It’s been three years since Witcher developer CD Projekt Red announced its sci-fi roleplaying game, Cyberpunk 2077, and we still haven’t learned much about it beyond its broad strokes premise. And don’t hold your breath, either, because it might be a while yet.
The immensely successful launch of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has made the developer more optimistic about the prospects of Cyberpunk 2077, but has also ensured that The Witcher 3 will remain the studio’s primary focus for the immediate future. “We hope and we are certain that Cyberpunk has even bigger commercial potential,” CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kicinski told Reuters. “It is too early to talk about it, though. This year, and the next one will be the years of the Witcher.”
Cyperpunk 2077 will be a science fiction RPG set in a dystopian future where cybernetic enhancements have run rampant, destabilizing society. Thematically it’s very similar to the Deus Ex games, including the recently-announced Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The game’s name is an explicit nod to the setting it is adapting, which is Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk 2020 pen-and-paper RPG that was first published in the late 80s.
Cyberpunk 2020 has never been adapted into a video game, but it was used as the original setting for Netrunner, a collectible card game created by Magic: The Gathering designer Richard Garfield in the late 90s and recently revived by Fantasy Flight Games as the exquisite Android: Netrunner. Pondsmith, impressed by the studio’s thorough and passionate grasp of the setting, is working closely with CD Projekt Red to help bring his vision to life.
It also wears its other references on its sleeve, including Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and William Gibson’s genre-defining novel, Neuromancer, from which we get the word “cyberspace”.
The studio’s experience in building the massive Witcher 3 will no doubt prove useful in developing Cyberpunk 2077, which it has described as “a multi-thread, nonlinear story designed for mature players.” Unlike the Witcher games, in which the player must be Geralt of Rivia, Cyberpunk will allow for the deep character customization that is characteristic of its tabletop roleplaying roots.
Beyond that, there is scarce little to go on other than this cinematic teaser trailer, which looks especially Blade Runner (look at that flying police car and tell me you don’t expect to see Edward James Olmos come limping out):
We may have to wait a while for Cyberpunk 2077, but in the meantime CD Projekt Red will give us plenty to do with its planned expansions for The Witcher 3 (our review is coming early next week, but here’s a spoiler: It’s pretty fantastic). The third and final entry in Geralt of Rivia’s saga has been the studio’s most successful game to date, breaking into the mainstream in a way its games never have before.
Two major, paid expansions have been announced, adding over 30 hours of new story by early 2016. There will also continue to be a steady drip of small, free additions between now and when the first large DLC arrives in October.