I got into a rather involved, lengthy (and ugly) argument with famedchris (and some of the MC community) on Twitter. Here is what I figured out during that painful process.
Calling it "the update" is completely misleading. famedchris said the project started out as a simple recode of the basic framework with new UI and heists. In its current state, that no longer reflects the work the dev team is doing.
The update/recode/Chapter 2 will be an entirely new game, with little to nothing in common with the current version of Mad City. This is why the process is taking so long. At some point between the time they announced it would be released in "late winter 2021 (February, not December)" and the time that date came and went, the focus on the project shifted to completely remaking the game.
When the recode releases, the new framework the game is being built on should reportedly allow for larger updates to be added faster, which will allow quality content to be added regularly faster than has been possible with the current version of the game.
The dev team has done a poor job (in my opinion) of communicating this change in focus to the greater Mad City community. They still commonly refer to what's coming as "the update" even after I pointed out that given their past record of missing release dates and dropping underwhelming updates (some of which was due to how the game is coded, not the fault of the dev team necessarily), using that word in reference to the recode is misleading.
Because the scale of what's being done has shifted so greatly, there is little chance that Mad City 2 will be released anytime soon. QA testing hasn't even begun and that is an important part of the feedback process, after which they will address the bugs found before releasing it to the wider community.
I was literally told, "Go play another game until we're finished." and "We don't mind losing some of the community permanently if it means the game is better for the community in the long run." In short, the only option the community has is to exercise patience, even though the current version is broken (and won't be fixed), or go play something else and listen for the hype train to return to the station when Mad City 2 is finally released.