CD Projekt Red recently invited members of the media to an exclusive presentation to showcase – for the first time – a work in progress (WIP) build of the highly anticipated cybernetic action game, Cyberpunk 2077. The game is slated for release on April 16th, 2020 which was confirmed at Xbox’s E3 2019 Briefing by Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, John Wick) who made a surprise appearance during the show after a cinematic trailer revealed that the actor also appears as a character in the game – Johnny Silverhand. And after spending some time with the development team, I can confirm that Cyberpunk 2077 is more than just “Keanu Reeves: The Video Game”; although, I would pre-order that game in a heartbeat.
Described as an Open World, Action RPG, the game transports players to Night City, a large metropolitan area with diverse characters, a robust skill tree system, and plenty of customization to help create your own personal character and story. Players take control of V, a cybernetic mercenary with implants that can be customized and upgraded to suit any particular play style. With no distinct class system, players are free to choose how they want to progress their story and character based on the skill tree that they invest in – want to be a Brawling Assassin? Master of Stealth? Go for it – the choice is yours.
The character creation is very thorough, with options to change everything from Hair Style, Eyes, Nose, Beard, and Skin Tone; among other things. There are also three different backstories to choose from that will influence how characters will perceive you in the game as well as which dialogue options are available when speaking/interacting with them. For instance, if your V has ties to the corporate world, outlaws and street thugs won’t take kindly to your presence; confrontation is almost certain. It very much reminded me of how other games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins incorporated these elements into the story, which made for a unique playthrough experience for the player.
Our gameplay preview took place in an area called Pacifica, around the middle of the game. Once envisioned as a major hub for tourism, the area has since been abandoned due to economic uncertainty and now belongs to the lawless; unfinished and rundown. Although unclear at this point, V needs the help of a hacking group called ‘The Voodoo Boys’ and seeks out Placid, known as ‘The Butcher’ to help get in touch with them. Before agreeing to help, Placid attempts to connect his computer to V’s arm – referred to as Jacking In; think of it like hacking a human and being able to see and hear everything that they do. It’s also very controversial in this world because, in some cases, it could mean losing your free will and could result in your immediate death should the hacker choose to do so.
In a quick reaction, you can either choose to let him do it or you can quickly pull your arm away, which could create trust issues and problems down the road. But, as Placid is the only one that can help you on your mission, the choice is clear – you need him. After progressing a little further through the story, V approaches a warehouse were the target is located and has the option to go through the front entrance (heavily guarded) or through the back, and use stealth to take out the guards. Your implants and skill sets can also be used to assist V in taking out enemies like hacking machines and security cameras to go unnoticed, incapacitate, or even kill them – it is possible to complete the game without killing anyone.
And although it is unclear as to how large Night City is exactly, the development team enthusiastically stated that there are absolutely no loading screens when exploring on foot or by vehicle. There is so much to see and do in Cyberpunk 2077 that you’ll have so much fun getting lost in the lore of this universe.
The game isn’t set to release for another 10 months but it’s already started pre-orders and Collector Editions are selling out fast. I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing a lot of great things from this game in the future – possible ‘Game of the Year’ contender for sure.
You can find Chris on Twitter @cmzaiser for plenty of additional updates right from the E3 2019 show floor!