Anticipation is building for Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red’s upcoming follow-up to the massively successful The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Originally announced back in 2012, details about the sci-fi title have finally been revealed, along with a release date. Trading fantasy for science fiction, Cyberpunk 2077 is shaping up to be CD Projekt Red’s most ambitious game to date.
Expectations are high considering The Witcher 3 is widely regarded as one of the best open-world RPGs of all time. Though an open-world RPG as well, Cyberpunk 2077 is, to put it simply, a first-person shooter — a style of play CD Projekt Red hasn’t attempted so far. From all of the footage we’ve seen, we wouldn’t blame you if you had Cyberpunk 2077 at the top of your most anticipated games list. Here’s everything we know so far about Cyberpunk 2077, from gameplay to story to its world and much more.
Inspired by pen-and-paper
To the uninitiated, the title Cyberpunk 2077 itself can be a source of confusion. Cyberpunk 2077 is, in fact, set in the universe of 1990 pen-and-paper RPG Cyberpunk 2020. That game features high-tech weapons and cybernetic alterations that players can make to their characters — essentially, tricking them out with cool tech, cyborg-style — as well as a 1980s-style retro-future aesthetic. Except the year is 2077. Confusing, right?
So at least to some extent, players who are familiar with Cyberpunk 2020 or are looking to learn about it may get some insight into the inspirations of CD Projekt’s new game. The developer has worked with the original creator of Cyberpunk, Mike Pondsmith, who has been helping with story development to bring the tabletop experience into the virtual world.
CD Projekt has also called Cyberpunk 2077 “more ambitious” than its last huge game, The Witcher 3, in “every way.”
Setting and story
In Cyberpunk 2077, you play as V, a young cyberpunk living in the metropolitan Night City. Though locked into its name, V is a player-created character that can be either male or female. Upon creating your version of V, you can choose from three origin stories, referred to by CD Projekt Red as “lifepaths.” The Nomad lifepath sees V start in the Badlands, outside of Night City. Consider this to be the “rural” route. The Corpo lifepath appears to imply that your version of V would be interested in the megacorporations that run the city, while the Street Kid lifepath is the polar opposite. During our E3 2019 meeting, CD Projekt Red said that your lifepath will influence how you are perceived and treated by NPCs.
Night City may have futuristic tech, but it’s anything but a lovely place to live — at least according to V. Both gameplay demos showed off the rough conditions that many citizens live in. Citizens are addicted to drugs, corporations control the wealth and infect the people with an obsession for body modifications, and privacy is a huge concern. Everyone is chipped, and it’s considered a great offense to jack into someone without consent. A user connected to V’s chip can see everything that V does and everything that’s happened to their body/brain.
Night City is separated into six districts: City Center, Heywood, Pacifica, Santo Domingo, Watson, and Westbrook. City Center is the downtown metro area and the most populated district in the game. Heywood is where most of Night City’s Latino population lives. Heywood has rampant gang warfare. Pacifica, where the E3 2019 took place, is the dreariest district in Night City and home to multiple dangerous groups such as the super-powerful Animals. Santo Domingo is an industry hub comprised of huge factories. Watson is where most of the Asian population lives. And Westbrook is the upper-class district, the home of much of Night City’s entertainment and high society events.
Timeline-wise, Cyberpunk 2077 does, in fact, take place in the same timeline as the Cyberpunk 2020 board game. Again, this is confusing, but just know that Cyberpunk 2077 aims to tell a sweeping story about the perils of megacorporations and a society ruined by drug addiction, wealth disparity, and an over-emphasis on looks (via body modifications). Like many dystopian science fiction works, Cyberpunk 2077 will show what society can become when technology goes too far. Unlike some game studio representatives, Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith plainly stated to PC Gamer that Cyberpunk 2077 is political.
The technology is often amazing, but at the same time, it’s terrifying. For instance, corporations sell “braindances,” experiences that play in your mind, complete with sensory information and emotions. Sounds pretty cool — like virtual reality on steroids. But the experiences from braindances are actual lived experiences from other people in Night City, which is, of course, incredibly creepy and has the makings for being quite dangerous.
Player-choice matters in Cyberpunk 2077. Each conversation we’ve seen has about three dialogue options you can choose from to respond to NPCs. Your interactions with NPCs will affect how you are treated in the future by both them and others. Though it hasn’t been elaborated on extensively, Cyberpunk 2077 will have more than one possible ending. Player-choice during dialogue and critical moments would seemingly lead to different endings.
Billboards are plastered across Night City advertising body modifications and implants. V can visit Ripperdocs to purchase and equip new augmentations. In various trailers and gameplay footage, CD Projekt Red has shown off a handful of the possible augmentations. Certain enhancements alter mobility, allowing V to run on walls, swiftly dash, double jump, and even use mechanics such as bullet time. Other enhancements relate to guns, allowing you to shoot bullets around walls to kill enemies. Bionic arms let you rip off doors and detach turrets, as shown in the E3 2019 demo. V can also attach sword arms to tear enemies apart with melee combat.
CD Projekt Red hasn’t shown off a ton of the modifications, but given the emphasis on them in both the story and lore, expect plenty of options that will totally change how you approach combat.
Character classes and skill trees
Along with your lifepath, Cyberpunk 2077 will have three primary character classes: Netrunner, Techie, and Solo. These character classes are more of just suggestions than rigid guidelines. Even if you choose Netrunner, you can still become a competent mercenary. Skill trees aren’t locked to class, so it’s up to you which areas to focus on. Netrunners are the expert hackers, the kind of characters that specialize in hacking into enemies and machines for deliriously cool stealth encounters. Techies focus on crafting. Solo builds are dedicated to gunplay and exerting V’s physical power over enemies via body modifications such as bionic arms. If you want to go in guns blazing, Solo is for you.
Some NPCs will also be assigned a class, though these are separate from player classes. Classes often tie into an NPC’s occupation.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, following the Netrunner class seems to make the most use of Cyberpunk 2077‘s most dynamic moments. Hacking into basically anything around you and using objects to distract and kill enemies is a tantalizing prospect.
Cyberpunk 2077 extended gameplay footage
For an in-depth look at what Cyberpunk 2077 is all about, the above 48-minute gameplay video is a great watch. The narrated demo is the first and only public showing of Cyberpunk 2077‘s gameplay. It shows off the gunplay, character creation (it’ll look different in the full release), driving, and the setting of Night City.
A gameplay demo of a similar length was shown behind closed doors at E3 2019. That demo hasn’t been released publicly yet, but Digital Trends sat in on a meeting and viewed the footage. In a few words: It was astonishing.
The demo showed off a mission where V infiltrated a mall filled with Animals, a class of enemies that take copious amounts of Juice to enhance muscle growth. The mission showed off all of the different ways you can approach Cyberpunk 2077‘s gameplay. In one instance, V hacked into a robot that was sparring with an Animal.
While jacked in, V could make the robot bash the Animal, clearing the way forward. We also watched V jack into a van, giving him access to all of the NPCs in the area. From there, V made one enemy shoot themselves in the head and another pull the pin on their own grenade. Additionally, we saw the Nanowire at work, a high-tech whip that can slice through enemies while keeping a low profile.
Afterward, we saw how you could approach the same scenario with a different build. Playing as a female V with bionic arms, we watched as she ripped a turret from its stand and riddled Animals with bullets. Rather than hacking to get through doors, she simply pulled them right off of the frame. Gunplay looked speedy, with V sliding and ducking in and out of cover, shooting at Animals as they leaped towards her with their overly buff leg muscles.
The E3 2019 demo is also where we got a sizable look of Johnny Silverhand, the digital ghost companion who also happens to be the frontman of the rock group Samurai. Johnny will be with V throughout the adventure, potentially acting as a sort of advisor.
No loading screens
While gameplay demos have had brief loading screens, CD Projekt Red has promised that traversing through Night City will be seamless — no loading screens to speak of at all. Like Red Dead Redemption 2, cutscenes will seamlessly transition into gameplay. Considering Night City figures to be pretty enormous, this fact is definitely impressive, especially since Cyberpunk 2077 is coming to current generation hardware.
Keanu Reeves is your friendly(?) neighborhood ghost
As mentioned above, Keanu Reeves will play a major role in Cyberpunk 2077 as Johnny Silverhand. Lending both his likeness and voice to the character, Silverhand has the most lines of dialogue outside of V. It’s not entirely clear if Silverhand will be your friend all the way to the end of the game. His motivations have been left under wraps. Writing on the walls in the E3 2019 trailer asks “Where’s Johnny?” Reeves himself has said that Silverhand had a military background before getting injured — hence the bionic arm. He moved to music, fronting the rock band Samurai, a popular group in Night City that has a loyal following. V wears a jacket with the Samurai logo on it, so we know he/she is a fan like so many others.
In the gameplay footage we saw, Johnny glitched in and out of view throughout, speaking with V. It wasn’t immediately clear whether anyone else could see or hear him, though.
No morality system
Cyberpunk 2077 will not have a morality system, according to an interview with GamingBolt. That means you don’t have to worry about how you approach combat, whether you play stealthily or lethally. NPCs will acknowledge your dialogue choices and decision making and interact with you accordingly, but unlike Red Dead 2 and other open-world games, you won’t be adversely or positively affected by a sliding morality scale.
You can complete the game with a zero kill count
CD Projekt Red has stated that Cyberpunk 2077 can be completed without ever killing anyone. To do so, you’ll have to play stealthily, adhering to non-lethal interactions with enemies over first-person shooting.
Traveling Night City
As Night City is large, getting from point A to point B will often require driving. You’ll have access to a ton of cars and motorcycles. Once you pick one, it will serve as your primary vehicle. That vehicle can be called to your destination at any time. This means you won’t constantly have to steal random cars on the street. Instead, once you find a sweet ride, you can access it anywhere. Players can also own multiple apartments, giving them access to more garages to store vehicles, similar to Grand Theft Auto V.
V can have relationships
V will be able to develop romantic relationships with NPCs, both brief and lasting. CD Projekt Red has said that romance options will be on par with those seen in The Witcher 3, only more. In an interview with Game Informer, CD Projekt Red quest designer Patrick Mills said, “There are a lot more options. You know, you’re defining your own character here, which means defining their sexuality any way you want.”
It’s more extensive because you will be building V’s identity and personality, unlike The Witcher 3 which starred the static and well-defined protagonist Geralt of Rivia.
New Game Plus
In an interview with Polish magazine PSX Extreme, CD Projekt Red confirmed that Cyberpunk 2077 will have a New Game Plus mode that unlocks when you finish the story. New Game Plus traditionally means that you keep your abilities and items when you start from the beginning again. It’s also usually more challenging because of that fact. CD Projekt Red didn’t offer details about Cyberpunk 2077‘s version of New Game Plus, but as a choice-based game, the feature will allow you to see different outcomes during your second run and experience new aspects of the story.
CD Projekt Red is known for its single-player games, but there is potential for Cyberpunk 2077 to include multiplayer in the future. Speaking to GameSpot during Gamescom, producer Richard Borzymowski said the team was “exploring multiplayer modes,” but was unwilling to divulge if these modes are likely to appear in the game or are just being workshopped.
Some of The Witcher 3‘s best story content came from its expansions. UI coordinator Alvin Liu told Prima Games that while Cyberpunk 2077 will tell a complete story, its world can hold more stories than just the main campaign. “I know when I was playing The Witcher 3 and I finished everything, I still want to know what everyone was up to. I think we’re going to have opportunities like that as well for Cyberpunk 2077,” Liu said.
In other words, expect paid expansions to release after launch. The Witcher 3 had substantial paid DLC, including the massive and excellent final expansion Blood and Wine.
We also already know that CD Projekt Red is working on a trio of Cyberpunk 2077-related projects.
Cyberpunk 2077 could get multiplayer post-launch
At launch, Cyberpunk 2077 will be a strictly solo experience, much like CD Projekt Red’s Witcher series. However, there’s a chance that multiplayer could be added down the line. In response to a Eurogamer interview question about multiplayer support in 2018, Mills said, “Maybe, no promises. Nothing at launch. At launch, we’re concentrating on the single-player game. That’s what we want to give you.”
It’s unknown what multiplayer could look like in Cyberpunk 2077, but there’s a chance we’ll find out post-launch. Also, maybe not.
Freeze-frame of Cyberpunk 2077… easter egg FAQ hidden behind! oooOOO pic.twitter.com/d3NgFulOIY
— Shannon Plante (@ShannonZKiller) June 10, 2018
Cyberpunk 2077 won’t have any microtransactions, according to CD Projekt Red. Originally revealed as an Easter Egg in an E3 2018 trailer, CD Projekt Red has since cheekily responded to Twitter users about the absence of microtransactions.
If Cyberpunk 2077 does eventually get a multiplayer mode, well, it’d be unorthodox not to have microtransactions. But we’ll see what happens down the line.
Cyberpunk 2077 lore book
CD Projekt Red and Dark Horse Comics have teamed up to produce The World of Cyberpunk 2077, a 200-page illustrated lore book that will give you an inside look at the world of Night City. Releasing on April 21, 2020, five days after the game launches, the hardcover coffee table book can be pre-ordered now for $40.
CD Projekt Red is holding a cosplay competition complete with a $40,000 prize pool. Applicants are tasked with creating a costume of an announced Cyberpunk 2077 character. The deadline to enter the contest is November 30.
Cyberpunk 2077 PC availability
PC customers will have three digital shops to choose from when purchasing Cyberpunk 2077: GOG (CD Projekt Red’s storefront), Steam, and the Epic Games Store. Pre-ordering from GOG will naturally net you the most bonuses, so if you want the most bang for your buck, perhaps go with the developer of the game.
Free Xbox Series X upgrade
Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t launching on Xbox Series X in September, but the game will still be getting an upgrade for the console. Those who buy the Xbox One version will automatically receive an Xbox Series X upgrade when it’s available — at no extra cost. It’s part of Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system, which will be used for all Xbox first-party games, as well.
Release date and special editions
Cyberpunk 2077 launches September 17, 2020, on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It will come in two editions, Standard and Collector’s. The game was originally planned for an April 2020 launch, but was delayed in order to add extra polish and allow for additional testing. The game will also release on Google Stadia.
The Standard edition comes with a bunch of pre-order bonuses. You’ll get an art book, digital soundtrack, a Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook, desktop, and mobile wallpapers, as well as physical postcards, a world compendium, a Night City map, and stickers. If you pre-order the standard edition from GOG, you’ll receive all of that plus print-ready posters, more wallpapers, and a 30% discount on your next GOG purchase.
The Collector’s Edition costs a whopping $250, but it comes with a ton of stuff. Sadly, it sold out almost instantly after pre-orders went live. It’s unclear if more will be made available before launch.
- Collector’s Edition box
- Reversible cover art
- Steelbook case
- 10 inch V statue
- Hardcover artbook
- Metal Pin Set
- Metal keychain
- Annotated copy of the visitor’s guide to Night City
- Embroidered patches
- World Compendium
- Night City map
- Game soundtrack
- Art booklet
- Cyberpunk 2020 Sourcebook
- Desktop and mobile wallpapers
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