Following a long hiatus after the initial teaser trailer, we finally got the chance to see a significant portion of Cyberpunk 2077 in August of 2018. During this in-depth demo, CD Projekt Red showcased various aspects of the game within constraints of a single mission. What had the Polish developer had been up to since the release of the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt?
Presenting a fictional cyberpunk universe with an unprecedented amount of detail, this almost 50-minute long gameplay trailer introduced audiences to multiple pivotal aspects of the game’s mechanics and plot. From character creation and interactions with others – both friend and foe – to environments they inhabit, as well as weapons and abilities any one of them could possess.
Naturally, this presentation of technical and narrative achievements left players eager to try it for themselves. But as hinted at in a more recent trailer (narrated by Witcher Geralt himself), it may yet be a while before the full release. CD Projekt Red have already confirmed their attendance at E3 2019 via Twitter and more exciting details will surface then.
Until that wondrous time comes, we have compiled an extensive list of known details about the game and its mechanics. We highlight interesting segments of the character creation process and detail the classes, weapons and cybernetics known to be featured in the final game. However, much like the game itself, this article is a work-in-progress and subject to change.
With all that in mind, prepare to turn on the neon lights, play some enveloping synthwave music and delve into the augmented world of Cyberpunk 2077.
What Exactly is Cyberpunk 2077?
Simply put, Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person open-world RPG set within a dystopian future. A future where the conventional representation of society has all but collapsed – but there’s a lot more to it than that. Based on and heavily inspired by the tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020 by Mike Pondsmith, it turns ideas of the original vision from 1988 into an elaborate video game world.
This modern version by CD Projekt Red brings together a detailed open-world setting, an intricate plot driven by decision-making, as well as a deep and dynamic progression system. Many of its assets – including classes, abilities, and weapons – are based on ideas from over 30 years ago. And by drawing from multiple decades of the sci-fi sub-genre, Cyberpunk 2077 combines the best characteristics of Blade Runner, Deus Ex and Dredd, to name a few influences.
With the skilled developers behind The Witcher series directing the game’s progress, it may potentially become a new landmark within cyberpunk. If this previous game serves as an indication, then 50 minutes is nowhere near enough to convey the full spectrum of this new project. Nonetheless, it gives us a slight glimpse at how to create a character, improve them, and the effects of this on gameplay.
Creating Your Own V
We know the main protagonist’s name – V – or rather, their cyber moniker. And supposedly, that remains true regardless of the chosen gender. This alias will likely feature during cutscenes, as the bio section of the character creator does include an option for entering a name. Players can additionally alter other parameters of their selected avatar, with appearance, background and initial stats being among some of the options.
Most RPG players are used to choosing a gender and playing around with the created avatar’s looks. If ever there was any speculations on this, picking either a male or female character doesn’t affect the gender of other characters (I.e. V’s partner Jackie will be male regardless). It does affect interactions with other characters in certain instances, like when it comes to sexual relationships; CD Projekt Red have included the ability to indulge in a multitude of romantic pursuits.
To make yourself potentially more attractive to these individuals, options for adjusting the character’s visual appearance include preset facial features, as well as separate choices for body parts like eyes, mouth, and ears. Without complex sliders, this system potentially removes the opportunity to create a truly unique character. But it also streamlines the process, allowing players to get into the game itself much more quickly.
Among the more intriguing options are eye mods and surface wiring, which indicate potentially more visible augmentations. Depending on whether or not you wish to look more like a human or a cyborg, playing around with these parameters will achieve the desired result.
Players can also decide on the background of their new avatar; what significant event brought them to Night City, or who their character admired as a child, for example. It will be particularly interesting to see how these choices might affect the character and their story.
Cyberpunk 2077 features three main classes governed by specific stats: strength; constitution; intelligence; reflexes; tech; and cool. Instead of choosing one and being locked into it, you will have the ability to transition between classes based on which stats you prioritize during the story
Classes and Their Special Abilities
Despite not offering a direct class choice, Cyberpunk 2077 does obliquely feature a number of them. Depending on which stats you decide to develop, your class and abilities dynamically adjust during the course of the game. NPC’s have their own class system, and abilities from some of these may transfer into the player’s repertoire.
Players currently have access to three vastly different classes which focus on various aspects of the game. One might display exceptional combat prowess, while another will turn you into a skilled hacker like Neo from The Matrix.
Speaking of Neo, Netrunner is a hacker class briefly showcased by TBug and one of the Maelstrom gang members during the E3 demo. Due to interactions with the web from a very young age, Netrunners have become highly proficient and tactical hackers. Their knowledge of tech and anything related to computers is second to none. By employing high-grade cybernetic implants, as well as their special ability – Interface — Netrunners possess the capacity to interact with and crack computers of varying complexity. Some areas and systems require an exceptionally skilled Netrunner to access.
Contrary to Netrunners, Solos prefer to engage in direct combat and possess battle-related attributes like speed and strength. Solos rely on extensive military experience or roles as hired guns, and favor firearms as their main tools. Their combat advantage stems from the special ability – Combat Sense- which helps them perceive danger and threats – whether human or environmental – and avoid any harm coming their way. But these awesome abilities don’t come for free; to achieve them, Solos have become almost machines and lost nearly any notion of humanity. As a result, only constant consumption of modern drugs keep them somewhat sane.
Sounds like an apprentice of a Netrunner, doesn’t it? But no, instead of interacting with complex hardware and software, Techies craft, fix, and upgrade various equipment. Whatever needs a quick fix or enhancement – be it weapons or cybernetics – Techies can accomplish the job. They do so by taking advantage of their own special ability: Jury Rig. Techies possess in-depth knowledge of various tech and electronics, and an innate ability of detecting useful components within their surroundings to assist them in these endeavors. Consider them high-tech mechanics of the distant future.
Combat, Firearms and Shooting Mechanics
Unlike The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Cyberpunk 2077 includes an assortment of futuristic and conventional weaponry: handguns; shotguns; rifles; and many more. Each weapon comes from a different manufacturer, often indicating at its quality and firepower. They also have rarities represented by different colors (I.e. common, rare, and epic).
Naturally, switching from third-person sword fighting to first-person shooting is not an easy undertaking for any developer. But companies like Guerrilla Games – with Killzone and Horizon — have accomplished this in the past, albeit in a different way. CD Projekt Red, without a doubt, possesses the necessary talent to achieve this as well.
However, to further assist them in this relatively daunting task, they opted to collaborate with Lukasz Wnek, a former pro Counter Strike player: a game notable for its realistic shooting mechanics and weapon feedback. His involvement and valuable expertise should provide developers with a useful perspective for achieving a satisfying experience when it comes to shooting. This clearly indicates that the Polish studio is intent on perfecting the game’s shooting mechanics – not that we expect anything less from this dedicated team.
Some noteworthy features include muffled noise when shooting underwater, or being able to aim with either hand.
Night City itself also features semi-destructible environments which gradually crumble upon being shot at. Hiding behind concrete walls or pillars will not shield you from damage for long.
As for weapons themselves, they feature various installable and upgradable modules which you eventually acquire. For instance, tech weapons penetrate walls and smart weapons track their targets.
Federated Arms Vindicator (Pistol)
This is one of the first firearms that V acquires in their apartment during the showcase of the Cyberpunk 2077 demo. This deceivingly simple fully-automatic handgun features an elegant design and no doubt comes in handy as a sidearm during shootouts. The gun can be upgraded later on to provide it with a ricochet system; each round will bounce off walls and potentially hit out-of-sight targets.
Budget Arms Blunderbuss (Shotgun)
Another early-game weapon, and the name says it all. This stalwart shotgun shoots through walls, and even blasts enemies behind solid cover. The alternate firing mode on this beauty features an ability to charge up shots, dealing more damage as a result. Square pistons and open wiring across its barrel provide the Blunderbuss with a rugged aesthetic.
Kang Tao Type 41 (Automatic Rifle)
Some weapons just scream “cool” when you look at them; the Kang Tao starts with this and only gets better. With its short barrel and portable design, it vaguely resembles a futuristic version of the Belgian FN P90. Its “smart bullet” technology allows this weapon to track the target, so long as you fire in an approximate direction.
Militech M-31A1 AICW (Rifle)
This elite corporate rifle features the same smart technology as the Kang Tao Type 41, albeit at a lower rate of fire. It looks somewhat like a regular sniper rifle of the early 21st century, but with moving parts across its long barrel. Unlike the previous weapon, the M-31A1 has two firing modes – Auto and Charge. More than likely, the latter implies an ability of charging up shots, much like with the Blunderbuss.
Arasaka Mantis Blades
Not only does Cyberpunk 2077 feature firearms, but melee weapons as well – one of them being the Arasaka Mantis Blades. Showcased during the game’s first teaser, these razor-sharp blades allow V to scale walls and take down enemies with ease. They also add a swank element by neatly retracting into the character’s arms. A poster in Victor’s shop even describes the intricate construction of this deadly weapon.
Cybernetics and Upgrades
In addition to guns and melee weapons, Cyberpunk 2077 features a wide variety of technical enhancements for your character. These range from relatively simple abilities which improve your interaction with the surrounding environments, to combat upgrades which heavily enhance the already impressive skillset of each class.
All this cybernetic awesomeness is provided by the so-called Ripperdocs, with one of them – Victor – introduced to V during the demo. From optical implants and grip enhancements, to full prosthetics, they can either install new cyberware or upgrade existing programs. Some doctors even operate illegally and provide military grade black market merchandise.
To acquire these mods, players must visit the particular vendor and “jack in” into their computer – their store. From there, they can browse and purchase available implants and upgrades, and make payments. After going through the necessary steps, the doctor proceeds with the operation.
Interestingly, these upgrades also cost “humanity,” implying that the character gradually becomes a machine. This likely means that overly present augments may impede or improve interactions with others. Victor also urges V to take a special inhaler, which perhaps helps their body to acclimate to the new parts.
Only two cyberware implants were featured in the demo, but their characteristics are nonetheless impressive. These were portrayed in detail during some of the more intense combat scenes.
Kiroshi Optical Scanner MK.I and MK.II
An invaluable asset during any mission, the Kiroshi Optical Scanner zooms in on and gathers information on objects and people. It displays what type of damage they have taken, as well as their resistances, affiliations and the potential threat level. This is a feature integrated into gameplay logically rather than just being a useful superpower. Its upgraded version, the MK.II, identifies structural weaknesses of machines and vehicles, allowing you to exploit them. This is emphasized during the battle against Royce at the very end of the demo.
One of the two fully-featured cybernetic upgrades shown during the demo, the Subdermal Grip allows characters to wield weapons in ways beyond their current capabilities. It also increases melee damage output, but does impose a 50% damage penalty on firearms. This upgrade covers the palm of the hero with a lightweight and flexible construction resembling conventional carbon fiber. It will likely be among the numerous methods of circumventing access to powerful tools and weapons.
Apartments, Clothing and Street Cred
This is a feature that could easily go underappreciated: apartments. During the visit in Night City, players will acquire and inhabit real estate of various kinds. As showcased during the demo, apartments provide a gorgeous view over the city, allow players to listen to music, check weather, or simply take a break.
Apartments also store valuable equipment, like weapons. The rack shown in one of the rooms likely houses firearms as V gradually collects them. V also picks up a jacket from one of the hangers before embarking on a job. This means it will be possible to store different gear for various assignments. And much like weapons, pieces of apparel have different rarities.
Clothing not only affects your character visually, but physically. Players can alter clothing for different body parts: head, body, pants etc. The various garments can grant resistances to multiple damage types: physical; thermal; EMP; and chemical (as shown in the screenshot). Each piece of clothing also raises “street cred” (a reputation of sorts), which likely affects how other characters perceive V and what missions are available to them
When Does Cyberpunk 2077 Come Out?
Alas, as of now it’s anyone’s guess. Retailers like Amazon have listed the game for a late release in 2019 – December 31st, to be precise. But that’s an odd date to launch such a title and likely a placeholder. Though CD Projekt Red have not verified this either way, a 2019 release is not out of the question.
As stated in the past, their goal is to complete and release the game, along with another unannounced RPG, by 2021. This might be a long wait for the fans, but it also means that Cyberpunk 2077 might be available on next-gen consoles as well – PlayStation 5, and whatever the next Xbox is called.
With E3 2019 being mere months away, we will keep you updated on news pertaining to the game as it develops.