CD Projekt Red
Cyberpunk 2077: The most mature, ambitious, adult RPG we've ever seen left us wanting more
The Gamescom demo of Cyberpunk started off with a simple change. Unlike the E3 gameplay demo, European punters were going to be treated to the Male version of V, which means a shift in ambient dialogue and small aesthetic changes (after all, it is an FPS).
Besides gender, players can expect to customize a number of interesting aspects, including key life events like the loss of a sibling, or which celebrity character in Cyberpunk folklore they look up to most, before moving on to tattoos and biomods.
As soon as the demo started it hit me how detailed the world was. Graffiti scratches in the wall, player animations and ambient environmental assets litter the locales. Production line mystery meat swinging in-doors, an icy bathtub full of cyborg remains… it is moody and dark when youre on a mission, but even more interesting when youre out in the open.
Detail aside, the thing that really sells Cyberpunk is the pure scope of the game. It is incredibly ambitious but also delivers on the promise of a microsociety. Night City is bustling with people who have full day and night cycles.
Street vendors straight out of Blade Runner fill a scene, another has a burly man conducting a boxing match with a fully responsive training robot. Visiting a Ripperdoc was one of the highlights. Going to get some new implants is nothing like your average vendor in an RPG game.
Instead, every action is animated and it feels like catching up with a friend (a friend who enjoys ripping your optics out to add a scanner). The same effort that would go into the one crucial cutscene of an entire game is held in a visit to the implant merchant in Cyberpunk.
Memorable character design meant that every character met during the demo was seared into my brain after, from small details like the gold-plated arms of a gangster to the warped optics of a psycho gang member. It truly feels like a living world, in a way no game has before.
There are plenty of dialogue options too, and not just your cut and dry angry or calm responses. You can actually ask people about the situation and attempt diplomacy or lie, cheat and steal in complex and interesting ways.
One situation saw V deliberating over whether to tell the wiry-faced Psychogang leader about the Militech virus embedded in the credit chip he was using as payment for a combat bot.
In my demo this was the path chosen, meaning the leader actually ended up trusting us and letting us go, albeit only until he dared to mock the jacket of Vs right-hand-man, turning a simple escape into all-out-war.
It was then made clear just how deep Cyberpunks combat is. One aspect that sticks out is the variety of weapons.
The mantis blades can be used to climb walls and brutally disembowl your enemies from above, with a similar satisfaction gained from the electric kitana, which, much like a lightsaber, has a special attack that lets you deflect bullets.
Even more interesting were the guns, which include a pistol with a ricochet addon that lets you target enemies by aiming at the wall and steering the reticle, a smg that has smart bullets that track to foes, or a high-power shotgun that truncates anything in its crosshairs.
Plenty of scenarios were showcased, in some cases you had a hacker helping you to open doors to move on, in others you were creating your own cover by shooting parts of the environment to drop cars in between you and an exo-suit toting boss. It is the immersive simulator fans wet dream.
Two games it echoed for me were Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Fallout 4. The HUD and interactivity of the game is best compared to Fallout 4, its nearest neighbour in what the screen looks like whilst playing, if thats what youre trying to imagine.
These games are definitely just a jumping off point though, as Cyberpunk is in its own league with no close contenders in its space.
Yes, its a deep, choice-consequent RPG that allows for a number of methods to deal with a singular problem, but it's also a game where you can hop in a vehicle and drive wherever you want.
The third-person driving sequence made you feel less personal than the FPS seen prior, but it also set in stone just how big this game is.
The depth of Cyberpunk is maddening, and it makes you wonder what will happen to your free time once it sees the light of day.
A lot of focus was placed on seeing through someone elses eyes in the demo, be it a flatlining mark that had been scavenged for robotic parts or a foe mid-combat.
Once tapped into an enemy that is part of a squad, you can place malicious software into their brain via the unlucky members neural network. This means you can jam another person's gun from inside the brain of his squadmate. Let that sink in for a moment.
To be honest, the whole gameplay demo was a wondrous delight, a showcase into the future of gaming and by far and away the most ambitious RPG Ive ever seen. Hopefully CD Projekt Red continue to refine each section of the game with the amount of flair seen in the 50 minutes I spent with it. If they do, this could be one of the greatest titles ever made. Gamescom Preview by Jordan Oloman
Cyberpunk 2077 – Gamescom 2018 UPDATE
At Gamescom 2018, CD Projekt RED revealed a set of new screenshots for the game – the first that has actually shown off the first-person perspective for the game publically.
During a live show with IGN, the studio detailed some more information about the world of Cyberpunk 2077, and if you head over to the link and get an eyeful of the screens, it's worth noting they're not manufactured – that's actually what they look like in-game.
It's an incredible feat and just adds to the buzz around the great work the company is doing with the title.
In the meantime, read everything we know about Cyberpunk 2077 below.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Screenshots, Concept Images and More
Welcome to the year 2077.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Overview
Publisher: CD PROJEKT RED
Developer: CD PROJEKT RED
Format: To be announced
Release date: To be announced
Cyberpunk 2077 – What is it?
Cyberpunk 2077 is the next RPG from acclaimed developer CD Projekt Red, which will take on a sci-fi setting (in contrast to the studio's previous title, The Witcher 3, which was part of the fantasy genre).
The game will be set in Night City – a sprawling metropolis set in the future featuring characters of many nationalities, gender identities and classes.
The game will be playable in either a first-person or third-person perspective, potentially outlining a VR element will be included with the game, too.
One of the main features in the game will be non-player characters speaking other languages than the one players select at the start. If you don't understand the characters, you will be able to buy translator chips to help you out.
More expensive chips will do better jobs at translating the NPCs speech for you – the more you spend on a chip, the more accurate your translations will be.
The game will also experiment with a feature called "Braindance", a digital recording device streamed directly into the brain, which allows the player character to experience the emotions, brain processes and muscle movements of another person as though they were their own.
Unlike The Witcher 3 and CD Projekt Red's previous work, Cyberpunk 2077 will include a multiplayer mode.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Release Date
After Cyberpunk 2077's re-reveal at E3 2018 this year, many fans have been wondering when they'll be able to get their own grubby mitts on the title.
Sadly, it seems like the release of the game may still be quite a way away yet.
CD Projekt RED president Adam Kiciński revealed to Polish website Bankier that the game was still in pre-alpha – despite how good the E3 build looked.
When asked if the game was at the alpha stage, Bankier noted:
“No, earlier. Therefore, we show the game behind closed doors – this is not the final quality yet.
“This is the most polished part of the game we have now, prepared in some sense to show it to people outside the company.”
Then, in an interview with YouTuber YongYea, Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith noted “Ive waited 30 years to get this, it was worth it. You guys can wait a few more years.”
Looks like we'll be waiting to play it for a while yet, then.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Preview
“In 2077, society is vastly dependent on drones and robotics. From simple camera drones, able to both record and transmit live feed, to big clunky creatures, warehouse machinery and training bots, Cyberpunk 2077 revolves around machinery”.
CD Projekt RED shows us a hands-off demo of Cyberpunk 2077, playing as a female bounty hunter the dev has customised themselves. In the game, you can play as anyone you want – and will be known as V… a badass mercenary.
"Its not unusual for people to see huge automated trash collectors or robots sweeping the streets. Either mass-produced by corporations or put together from stolen trashed pieces of tech, robotics serve a huge role in both economics sectors and are an everyday addition to the life of people in Night City.
"Most of the public transportation services are handled by automated vehicles, whether its trains, subways or buses. These vehicles are entities in their own right, able to communicate with each other to make adjustments and correct their behavior accordingly."
The game is populated by a massive amount of humans and machines and everything in the middle. Night City – loyal to its description in source material pen-and-paper RPG Cyberpunk 202 – is a busy place, embarrassing anything you may have seen in the devs last title, The Witcher 3.
The city is abuzz with people, rich with detail: you can hear conversations happen as you pass by, see headlines printed on newspapers in the streets, observe the disenfranchised population talk amongst themselves as you head from quest to quest.
Our demo showed us go to get a new upgrade to our character – the installation of dermal grips allowing for better handling of weapons and a more detailed UI pop-up, and an upgrade to our retinas meaning we could see more about the world around us.
We were then tasked with working our way up through the criminal underworld by talking to a quest vendor that wanted us to retrieve an important asset from one of Cyberpunk 2077s gangs… a group of punks on the fringes of society that experiment with upgrades in an effort to diminish their own humanity.
Were told this encounter can go a variety of ways: we see it devolve into a gunfight after some well-scripted, tense dialogue that sees our character and her old-time friend negotiate with the crooks. You could choose to tell the truth about your intent, though, or go in guns-loud in the first place.
Either way, its an interesting setup, and if the entire game is set up similarly then were confident in saying itll be one of the deepest, most satisfying RPG experiences on the market.
To that end, youll need to keep various factions throughout the city happy if you want to progress in the game – depending on who you impress (or piss off…) different paths will open or close to you.
If you deceive the corporations, theyll use their incredible tech and funding to come after you. If you aggro the gangs enough, youll find certain parts of the city deadly to you. The entire game is a balance of being the sort of bounty hunter you want to be… without making things too hard for yourself.
Our behind-closed-doors look at Cyberpunk 2077 showed us a truly adult game: one thats not afraid to shy away from mature themes or adult values, one that embraces violence, nudity, the explicit and the uncouth in a way that you rarely see gaming do.
Its not just done for shock value, either – the entire world of Cyberpunk 2077 promises to be a deep, well-realised neon dreamscape… one that allows you to engage in any fantasy you wish as long as youre prepared to pay the consequences for your actions.
The game really can not come soon enough.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Story
A new update from CD Projekt RED developer Ryan Pergent has revealed some interesting information about Cyberpunk 2077's story and narrative design.
Writing on his blog, the writer outlined a few of his experiences with the game and its story, revealing how the original pitch for the game caused a few issues with staff at the development studio during the early stages of its life.
Though Pergent doesn't give specific examples, it seems Cyberpunk 2077's narrative structure clashed with its game design to some degree, with narrative beats seemingly at odds with the aesthetic and open world of the title.
Ryan states on his blog:
“The team I inherit of contains almost all the positions you can find in the studio. Designers, 3D artists, Cinematic Animators, Gameplay Animators, Writers, and Coders. The job is thrilling. The most challenging part: the Writers hate the design. I obviously cant talk about the specificities, as the game hasnt come out yet, but Writers straight up hate it. The most striking example is a meeting where all the Leads and Directors, including Adam, are gathered.
"In here, the Lead writer openly expresses his issues with the concept, echoing the opinion of his team.
"I keep it straight and manage to defend the idea with the promise that I wont disappoint them. And I dont. I rewrite the design almost entirely and come up with a better version that satisfy everyone, including the Writers. Before that, I had nightmares involving them. For real."
Pergent continues to clear up that it was only a small section of the game that was causing issues for the team, and that for the most part the studio got on fine with the overall setting and theme of the title.
Apparently, these issues have now been resolved. We look forward to hearing more about the game soon.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Villains & Gangs update
Stanisław Święcicki – a veteran writer at CD Projekt RED with five years' company experience under his belt – confirmed to Official PlayStation Magazine that the villains and setup for Cyberpunk 2077 won't be cliched and unbelievable, that they won't be 'comic book-esque' (via WCCFTech).
When asked about the size of the writing team and their approach to storytelling, Święcicki noted:
Its around eight to ten people. Ten at the moment. So, its quite a team.
At the beginning its like all the team sort and on a higher level its decided whats the direction. And then we come up with sort of a story outline so to speak – a very birds eye view of how the story progresses. Narrative is key at CD Projekt RED. I like to say narrative is key, rather than story is key. Because it all comes down to all the narrative teams really working closely.
Every department has a different focus: whether everything is logical, whether it works as levels, how good the cinematics and the mood of the scene is. Then it comes back to us and we organically change the scenes in that way, as the other teams suggest. We write the dialogue, it comes back to us again. So, its really a multilayered process.
We use the mythos as a strong road sign for us in terms of mood and atmosphere because were making a similar universe to what you`ve seen in 2020, but we are giving ourselves the creative freedom to do major tweaks to what the universe is, and what rules it has.
Thats sort of needed because Cyberpunk 2020, which I played as a role-playing game, was pen-and-paper right? So were making a very different game over here. But for us its really about the mood and whats important about the world.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Gameplay
Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt RED had some interesting things to say about loot boxes in gaming during an interview with PC Gamer.
CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński stated that the studio's aim with the game is similar to what they offered with The Witcher 3: "numerous hours of gameplay and a significant amount of content" and 50-60+ hours of the main story-line, with up to a couple of hundred hours of side activities".
Iwiński continued to state that in terms of monetisation, the studio plans to act similarly to how it did with The Witcher 3, dropping paid-for content updates into the game, along with smaller, free DLC and updates.
This came from Iwiński's support of the customer in the game's industry, and his apparent distaste of predatory business practices with regards to loot boxes and microtransactions: "Gamers are striking back, and I really hope this will change our industry for the better."
Cyberpunk 2077 – Complex Consequence System
Information about quest structure and story has surfaced in an interview Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith carried out with the YouTube channel “LastKnownMeal.”
During the interview, Pondsmith reveals that Cyberpunk 2077 will have a choice and consequence system similar to that which is seen in the tabletop game.
We see some RPGs take on board a karma system when they talk about consequence, but Cyberpunk 2077's plans to go for a more direct approach.
So if you shoot a character in a faction, the rest of the faction would be more keen to hunt you down for revenge, for example.
“Sometimes karma isnt really meted out in a nice, neat dark side, light side way. Sometimes it comes and bites you in the butt in ways you never expected. We were kidding the other day in the office about that moment when youre driving on the freeway and somebody cuts you off, and you flip them off and then you go into the bank, and theres the guy you flipped off behind the counter! This sort of stuff happens!”
It's a promising-sounding system – and plays into the impressive, ambitious nature of the game we've seen so far.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Real-World Commentary
We've recently seen quite a lot of chatter about politics in games and whether or not they really 'belong' in the wake of the popular game site The Escapist rebooting whilst 'avoiding politics in games'.
CD Projekt RED has noted that its take on the issue is pretty much the opposite – that Cyberpunk 2077 will have something to say about politics and that it won't shy away from the big issues.
“Cyberpunk 2077 is a game about people with power at the top and people at the bottom with none," says CD Projekt Red quest designer Patrick Mills in an interview with Official Xbox Magazine (via PCGamer).
“That power can come from money, hierarchies, technology and violence.
“The original Cyberpunk 2020 setting, like the setting of The Witcher stories, was a complex critique of the authors world, and we dont shy away from that in our games. On the contrary, I think its one of the things that sets us apart […] Cyberpunk is an inherently political genre and its an inherently political franchise.”
Cyberpunk 2077 – A PS5 and Next-Gen Xbox Release?
Despite not actually having a lot of news to go on about Cyberpunk 2077 at this point, it looks like we could still be playing the sci-fi RPG in years to come.
CD Projekt Reds Piotr Nielubowicz and Adam Kiciński recently spoke at the Pareto Securities Gaming Seminar 2018 event (you can read more about that below, too), and part of what they said may nod to the future of console gaming.
Part of the presentation the duo offered to explain the game to eager onlookers detailed something important: that it would be built on current and 'next generation' technology.
That means we could see a cross-generation release for the game, seeing an initial launch on PS4 and Xbox One, but then coming to whatever Microsoft and Sony do next, too.
The downside of this? It means we're certainly not going to see the game launch soon – anything cross-gen tends to come towards the end of a game console's life cycle… and the PS4 and Xbox One certainly have some life in them yet.
You can see the seminar this is mentioned in here.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Flying Cars not playable?
Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red has announced that the flying cars you may have seen in various trailers or leaked demo materials are just for show – they won't be playable.
Speaking to Metro, Cyberpunk 2077 level designer Max Pears noted:
“You wont be able to control flying cars, but they will be used for missions for crucial things"
That makes it sound like you'll be taken to locations in them – maybe with cinematic cutscenes – but all the driving you'll be doing will be down on the tarmac in tricked-out supercars… you know, the old-fashioned way.
CD Projekt Red
Cyberpunk 2077 – Close to the source material?
The original creator of the Cyberpunk pen and paper RPG, Mike Pondsmith, has weighed in on the game's development to say that now is the right time for the world to see a game set in this universe.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Pondsmith states that the whole Cyberpunk universe is built around how ordinary people use technology to fight against those in power, putting everyone on the same level.
Pondsmith says that CD Projekt Red has pretty much managed to make the world as he imagined it – something gaming companies didn't have the technology to do when an interactive version of his game was originally proposed in the 80s.
It's clear Pondsmith is excited about the video game version of Cyberpunk 2077 coming to life – something that couldn't be said of the original creator of The Witcher series…
Cyberpunk 2077 – Series creator's impressions
This article is already full of information about Cyberpunk 2020 creator, Mike Pondsmith's, reactions to the 2077 game.
However, in a recent interview with Polygon, the pen and paper RPG creator has mentioned his impressions when he played through some parts of the highly-anticipated RPG for the first time.
"The sequences when youre going down to the Ripperdoc and all that. Theres entire neighbourhood areas in there where you can walk around and you can listen to peoples gossip. Because its in first-person, what I love is you get that stuff peripherally. You could be crossing to go down the street to get something and hear somebody say something [behind you], and you have to turn and figure out who said it in a crowd and where. You dont have complete situational awareness, which makes it a far more powerful experience."
There has been controversy around the idea of putting the game in the first-person view, but Pondsmith respects CD Projekt RED's decision:
"You stop doing your gameplay on a strategic level. You have to do it on a tactical, immediate level, because you dont know everything. When youre in third-person, you can look and see the entire battlefield, so to speak. When Im in [first-person], Im in it. Stuff that happens around me is coming to me at the speed it would naturally."
Cyberpunk 2077 – Pre-Development
It is estimated that development on Cyberpunk 2077 began in 2012. Since then, little has been revealed about the game aside from a single teaser trailer.
A funding application for the Polish government, granting CD Projekt Red US$7 million, noted that the release could potentially take place in 2019 and confirmed the employment of REDengine 4 – something we haven't yet publically seen from the studio.
In 2017, CD Projekt Red announced that data had been stolen from the studio pertaining to early concepts and development plans for the title, and that the studio was being threatened with a ransom notice.
CD Projekt Red announced it would refuse to comply with the ransom, asking players to avoid any potentially leaked information.
CD Projekt Red will be working with Mike Pondsmith, who created the original tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020, to make sure the game is in line with the property.