taken The Witcher 3 and its expansion packs four years to reach that milestone.
Kicinski confirmed that Phantom Liberty will be the one and only expansion for Cyberpunk 2077 as the company looks to future projects, including the announced sequel, and moves away from its own REDengine in favor of the cheaper and more flexible Unreal Engine.
Cyberpunk 2077's technical problems, accusations that the pre-release trailer had been faked, and its almost unplayable state on last-gen consoles at launch were disastrous for what was one of the most hyped games of all time, leading to refund demands and lawsuits. But a series of patches, upgrades, and new modes started pushing Cyberpunk 2077 closer to the game we were promised, something that finally seems to have happened with Phantom Liberty.
Riding on the back of the DLC's popularity was last week's news that a live-action project, probably a TV show, set in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe is being developed.