CD Projekt apologizes for anti-Russian dialogue and images in Ukrainian version of Cyberpunk 2077, says it was added without permission

Pro-Ukrainian graffiti in Cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: CD Projekt)

CD Projekt has apologized for in-game dialog and graffiti in the Ukrainian localization of Cyberpunk 2077 that criticizes Russia's invasion of the country, and says it's working to remove or replace them in the next update.

A Ukrainian localization of Cyberpunk 2077 was included as part of the massive 2.0 update that rolled out earlier this month. But it included more than just a new language: As noted by Zone of Games (via Rock, Paper, Shotgun), it also includes some unique commentary on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A line of police dialog referencing the Scavengers faction that normally says, "Couldn't all these assholes bite it out in the Badlands" for instance, is changed to "Couldn't all this rusnia bite it out in the Badlands?" Rusnia is a recently-coined Ukrainian term (derogatory, of course) for Russians.

Another bit of in-game dialog in the Ukrainian edition of the game has been edited to say "Go f*ck yourself in the same direction as the ship did," a reference to the famous response to Russia's demand that Ukraine's Snake Island be surrendered. There's also at least one piece of graffiti in the game that features the Ukrainian coat of arms and a symbol representing the Crimean Tatars imposed over a rough map of Crimea.

CD Projekt has been openly critical of Russia's war, and supportive of Ukraine: Shortly after the invasion began, the studio pledged 1 million PLN ($243,000) to an aid organization supporting Ukrainian civilians forced from their homes, and a week later it halted all sales of its games in Russia and Belarus. In light of that, the anti-Russian messaging in the Ukrainian version of Cyberpunk 2077 seemed like a natural thing for the studio to do. But in messages posted on the Russian social networks VK and Telegram, CD Projekt said it had nothing to do with the changes, and promised that they will be removed.

"The Ukrainian localization of Cyberpunk 2077 contains several remarks that could offend some Russian players," the studio wrote (Google translated). "These remarks were not written by CD Projekt Red employees and do not represent our views. We are working to fix them and replace them in the next update. We apologize for this situation and are taking steps to ensure it does not happen again."

(Image credit: CD Projekt (via Alloctac, Cyberpunk 2077 forums))

The Ukrainian localization of Cyberpunk 2077 is credited to two companies: SBT Localization, which has worked on other games including Baldur's Gate 3, Darkest Dungeon, and The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, and UnlocTeam, whose past work includes Subnautica, Dorfromantik, Warframe, and Valheim. Neither company has commented publicly on the matter so far.

The changes have already been noticed by some Russian and Ukrainian players, and threads on Steam and the CD Projekt forums complaining about "incitement" and anti-Russian bias have popped up. One user went so far as to accuse CD Projekt of "open Nazism and Russophobia," while another called for a ban on the sale of all games developed in Poland.

CD Projekt declined to comment further on the situation. I've reached out to SBT Localization for more information and will update if I receive a reply.

Update: The story originally indicated that Localization was responsible for the completely Cyberpunk 2077 Ukrainian localization. SBT Localization is credited for the job in the Phantom Liberty credits, while UnlocTeam is credited for localizing the base game in the 2.0 update.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.