The Release of Cyberpunk 2077 Is Around the Corner
Believe it or not, but it’s been seven years since the reveal of Cyberpunk 2077 back in January 2013. A brief 2-minute teaser featuring an augmented female character was enough to get everyone excited for possibly the most ambitious cyberpunk-themed game ever.
Since then, the excitement surrounding the game has steadily risen. Following the monumental success of The Witcher 3 in 2015, the hype reached new heights when CD Projekt Red held its first Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay presentation during E3 2018. This time, it was a generous 50-minute gameplay trailer that showcased various gameplay aspects of Cyberpunk 2077, from character classes and their customizations to futuristic weaponry and body augmentations.
Just a year later at E3 2019, Keanu Reeves dropped another bomb by announcing his portrayal of Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077. Every time we think this couldn’t get any better, developers up the ante. At this point, it wouldn’t be surprising if Harrison Ford played a gruff detective with an augmented arm and a severe drinking problem.
The Last Bit of Hype for Cyberpunk 2077
We’ve now officially transitioned into the final phase before the release of Cyberpunk 2077 comes November 19th. As a run-up to the release, CD Projekt Red premiered its Night City Wire series in June. One of its bigger announcements was that of an anime series titled Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. Developed by Studio Trigger, the series is expected to release in 2022 exclusively on Netflix.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners will focus on other characters from the Cyberpunk 2077 universe across ten episodes. Its soundtrack will be composed by Akira Yamaoka, known for his work on the Silent Hill series. And who’s better to write music for cyberpunk than someone named Akira?
Night City Wire will showcase more over the coming months with additional commentary from the developers. But by and large, we already know what to expect from Cyberpunk 2077. Alongside evenly scheduled gameplay presentations, the developer has been ramping up the game’s launch with themed Cyberpunk 2077 merchandise. As is customary, it ranges from the usual t-shirts and mugs to figurines, limited edition consoles, and some more unusual items.
For instance, CD Projekt Red launched a Limited Edition Xbox One X in collaboration with Microsoft early in 2020. And there’s also a 192-page hardcover compendium available on Amazon titled The World of Cyberpunk 2077 that includes in-depth information about the game’s universe and lore. Of course, big-budget releases tend to get their own limited edition of a particular console, but how many games get their own Limited Edition graphics card or chair?
Will CD Projekt Red Deliver?
CD Projekt Red has evidently planned a cyberpunk universe that spans multiple mediums long before the general public has played the game. But with this much buildup before the game’s release, can Cyberpunk 2077 live up to the high expectations? Based on the numerous gameplay presentations that we’ve seen, most likely. After all, it’s CD Projekt Red we’re talking about here.
However, some users across the web have pointed out that The Witcher is their only series. Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in a completely different setting presented from a different first-person perspective. Transitioning from the development of a third-person medieval RPG into a first-person open-world RPG with shooter mechanics is a challenge in and of itself. It’s kind of like writing your first sci-fi action novel when all you wrote before was political romance. And thematics alone aren’t taking into consideration every intricacy of Cyberpunk 2077.
Its story promises dynamic character arcs, quest conclusions, and six detailed districts alongside numerous weapons with augmentations and customization options for each. It’s hard to even keep track of how much content Cyberpunk 2077 has. Try to wrap your head around all of these mechanics and you’ll quickly realize that it isn’t your typical annual release. It raises a question of whether or not the game can deliver upon all of these mechanics in equal measure.
Thanks to the involvement of Counter-Strike players, we already know that shooting is nailed down. But will hand-to-hand combat feel just as responsive? And what about driving? Will all six districts be densely populated with activities and characters to interact with? How soon will characters repeat the same phrases once their no doubt extensive dialogue options have been exhausted? A misstep or a cut corner in any of these aspects can take points away from the overall experience, all the more so because of all the hype surrounding the game’s release.
And finally, there’s the persistent idea of actions and consequences–an idea that The Witcher 3 explored to some degree, often making you choose the lesser evil. But if the Deep Dive presentation is anything to go by, then pretty much every action, interaction, and questline will yield a set of potential conclusions. Many games have touted the significance of in-game choices before, but very few have delivered upon that promise in any meaningful way.
Will Cyberpunk 2077 Be the Game of the Year?
Cyberpunk 2077 has raised the bar when it comes to expectations, and there’s little doubt that it will deliver upon many of them. But could it deliver upon all of them? Released in 2016, Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky is a recent example of hype setting unrealistic expectations. Developers were evidently enthused by their project, but ultimately unable to deliver on many promises.
Due to lack of experience in certain development areas, budget constraints, and pure technological limitations, many of the proposed ideas were simply not feasible at the time. It took years for No Man’s Sky to eventually become a solid experience, albeit still far from what was promised. Of course, it’s not entirely fair to compare Hello Games to CD Projekt Red, as both studios have vastly different track-records, experiences, and budgets.
However, it does help to keep an open mind. In the words of Mass Effect 2’s Garrus Vakarian: “I like to expect the worst. There’s a small chance I’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
But what do you think? Can Cyberpunk 2077 realize its potential to the full extent?
After several delays, Cyberpunk 2077 looks set for a November 19 release ,which also possibly coincides with the release of next-gen consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. CD Projekt Red has also confirmed that players who purchase the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of the game will receive the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X version free of charge.
Whether or not Cyberpunk 2077 will become the game of the year (it probably will) doesn’t really matter. At the very least, it’s going to be an excellent cyberpunk RPG to sink hundreds of hours into.