I’m sure I wasn’t the only one glued to my computer when the folks at CD Projekt Red dropped new details for their upcoming RPG, Cyberpunk 2077, at E3 and Gamescom 2018. And with yesterday’s reveal of the 48-minute gameplay video originally shown to press at those two events, everything we’d heard about the game seems to have been confirmed.
Needless to say, the wait was well worth it.
Known for the critically-acclaimed Witcher series, CD Projekt Red has enough cache to command the attention of almost any gamer. By delivering complex and revolutionary systems in that series, and showing how intelligent A.I. can truly impact gameplay, CD Projekt Red has cultivated a proven track record of improving and evolving their games. The Witcher 3 was applauded for its narrative, complexity, and authentic gameplay.
I believe Cyberpunk 2077 will continue that evolution in gaming.
What was amazing about the new gameplay demo was how much information was thrown at us in such a relatively short amount of time. The world is extremely immersive, especially in regards to world-building and lore. CD Projekt Red shows it is really pushing the boundaries of gaming.
And it’s doing this through verticality.
Most open world games and RPGs focus on world building in an outward fashion. However, it seems that Cyberpunk 2077 will focus on it in an upward expansion. With the gameplay demo that was shown yesterday, it seems like all these massive skyscrapers and “mega corporations” are fully explorable. If so, that’s a game changer, something that will make quests and exploring a very unique experience, and something we haven’t seen before in an RPG or open world game.
Just think about it. Imagine some of your favorite futuristic and cyberpunk movies. Now imagine all of them being playable…
This is where Cyberpunk 2077 is the most exciting in my opinion. Not only did the gameplay show off the game’s exploration elements, the earlier trailers highlighted many technologies that science fiction movies of the past are known for, like transhumanism, futuristic vehicles, and eccentric clothing. A new ability was shown in the new gameplay demo, which is called “cyberware”, a truly cinematic, bullet-time on steroids type of ability that allows players to bounce bullets off of walls to hit enemies hiding around corners. It’s an ability that’s rooted in other games, but one that takes advantage of modern technology and completes that filmic feel.
This also opens the door to a multitude of storylines and mods for the game when it comes out. Imagine an Akira storyline for Cyberpunk 2077, or at least Kaneda’s infamous red bike as a drivable vehicle. Or a racing minigame that takes place on Fury Road from Mad Max. The car in the demo had doors reminiscent of K’s car in Bladerunner 2049. The Grand Theft Auto franchise somewhat dabbled in this, but it was always through a mod which doesn’t feel as authentic as core gameplay.
Cyberpunk 2077 has the ability to bring that authentic experience to fruition like never before.
Of course, I can’t talk about the cyberpunk genre without talking about the music.
The retrowave and synthwave genres have recently seen a resurgence in music, movies, and video games. We have shows like Stranger Things, with its retro sounds and themes, which pays homage to some of our favorite movies growing up. Hollywood is currently obsessed with reboots, and some of the most popular music on the Billboard charts has callbacks to the ’70s and ’80s through samples and interpolations.
And Cyberpunk 2077 is feeding into that nostalgia.
Brian “Brain” Mantia, the composer behind Cyberpunk 2077’s music has said that the studio is going for that ’80’s retro feel but in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s actually retreading already explored territory. He’s been quoted as saying “CD Projekt Red wants something that has never been heard before and wants the music to be something that would be made in the year 2077”.
Personally, I loved how there were so many different cultural influences highlighted in the world while the main character was just walking around Night City in the demo. The game is utilizing this retro trend, as well as expanding on it to create a soundscape that we haven’t heard before.
But that’s not all CD Projekt Red is hoping to turn on its head. RPGs are known for their different classes, but Cyberpunk 2077 is turning that idea on its head. The developers have explained the idea of having no classes within the game, but instead having three guidelines you can use to evolve your character.
Speaking to IGN about the game, Associate Design Director, Kyle Rowley, has said, “you’re playing through the game, you’re modifying, adjusting your class based on the attributes, the perks you pick, the cyberware you install. So it’s a very fluid class system.” This is unheard of in current RPGs and open world games.
This will also be stats that are comparable to the SPECIAL attribute system in the Fallout series, but in Cyberpunk 2077, it seems this system will be more in tune with the narrative and world. Whatever stats you choose to adjust can have implications to the storyline — and even the entire world of Night City.
This creates nearly an innumerable amount of options for how players can approach situations and events in Cyberpunk 2077, similar to the decision-consequence systems in the Witcher series. Create a criminal empire, or play it straight, and everything in between. The choice is yours.
I’m not the type of person to get hyped about a game this early, but like a growing number of gamers around the world, I can’t wait for this game to come out.
From the verticality of the gameplay and distinctive “no class” system to the nostalgic design and trendy choice of music, CD Projekt RED is really pushing the envelope.
According to Engadget, Cyberpunk 2077 is playable from start to finish, which means the release date for the game might be closer than we expected. The final product of Cyberpunk 2077 could change the way we perceive and play video games when it releases. A game that truly defines a generation.