Game reviewer and journalist Liana Rupert was playing CD Projekt Red’s much awaited “Cyberpunk 2077” when she suffered a grand mal seizure. A scene in the game where the player has to use a “brain dance” device in which a series of flashing lights in alternating red and white appears in the game is what triggered the seizure.
The game did not have a specific seizure and epilepsy warning on start-up. She drew similarities of the flashing sequences to an actual device used by neurologists to purposefully trigger seizures in a patient.
“The headset fits over both eyes and features a rapid onslaught of white and red blinking LEDs, much like the actual device neurologists use in real life to trigger a seizure when they need to trigger one for diagnosis purposes. If not modelled off of the IRL (In Real Life) design, it’s a very spot-on coincidence”, she wrote in an article for gameinformer.
The company immediately responded to the article by thanking Ruppert in a tweet for bringing the issue to their notice and added that that they were working on making a separate seizure warning in addition to the one that already exists in EULA (the end user licensing agreement), a document that exists for legal purposes and rarely any gamer reads.
The journalist’s collaboration with the developers did not end there. CD Projekt Red’s North American head of communications, Stephanie Bayer told The Washington Post that they have since took suggestions from the journalist and have been in frequent consultation with her.
With her help, the flashing sequences that caused the seizure have also been fixed via a software patch a day later after the game’s release. The sequence was now safe for photosensitive and epileptic players.
“We absolutely did take this seriously and we thanked her for allowing us to correct this,” Bayer said.