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There’s still a while to wait before we can officially get our hands on Cyberpunk 2077 but, from what we’ve seen and heard so far, it seems like CD Projekt Red’s dystopian RPG will definitely be worth the wait.
Landing on Xbox One, PC, and PS4, Cyberpunk 2077 looks set to be a vast open-world game, draped in dizzying neon colors, and packed with more branching storylines than you could shake a drone at.
In both an extended trailer and in our hands-off demo at E3 2019, we saw a bit more of the metropolis of the future, where body modification has become an obsession, and you’re an outlaw in the sleazy underbelly of the city.
Want the full scoop on Cyberpunk 2077? Here’s all the news, trailers, and announcements we’ve had so far.
[Update: It’s all go in the world of Cyberpunk 2077. Not only will the game be making a grand appearance at Gamescom this month, its release will be followed up by a spin-off card game in 2020. Read on to find out more!]
Cut to the Chase
- What is Cyberpunk 2077? A brand new IP from CD Projekt Red starring Keanu Reeves
- What’s the Cyberpunk 2077 release date? April 16, 2020
- What systems will Cyberpunk 2077 be released on? PS4, Xbox One and PC
- Will it come to next-gen consoles too? We think it’s likely, though there’s no official word so far
- Is it not coming to Switch? Sorry, Nintendo – while the Witcher III is somehow being ported to Switch, it seems unlikely the hardware could cope with what Cyberpunk is promising.
What is Cyberpunk 2077?
Cyberpunk 2077 is a neon cyberpunk game that has The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red moving from a gritty, high fantasy world to an equally gritty, science fiction world metropolis. It’s based off the pen-and-paper RPG of the same name, but plays a hell of a lot like The Matrix game we’ve always wanted.
We caught our first peek at the game behind closed doors at E3 2018 – you can check out what we saw in the 48-minute walkthrough video below (in the trailers section).
Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that looks vastly different from its developer’s The Witcher series, with towering neon skyscrapers, bionic enhancements and a focus on vertical movement rather than wide open plains. It’s also all in first-person.
At E3 2019 we learned a lot more about the plot of the game, which features the one and only Keanu Reeves. Reeves plays a character named Johnny Silverhand who’s embedded in a biochip that’s placed in the main character’s brain.
In order to unlock the secrets to the biochip, what basically becomes the main thread of the game, Silverhand will guide you to Alt Cunningham, the most legendary net runner of all-time. The only problem? She’s dead. But her consciousness lives on the web and you’ll need to do whatever it takes to track her down – including, but not limited to, befriending or eliminating leaders of the biggest gangs in Night City.
Cyberpunk 2077 trailers
E3 2019 gave us the latest, slickest trailer yet, with a look at some new characters, weapon-play, and even Keanu Reeves, who will be playing the rock star Johnny Silverhand. Get your fix in the trailer below.
In March 2019, we got yet another video, this time of the development team gearing up for the E3 2019 showcase event. Those hoping for a 2019 release may want to start to brace themselves however – though the game remains without a release date, the suggestion of the video below is that development is still in full swing, and a release date may be some time away yet:
After a veritable truckload of hype, CD Projekt Red released 48 minutes of gameplay footage, based on the demo journalists saw at E3 2018.
In it, you’ll see what gunplay looks like, character creation and backstory assignment, plus how you’ll upgrade yourself via cybernetic enhancements. You’ll meet some of the characters in Cyberpunk’s seedy crime circuit and explore the city on foot and in vehicles. (Quick warning: the trailer contains nudity, violence and swearing.)
We were treated to a Cyberpunk 2077 trailer during E3 2018 which you can watch below:
Cyberpunk 2077 release date: April 16, 2020
In the game’s first official teaser trailer, it was stated that the game will be coming “when it’s ready,” but now we have an official release date: April 16, 2020, care of the E3 2019 trailer.
This is despite an investor call in early 2016 that suggested that Cyberpunk 2077 would be released before June 2019. It was also said in this call that CD Projekt Red is planning to release two new triple A RPGs before 2021.
It was later clarified in forums that Cyberpunk 2077 would be the first of these games to arrive and work on the second would not start before Cyberpunk 2077 was finished.
Considering The Witcher 3 took around three and a half years to develop, a 2019 release didn’t seem unmanageable for the studio. But the scale of the development, as well as rumors of the game being a cross-gen Xbox Two and PS5 title, it makes sense that the game has taken longer than initially anticipated.
Cyberpunk 2077 news and features
Is multiplayer still on the cards?
Speaking to Eurogamer, CD Projekt RED’s Marthe Jonkers – a senior concept artist for Cyberpunk 2077 – confirmed that multiplayer modes were being developed internally, but that the company had made no firm conclusions about their eventual inclusion in the anticipated title.
“We are doing R&D into multiplayer but we’re focusing on single-player experience, and that’s what you’ll get in 2020,” said Jonkers, not being drawn on whether a multiplayer component could be available at launch, added afterwards, or not included at all.
You can listen to some music GTA-style while cruising about in your vehicle.
Coming to Stadia
Cyberpunk 2077 has now been announced for the Google Stadia streaming service for games.
As we draw closer to Cyberpunk 2077’s release date, CD Projekt Red is taking every opportunity it can to show off the game to the public. The next big show? That’s Gamescom in August 2019. Making more noise than last year, the developer will be doing live demos of the game each day of the show while an offline qualifying round of the Cyberpunk 2077 cosplay competition will be held.
Spin-off card game
Forget Gwent—Cyberpunk 2077 is getting its very own spin-off card game called Afterlife that will launch sometime in 2020. The game is being made in collaboration with board game publisher Cmon, whose listing for the game reads:
“The game thrusts players into the dark alleyways of Night City, where ruthless gangs clash with corporations in an endless war for money, power, and control.
“In Cyberpunk 2077: Afterlife, players become Fixers, the data brokers and masterminds in Night City that recruit cyberpunks, equip them with gear, and send them out on missions. But nothing’s free in Night City. Players need to balance between what they want and what they can actually afford. Using an innovative drafting mechanic and special dashboard, players must decide which cards they want to buy, and which to sacrifice for funds in order to purchase new ones.
Each successful mission raises the player’s Street Cred, with mission survivors becoming Veterans, imparting their knowledge and experience to newer recruits. In this chrome-infused world, Street Cred is the only currency that truly matters.”
Hardcore mode that says goodbye to UI
In an interview with Wccftech, CD Projekt Red’s Alvin Liu discussed hardcore mode, revealing that it will get rid of the game’s UI to provide a “real challenge” for players. That means there’ll be no markers or indicators telling you where things are or what level of enemy you’re going up against. It’s real immersion in Night City and the desert beyond with the potential for real frustration.
Of course, it’s not just the hardcore players that are being catered to in Cyberpunk 2077; Liu revealed that there will also be modes for those who are less experienced with first person games and shooters and wish to enjoy a more laidback experience.
“If you want to play more casually for the story and maybe you’re not experienced with shooters, which was a real big concern for us. We want to tell a story and maybe you’re a big fan of The Witcher and you’re not comfortable playing a shooter, we have settings available for that.”
Liu explains that as well as settings for less experienced players, there will also be weapons. The smart gun, for example, will help players to aim. Though it comes at the cost of the smart gun being a weaker and slower weapon. It will, however, be a good start for those looking to get to grips with the aiming system.
For those unfamiliar with first person games, there’s also going to be a Field of View slider. Making more of the game world visible through the eyes of the avatar should alleviate that sense of tunnel vision that comes from trading third person view for first person and the potential for nausea this can cause some players.
In an interview with Wccftech, UI director Alan Liu revealed Cyberpunk 2077 will feature dynamic weather such as acid rain and other environmental hazards.
Settings available for those uncomfortable with FPS
The game includes a number of difficulty levels for those who may struggle to adjust to playing an RPG in the style of an FPS.
Cyberpunk 2077 will look just as good on console as PC
In an interview with Wccftech, UI director Alan Liu was asked about the challenges of optimizing Cyberpunk 2077 for low-end hardware.
“Actually no, we have a very custom engine, the RED Engine,” Liu responded. “And actually, we’re targeting consoles as first-class platforms and it looks amazing there. So obviously, if you spent, you know, $2,000 building your PC rig, it’s going to look better on that. But the graphics are quite amazing for what you’re going to get from Cyberpunk 2077 on consoles and low-end PCs.”
Could we see a movie adaptation in the future?
In an interview with VGC at E3 2019, Pondsmith admitted that Keanu Reeves’ involvement in the game has made the possibility of a Cyberpunk movie adaption much more likely.
“I can’t really say anything on that,” Pondsmith told VGC in response to whether he is optioning the Cyberpunk movie rights. “But with Keanu Reeves being tied up in things, it’s become much more of a possibility.”
“At this point we are teaching people about this new kind of cyberpunk. My favorite film is Blade Runner, but I recognise inherently that it’s a cerebral film and 2049 was even more cerebral. A cerebral film is not necessarily going to allow other people to enter that space and understand it, but at the same time you don’t want to do it totally action.”
Keanu Reeves’ band gets its first single
If the appearance of Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk 2077 as a rock star wasn’t enough, punk band Refused are creating the music for his in-game band (named Samurai). And if that wasn’t enough, Samurai have released their first single, Chippin’ In – presumably something to do with microchips – so you can start getting a sense of Night City’s soundscapes already.
There may or may not be three games in development
Polish news site Bankier reported that CD Projekt President Adam Kiciński had confirmed the existence of yet another AAA game set in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, likely being the planned follow-up to next year’s game – with a secondary team apparently working on a multiplayer mode too. CD Projekt has refuted the claims, while refusing to be drawn on whether a sequel could appear down the line. To be fair, they’re probably focused on getting the main title out first.
Take your pick of protagonists
Instead of a set lead character like the Witcher, it sounds like we’ll have a few options to choose from. Cyberpunk 2077’s lead quest designer, Paweł Sasko, has commented that “The player in Cyberpunk 2077 can create a custom character that has one of three origin stories, that we call Lifepaths,” each with their own “starting location and story background that are strongly connected with the origin story” (via VG24/7). The three choices are Street Kid, Nomad and Corporate.
There will be romance
Fans of The Witcher 3’s romantic sub-plots will be happy to hear that CD Projekt is bringing something similar to Cyberpunk 2077. In an interview with GamesRadar, the game’s Quest Designer, Mateusz Tomaskiewicz, confirmed that players will be able to have relationships with different “entities”, all of whom will have their own stories, goals and ideas for you to engage with. He stopped short of confirming just how many romance threads players will have the option to pursue and whether or not one of them will be with Keanu Reeves. It seems unlikely, though.
There will be no morality system
Players won’t be constrained by any kind of morality system in Cyberpunk 2077 it has been confirmed by Mateusz Tomaskiewicz in an interview with GamingBolt. Given the complex nature of the decisions players made in The Witcher 3, this decision to favor the grey probably won’t come as much of a surprise. This means that if you want to play through the entire game without killing anyone you absolutely can. Or if you want to be the next Angel of Death you can do that too. You just have to invest in the right in-game skills to do so.
There’s more than Night City
From what we’ve seen so far, the setting of Night City in Cyberpunk 2077 looks like a mighty impressive, expansive and very neon place to explore. But it won’t be the only location in the game to explore. In an interview with VG247, the Lead Quest Designer, Pawel Sasko, revealed that players will be able to go beyond the walls of the metropolis and explore an area known as the “Badlands”. Largely desolate and populated by Nomads, this area will have its own quests. You can even start the game as a Nomad and begin your story outside of the city.
In an interview with CD Projekt, YouTuber Yong Yea got confirmation that Cyberpunk 2077 will have multiple endings. It’s not been confirmed just how many there will be but this ties in with the expansive image of the game that’s being presented and the idea that players are crafting a highly personal story.
New Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay shown at E3 2019, but not playable
At E3 2019 we got the chance to see Cyberpunk 2077 at a behind-closed-door demo centred around Pacifica – the southern-most region of Night City – and Keanu Reeves’ character, Johnny Silverhand. The weirdest part? Keanu may in fact be the key to immortality. Yes, you read that correctly.
Inside Pacifica, two gangs – The Animals and The Voodoo Boys – are fighting for supremacy. In order to meet Bridgitte, the head of the Voodoo Boys, you’ll have to first deal with her lieutenant Placide, who wants you to infiltrate The Animals’ hideout. Your goal, at least you’re told, is to find a high-tech van that’s monitoring all the network traffic in Pacifica.
To get to this van, you’ll have to make your way past The Animals’ crew. The reason they’re called The Animals, it turns out, is because they take a drug that enhances their muscle mass. To get through them you’ll either need to fight your way through – a risky proposition – or sneak your way into the hideout.
Customization: perks, skills and attributes
You’ll customize your character’s look; you’ll customize their backstory; you’ll customize their base skills and you’ll give them perks that make them who they are. If you want a ninja samurai who came from the streets and is skilled in firearms and hand-to-hand combat, you can make that. If you want a net runner super hacker that can take over turrets and jack into enemies, you can make that, too.
The choices are vast, and while they’re not completely limitless, CD Projekt Red doesn’t want to confine you to a single play style or set path.
The reasoning behind that, it seems, is to better mirror the game’s source material – a 30-year-old tabletop role playing game called Cyberpunk (however, there was also a later edition called Cyberpunk 2020).
Behind all of the hacking and gunplay lies a fairly complex RPG – the perks screen we saw during our demo had more than 20 perks to choose from and level up. These perks impact how your character plays, but can also impact what choices you have in conversations with the world’s NPCs.
Vampire Bloodlines and Deus Ex were inspirations for the game
Given it’s based on a tabletop roleplaying game and Cyberpunk is already a massive sub-genre in science fiction, we knew Cyberpunk 2077 hadn’t been totally pulled from the ether without any kind of influence. But we’re always interested to find out about some of the more subtle influences on the game and the way it plays, some of which Quest Director Mateusz Tomaskiewicz has revealed in a recent interview with gaming publication AreaJugones.
Tomaskiewicz said that games such as Deus Ex, Vampire Bloodlines and Elder Scrolls had influenced him in his work on Cyberpunk 2077’s quests. He cites the original Deus Ex as a particular influence and praises the ways in which it gives players the freedom to complete missions in multiple ways. This suggests we can expect a great deal of freedom and complexity and non-linearity in Cyberpunk 2077’s missions as well as in the protagonist you’ll be using to cause havoc in the game world which is something quite different from the tight gameplay-loop found in The Witcher.
CD Projekt Red is working on two AAA titles – both to be released by 2021
CD Projekt Red has confirmed it still plans to release two AAA titles by 2021. While we know one of these titles will definitely be Cyberpunk 2077, we’re still in the dark about what the second title could be.
This release window was reaffirmed on the official CD Projekt Red forums, with moderator Donata Popławska confirming the studio is sticking to its original roadmap.
“As far as the strategy of the CD Projekt Capital Group for 2016-2021 is concerned, its plans to release the second AAA game by 2021 remain unchanged,” the moderator wrote (translated via Resetera user Antiax).
However, Popławska did not expand on what the second AAA title to be released in this time frame could be.
“We are currently focusing on the production and promotion of Cyberpunk, so we do not want to comment on further projects,” they continued.
Lady Gaga could be making an appearance?
According to french site ActuGaming, Lady Gaga and CD Projekt Red are collaborating for Cyberpunk 2077 and the artist has already visited the Polish studio to take part in motion-capture – suggesting she will have a character role in the game itself.
In addition ActuGaming claims the collaboration will be officially announced at E3 2019, with Gaga rumored to be making an appearance at the gaming convention.
Last year Gaga tweeted a strange mix of letters and numbers, which the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account replied to with “Of course! Of course we will!”, suggesting the A Star is Born actress would be involved with the game in some way or another.
E3 2018 confirmed features
We got to spend some time watching a demo of Cyberpunk 2077 during E3 and we learned some interesting things about the game.
It’s a first person RPG set in a huge open world known as Night City – a metropolis split into six districts, each offering a different environment to explore. During the demo we only saw a small part of one of them.
Players can create their own character called V and embark on their journey to crawl up from the criminal underbelly. This is a dark game and though The Witcher series is mature, this takes it to a new level.
As you’d expect, the game lets you augment your body using various bits of tech – illegal or otherwise – and you can use drugs to enhance your combat, or a kind of digital brain-hack called ‘Braindance’. We know weapons are wide ranging and seriously creative, with smart guns and bullets as well as terrifying Mantis Blades for melee.
There are no loading screens in Cyberpunk 2077 and the story and side quests are branching and numerous, and your choices genuinely impact the outcome. You can read more about how impressed were by what we saw.
E3 2018 secret message
CD Projekt RED used the Xbox Showcase to show its latest trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. But it’s more than just a trailer. Spotted by Polygon, there’s a moment in the trailer with hidden text with more information on the game which is revealed when you enhance the image.
In the message CD Projekt first apologises for “staying silent longer than we planned” but following the release of The Witcher 3 Blood and Wine the developer wanted to wait until it had “something meaningful and substantial” to show.
It goes on to say that the vision for Cyberpunk is “an alternative version of the future where America is in pieces, megacorporations control all aspects of civilized life, and gangs rule the rest.” This game will, CD Projekt says, be a “true single player, story-driven RPG” where you’ll be able to create your own character.
At the moment the developer isn’t ready to confirm any kind of release date and asks for more patience. It also says it has “no bloody clue” about how big the game is but does say it’s “seriously big.”
It could be on the next generation of consoles
CD Projekt Red has hinted that Cyberpunk 2077 could be developed for both current and next gen titles. GamingBolt has reported that during a presentation at the Pareto Securities Gaming Seminar 2018 event, the studio’s CFO Piotr Nielubowicz and CEO Adam Kiciński mentioned Cyberpunk 2077 hinted that it may be being developed for future hardware. The slide in question stated the team was developing the title for “current and next-generation technology”.
Given the game’s current timeline, it’s possible it could launch on current systems in April (PS4, Xbox One) and then next-gen systems (PlayStation 5, Xbox Two) later in the year.
It will be on Steam
Good news Steam fans: Cyberpunk 2077 will definitely be coming to the platform. At the Pareto Securities Gaming Seminar (via PCGamesN) the studio’s CEO Adam Kiciński gave a presentation in which he confirmed that the game would not be exclusive to GOG. There’s been a lot of furore over the Metro Exodus being ‘removed’ from Steam and onto the Epic Games Store, but it looks like CD Projekt Red is steering clear of that minefield.
It’s going to be bigger than The Witcher 3
It would have been a pretty safe guess to say that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a big game, but in an interview with MCV in 2015 visual effects artist Jose Teixeira said it’s going to be “far, far bigger” than anything the studio has ever done.
In fact, he said that The Witcher 3 was being treated as a learning experience and that they could do better. To do better, the studio has doubled in size with studio head Adam Badowski saying that after The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 needs to be “even better, even bigger, even more revolutionary” than what had originally been planned.
You’ll be travelling on more advanced tech than boats and horses
So, we know the game map is going to be intimidatingly big. How will we get around it, then? Well, fortunately, moving out of the high fantasy realm gives CD Projekt Red a little more freedom when it comes to creating vehicles.
Don’t expect horses and basic boats here – a job listing for a Senior Vehicle Artist for the studio said they’d be expected to work on “incredibly complex vehicles, planes, bikes, robots and mechanics.“
There may be multiplayer
It was confirmed years ago that the game would have multiplayer elements but what exactly they’ll be is unclear. It was said, though, that the game would mainly focus on single player.
The company president said in March 2018 that these elements are not on the table right now, so it’s possible that they’ll be introduced after the game’s release in a sort of online world like GTA Online.
There will be online
As well as multiplayer, CD Projekt’s CEO has confirmed that there will also be online elements to the game. In an interview with Polish tech site, Strefa Inwestorow Kiciński stated that “Online is necessary, or very recommended if you wish to achieve long-term success. At some point, we have mentioned that there will be a certain online element related to Cyberpunk.”
Whether or not the online elements will feed into the multiplayer is unclear.
But there won’t be microtransactions
The studio also tweeted to quell fears over microtransactions in online components, stating that Cyberpunk 2077 will be “nothing less than” the Witcher 3, adding that players will “get what [they] pay for” with “no hidden catch.”
It appears that while many studios are feeling the need to move to a service model to ensure their titles make money, CD Projekt is staying committed to the story-driven single player experience with Cyberpunk 2077, one which served them very well with The Witcher.