CYBERPUNK 2077 is a new game in the year 2018. However, it is not always what you expect as a follow-up to The Witcher 3: poaching. CD Projekt Red is the next big release is still a role-playing game, of course; and from what I saw during the 50-minute hands-off demo at E3 this week, RPG elements very insightful. But it also fuses structure with the first-person shooter, with a dynamic open world primed for Grand Theft Auto-style chaos.
CD Projekt Red describes Cyberpunk 2077 as “narrative-driven RPG. ” it happened in the alternate reality version of Northern California, in the city of mega wide plus filled man. The demo opened, like most role-playing experiences did, with the creator of characters. You can choose the sex of your character, select view, and provide skills points to better suit Your playstyle. But Cyberpunk 2077 also went one step further and allows you to craft your own simple backstory. You can choose from childhood events that shape your character, and this, in turn, will affect the way people look at you in the game. This is a nod to the history of the game, based on the pen and paper RPG called Cyberpunk 2020.
The demo was later shifted to the search, in which the main character, V, and his partner are looking for someone in a bleak apartment complex that has been home to a scavenger who harvest technology from coupled with human beings. At moments such as Cyberpunk 2077 played straight-up first-person shooter. You have to duck behind cover to avoid the fire, and you can pick up new weapons from downed enemies.
But given that this is the cyber-enhanced future, there are a few twists to the gameplay. With the right augments, you can see enemies through walls, or bounce bullets off of surfaces to take out bad guys behind cover. V also has an inhaler she can use for temporary enhancements. In the demo it was possible to slow down time to nail the perfect headshot or hit someone’s weak spot. You can also hack your opponents; during one point in the demo, V managed to infect an enemy with malicious software that made it possible to jam up the weapon’s of him and his crew.
While the core action looks very FPS, CD Projekt Red were quick to point out that, even during the shooter moments, the game is built around choice and offering different ways to complete objectives. A later quest involved getting a stolen military robot back from some extremely augmented technophiles. You could go in guns blazing and try to steal it, or earn the money necessary to buy it and avoid violence altogether. During the demo, V instead went another route, and met with an executive from the military corporation the robot was stolen from, and convinced them to offer up the necessary funds for buying it back. There was quite a bit of dialogue in the game as well, which should assuage the fears of RPG fans; while you’ll be doing plenty of shooting, the role-playing elements still appear to play a significant role.
As cool as the action looked, by far the most interesting part of the demo was the world itself. Night City doesn’t necessarily look all that distinctive; the neon lights and rain-slicked streets of cyberpunk are everywhere today, and I didn’t see much that made Cyberpunk 2077’s setting stand out. And even the tiny bit of the game I saw was littered with cringe-worthy moments, like characters saying “I have news as big as my balls” or “I’m cleaner than a cunt at a covenant.” But what lacks in originality, it makes up for in sheer depth and detail.
Night City looks positively alive. As V walked down the grimy streets, she ventured past boxers training with robots and taped-off crime scenes being investigated. She was pestered by pan-handlers and walked through restaurants filled with dozens of patrons, all focused on their meals and conversation. She could scan holographic ads, and they’d then direct her to whatever they were selling. The level of detail was astounding.
Particularly impressive were the citizens, who all moved about naturally, as if they had their own lives going on. CD Projekt Red says that each non-playable character has their own day / night cycle, so that they behave differently depending on the time of day. They can also behave differently depending on what you do in the game. During one scene, V was driving a retro-futuristic car to a mission, only to be attacked by a van full of scavengers who were angry she killed some of their friends. The ensuing gunfire-filled chase felt ripped out of GTA.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that this was a small slice of the game played in a very closed environment. There’s a good chance that the final product won’t look or behave quite so impressively. But it’s hard not to get excited by the sheer ambition of Cyberpunk 2077. The Witcher 3 was one of the finest role-playing games of the last decade, and CD Projekt Red seem intent on creating a worthy follow-up — even if it takes the genre in some very different directions.
Cyberpunk 2077 is coming to the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, though there’s no word on a release date yet.