“When we start down the road to creating something, we know the destination and we’re sure of one thing: Even if something feels impossible, it doesn’t mean it is. And, as it turns out, most often things are perfectly possible, they just require a lot of faith, commitment, and spirit.”
– CD Projekt Red’s cofounder Marcin Iwinski & studio head Adam Badowski
Cyberpunk 2077 is a story-driven, open world role-playing video game developed by CD Projekt RED, the Polish studio behind the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and published by CD Projekt. Announced on May 31, 2012, it was teased in a trailer released in 2013 showcasing a woman in the midst of a firefight with armored police officers. It was also alluded to by Witcher 3 character Cirilla, the long-lost stepdaughter of Geralt, when she recounted the time she passed through a mysterious world where “people had metal in their heads” and “waged war from a distance.”
Update: On January 10, 2018, which is the five year anniversary of Cyberpunk’s original teaser trailer, the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account made a post that simply read,
This signified that CD Projekt is gearing up to begin marketing the game. We should expect to see either a new trailer or full-fledged gameplay demonstration at this year’s E3.
Slated for release sometime between 2019 and 2021, we know very little about the upcoming new IP, with CD Projekt reticent to reveal concrete information before commencing an official marketing campaign. What we do know is that the game is a sequel to Mike Pondsmith’s original tabletop game, Cyberpunk 2020, and that it is set in a futuristic, cyberpunk-esque metropolis known as Night City. There, players must learn to communicate with its non-English speaking inhabitants via special brain implants while navigating the city’s crime-ridden streets. It can also be experienced from either a first or third person perspective, and is said to include a seamless multiplayer component.
Although development on the title kicked into high gear following the release of Witcher 3’s second and final expansion pack Blood & Wine in spring 2016, CD Projekt had come under heavy scrutiny in summer 2017 due to complaints from disgruntled former employees of miscommunications between the programming staff and upper-level management, borderline abusive and punishing crunch times, and excruciatingly lengthy work hours that left them almost no time to spend with friends and family. CD Projekt has since responded to these complaints by ascertaining that people leave the studio all the time, and that they wish them the best of luck in their future pursuits. They further explained that not everyone is cut out to work at the studio, but that they believe “reinventing the wheel” is what “makes a better game” (Chalk, 2017).
Based upon the reported shakeups in management and stressful working conditions at CD Projekt, you might be inclined to lower your expectations of Cyberpunk 2077 to circumvent the same disappointment you felt when games like vanilla Destiny, No Man’s Sky, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Halo the Master Chief Collection, and of course Mass Effect Andromeda launched either broken or unfinished. I would say that if the wealth and depth of content that shipped with Witcher 3 is anything to go by, and if the level of quality of Cyberpunk 2077 is anywhere near, at, or above that of Witcher 3, we could be treated to an unequivocal masterpiece in another year or two.
Think of the possibilities this game could have in store for us: a large and explorable “high tech, low life” city akin to 2019 Los Angeles seen in Blade Runner, character development emphasizing the implementation of cybernetic enhancements that provide new and fresh ways to play the game, a variety of guns that look, sound, and feel good to use, and most of all a grandiose and ambitious story campaign with multiple branching paths to take, roles to play, choices to make, and characters to meet.
It’s true that, like many things in life, hype is dangerous when taken to the extreme. As one Reddit user put it on a post I made explaining why I’m finding it difficult to temper my expectations of Cyberpunk 2077, “The only thing we know about this game 5 years after its announcement is the genre and the setting. This leads fans dreaming up their perfect game and projecting that into expectations for CP 2077. When the feature complete product is revealed, it will inevitably fail to please everyone.” And while I do concede that the game I have envisioned in my mind may never hit the shelves after Cyberpunk goes gold, I never get hyped for games made by developers whom I have little faith in. With The Witcher 3, CD Projekt demonstrated that they put an absurd (and almost an unnatural) amount of time, energy, love, and passion into their games. Moreover—and more importantly—they care about their customers and, unlike Bungie and Activison or DICE and EA, prioritize their personhood over their wallets.
I’m prepared to eat my words if Cyberpunk flops, but assuming that it doesn’t, I’m sorry, but it just might be my most hyped, most played, and highest regarded game ever.
Chalk, A. (2017, October 16). CD Projekt Red responds to employee complaints, says its approach ‘is not for everyone’. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from http://www.pcgamer.com/cd-projekt-red-responds-to-employee-complaints-says-its-approach-is-not-for-everyone/