Since making a surprise appearance during Microsoft’s E3 press conference, Cyberpunk 2077 has become perhaps the most anticipated game coming out of the expo. CD Projekt Red announced Cyberpunk 2077 back in 2012 three years before The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) was even released. In early 2013 we were shown a teaser trailer and a few interviews were given but then everything went dark. Since E3, CD Projekt Red and those who had the chance to play the very exclusive gameplay demo, have revealed new details surrounding the game and the world of Night City.
CD Projekt Red have famously only ever released fantasy style games, more specifically, only ever released games within the Witcher series. Cyberpunk 2077 is based on Cyberpunk 2020 (1990), a table-top RPG originally released in the late ‘80s. Cyberpunk takes place in a technologically enhanced dystopian city, so switching over to this setting will be a big change for CD Projekt Red.
The story of Cyberpunk 2077 focuses on V, a mercenary who is living in Night City, the largest metropolis in a future California. The world of Cyberpunk is set in alternative future, one where America is in pieces, where everyday life is ruled by technology, megacorporation, and gangs.
One of the first pieces of information to be revealed about the game is that it will be in a first-person perspective, something that wasn’t exactly welcomed by fans, with most expecting a futuristic Witcher game and not a first-person shooter. However, CD Projekt Red have promised that Cyberpunk 2077 will not be a first-person shooter, they will stick with the RPG genre that they do so well but will be taking elements from shooters. Night City, where the game takes place, will be very atmospheric which is one of the reasons for the first-person perspective decision. Kyle Rowley, associate design director for the game has said that a lot of work has been put into the game environment and he wants players to be immersed into the depression and poverty of Night City, and first-person perspective will help the experience feel more personal. It will also help players get into the head of V and experience the state of the character as they become affected by cybernetic enhancements and drugs.
The bustling and always busy Night City is where the game is set. With a high rate of violence and poverty, the city has been named the worst place to live in America, yet people still want to be there. Cyberpunk 2077 is fully open world so you are free to explore the city districts on foot, by car, or in the city’s train system. While you are free to go almost everywhere in the city at any point in the game, it’s worth noting that districts will have level caps and there will be no level scaling, so knowing what districts to avoid in early parts of the game might be a good idea. Night City has six districts, City Center, the luxurious pride of Night City where the megacorporations are headquartered, think The Capitol from The Hunger Games (2008); Watson, a fallen corporate giant that is now mainly occupied by immigrants; Westbrook, a wealthy district where the tourist-friendly Japantown is located; Heywood, a massive suburban housing development that has an underlying gang problem; Pacifica, the most dangerous part of town, separated from the rest of the city, overrun by gangs, and a place of immense poverty; and finally Santo Domingo, the industrial district whose power plants and factories keep Night City alive.
The protagonist, V is a fully customisable character who is whoever you want them to be. All your choices will decide their place in the city and how their story plays out. Once you have chosen V’s gender you can customise their look by choosing ethnicity, tattoos, hairstyle, and clothing, which can alter interactions with NPCs. As well as your character aesthetics you can also choose what their background is and whether they’re local or what brought them to the city. Like many RPG’s your choices affect the story and your choice of background and personality style will affect how other characters regard you and can open up dialogue choices and story moments. Since Cyberpunk 2077 will be a mature game, there will of course be romantic relationships, and because V is a fully customisable character that is defined by you, you can define their sexuality any way you like. Stats will also be customisable, with the option to change your strength, constitution, intelligence, reflex, tech, and cool. These stats will then determine whether your character is a NetRunner, a specialist in hacking; a Techie, a technology expert; or Solo, a character who is skilled in combat. However, these character classes are not set in stone as your in-game decisions can combine them resulting in a completely reshaped V as he or she grows throughout the game.
There will be two different forms of XP that V can gain, core XP and street cred. Core XP is your standard levelling up XP, that will give you access to new weapons and abilities, and street cred represents your reputation in the city and will come into effect when trying to enter certain parts of the city and will unlock new mercenary jobs.
As you play through the game new weapons and abilities will of course become available. By visiting a ‘ripperdoc’ V will get to upgrade and purchase cyberwear that will unlock all sorts of new abilities such optical implants that allow V to zoom in and analyse environments and weapon parts that will improve combat. But these cyberwear enhancements comes at a price, technology has completely taken over Night City and its citizens, so the more enhancements you take on, the more of your humanity you will lose which will in turn affect how other characters interact with you. Weapons are divided into three categories, power, tech, and smart. Power weapons are your standard guns, tech weapons have enhancements such as special bullet types and properties, and smart weapons have special abilities like homing bullets. Weapons aren’t just used for combat either, with the mantis blades for example being both a powerful melee weapon and a tool to help with free running. If V has an optic implant then you will be able to see enemies’ weaknesses and apply different types of damage according to that such as physical, thermal, EMP, or chemical.
No release date has been announced as of yet with CD Projekt Red simply saying we’ll get it when it’s ready. There’s likely a few years of development left but rumours circulating the internet are speculating that we could be in store for a 2020 release, which will tie in nicely with the board game it is based upon. When Cyberpunk 2077 is finally released it is sure to be huge and is predicted to make an impact like that of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.