CD Projekt RED has apparently benefited quite a bit from its excellent and well-received Witcher role-playing series. The developer currently has two teams working on two major role-playing games. One of those projects is Cyberpunk 2077, an open world role-playing game based on pen and paper game of nearly the same name.
Though the footage below does not contain actual gameplay, CD Projekt RED considers the video to be a target render. The team wants Cyberpunk to look like this when it’s ready. Whether that’s achievable remains to be seen, but considering the incredible visuals of The Witcher 2 and the fact that, at least according to a block of hidden text in the trailer, Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t likely to be ready until at least 2015, there’s a lot of time for CD Projekt RED to get everything right.
The trailer is short but communicates quite a bit about the game world. The woman featured within it is not a robot, but a heavily augmented human. In the world of Cyberpunk many modify themselves with artificial elements, often in pursuit of some ideal beauty. The catch is that with every modification the potential to go crazy rises as artificial elements of the body clash with the organic. Sometimes those psychotic breaks can result in the kind of violence you see in the trailer. In Cyberpunk 2077’s setting of Night City special MAX-TAC agents, also known as Psycho Squad, are deployed to fight against those who lose control.
While it’s not clear exactly how artificial modification will fit into the gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED managing director Adam Badowski provided some insight into how commonplace body modification is in Night City.
“In 2077 as we imagine it, technology will be so advanced that implants will fit in the tip of a needle, making modification easy. The decision to change will therefore be largely aesthetic and ostensibly harmless. Realskin synthetic skin looks real but is better than real. It’s soft, it has pores that subtly release sweat, but it is so much more. It’s amazing, those who adopt it look like pumped, modified dolls, because they are perfect, or some version of it. When people choose modification, they’re making a statement, they’re expressing a preference.”
“When somebody walks around with a chrome hand, it’s not because there’s some underlying technology that makes their hand look like that. It’s because they think chrome hands look cool. When somebody has a leg with servomotors, it’s because they choose to look extreme (like the best new carbon fiber bike). And their choice is completely based on style, it extends and enriches their style. You’ll get access to a rich arsenal of firearms, but if you want to have blades because they look cool, go for it. All these elements will make it into Cyberpunk 2077. 'Style Over Substance' is our core theme, after all.”
When you start the game you’ll create a character from the ground up and then experience Night City as a totally open world setting. CD Projekt RED seems committed to providing as few obstacles to exploring the setting as possible.
“Both the city and game world will be vast,” said Badowski. “We don’t want to make a game where, for instance, you close off a street because a quest needs to play out there. Ours will be an open world, you’ll feel the vastness of what surrounds you, you’ll feel that you’re there and you can go forth and explore. That’s the feeling I had when playing GTA or even older games like Nomad Soul. I’m sure I wasn’t alone. Personally, I dislike playing through a mission, turning left and not seeing a thing, or worse, seeing some car blocking my way. That’s done for game purposes, but we want to find another way for Cyberpunk 2077.”
The city is being designed so it doesn’t look like a purely futuristic metropolis. Older elements of buildings will be mixed in with more modern structures to make it look like the city was built in layers to create a more realistic, Blade Runner-esque style. Badowski commented, “It’s important to show that the city was not built in a day.”
There’s also a significant amount of detail built into the weapons used in the trailer, which CD Projekt RED credits to some degree to one of its concept artists who’s obsessed with guns. Pen and paper Cyberpunk fans may recognize the Militech Crusher, though also note that its form has changed. According to CD Projekt RED, this is part of a natural progression of weapon use over time.
“This reflects an actual trend in firearms development,” said Badowski. “The Colt 1911 was designed and introduced in 1911, but it’s still used as the standard issue weapon by many military formations around the world. Of course, it has been modified, it’s made of superior materials, but the basic design, the mechanics, are the same as they were a century ago. Why wouldn’t there be a Militech Crusher in 2077? Of course, it would be more powerful, made of superior materials, have an improved targeting system, etc., but carrying one would also be a stylistic statement, not unlike Ocelot wielding a Colt Model 1873 in MGS. Make no mistake, we’ll also have energy-based weapons and other treats most often associated with the Japanese cyberpunk style, but we won’t forget the fundamentals.”
The trailer ends with the message that Cyberpunk 2077 will be released “when it’s ready,” but in the hidden text a tease that on February 5, 2013 CD Projekt RED will start talking about its other role-playing game, which “is much closer to being completed” and “will also be a fully open world game with an intense story. You can probably guess the game we’re talking about.”
That seems to indicate it’s another Witcher title, though perhaps not. It seems we’ll soon know for sure.