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Cyberpunk 2077: release date, gameplay, trailer and more

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Cyberpunk 2077 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting games of 2020, blending a gritty sci-fi open-world with first-person action/RPG mechanics, and a deep, choice-heavy story. Having gained critical acclaim with The Witcher 3, Polish developer CD Projekt Red looks to take what made that game engaging in terms of quests and story options, and mix it with gameplay in which the player can choose to be a hulking gun-toting tank, or a stealthy, conflict-avoiding hacker, or anything in between. 

From its announcement way back in May 2012, Cyberpunk 2077 has come a long way. And in new ‘Night City Wire’ showcase, the game is looking rather polished and appears to be absolutely crammed with things to do, explore, shoot and dissect. 

Cyberpunk 2077 release date 

Cyberpunk 2077 has once again been delayed, and will now launch on November 19. It was originally scheduled for an April 16 release, which then got pushed back to September 17, and has now been delayed by another two months. 

But that’s a good thing, as it means CD Projekt Red will have a little more time to really polish up the game and ensure that it’s as bug-free as possible when it launches, likely just ahead of Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X consoles. 

"The quests, the cutscenes, the skill and items; all the adventures Night City has to offer—it's all there," CD Projekt Red explained in a tweet detailing the delay. "But with such an abundance of content and complex systems interweaving with each other, we need to properly go through everything, balance game mechanics and fix a lot of bugs. A huge world means a huge number of things to iron out and we will spend the additional time doing exactly that." 

Cyberpunk 2077 is slated to hit PC, PS4, Xbox One and Google Stadia, and cost $60 on each platform, unless you go for the ultra-fancy collector's edition. That one costs $250, and includes a whole bunch of knickknacks: a collectible statue, an art book, a soundtrack, a "visitor's guide" to Night City and a whole bunch of other various and sundry stickers, pins and postcards. 

 Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay 

Those who have played the latter Fallout games and similar titles should have a pretty good idea of how Cyberpunk 2077 will work. You play as V: a mercenary in the dystopian Night City, who starts off the game by running small-time missions for various criminals and semi-legal operations. Where the story goes from there depends very much on your choices, as it's (probably) not possible to keep every single faction in Night City happy.

Because you can create V from scratch, you can also customize the way you'll tackle the game's challenges. You can pump points into ranged weapons and simply play the game like an extremely long first-person shooter, but you don't have to. You can wield melee weapons, talk your way out of problems or hack electronic systems to do your bidding. Many quests will offer multiple resolutions, depending on both your skills and the type of character you want V to become.

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

While Cyberpunk 2077 looks like a pretty deep game, the central gameplay conceit is pretty simple: Build a character. Specialize in the skills that interest you. Use those skills to solve a variety of plot and side missions. Gain experience and money to improve your skills and gear. Shape the narrative with certain big (and small) choices as you go. If you've played CD Projekt Red's Witcher series, the basic concept should be familiar; just swap out a fantasy world for a cyberpunk one.

That’s the basic premise. But the new Night City Wire has given us a deeper look at Cyberpunk 2077.

For a start, there are three prologue stories that allow you to set up V in different ways, and details how they meet their partner, Jackie.

The first background is the "corpo" character, in which V is a corporate counterintelligence operative working for a boss who wants them to take down another corporate boss. Unfortunately, things go wrong and V’s life gets turned upside down with no medical care, insurance or other corporate perks, effectively leaving V on the street.

Street Kid focuses on a V who’s a native in Night City and has a suite of contacts in the city. The story starts with V helping out a bartender to clear a debt with a "fixer." That escalates to V needing to steal a sports car where they then encounter Jackie.

The "nomad" prologue sees V abandoned a clan that lives in the badlands around Night City, in a Mad Max-like environment. They then smuggle something into Night City, Unsurprisingly, it goes wrong, and the thing V needs to smuggle happens to be Jackie.

All these prologues lead to the main story, but will have an influence on the overall plot. You’ll also have a lot of customization options to further shape your take on V.

We also got a better look at driving in Cyberpunk 2077, which will be the main way to navigate the large open world’s six city districts and the outer badlands. The driving looks a lot more responsive and less floaty than it appeared to be in previous game footage; it now seems a lot closer to GTA V’s driving, which is a good thing. 

A new game mechanic was also shown off in the form of ‘Brain Dance’. This involves using cyberspace to effectively recreate and explore someone’s memories that have been sucked up through sensors in cybernetics. 

Using Brain Dance you can see someone’s memories from a first-person view and then look at it from a third-person perspective as if you’re watching through a security camera. From there you can fast-forward or rewind the events of a memory and scan various sensor layers, such as checking out sounds. 

While Brian Dance tech is used for entertainment and pornographic content in the Cyberpunk world, in this case V uses it to figure out the events of a crime. You can think of its a bit Like The Witcher 3’s witcher sense mode used to spot where monsters have been or detect things that aren’t obvious to the player’s eye, such as perfume scent trials. Only Brain Dance is a lot deeper and looks almost like it could be a game in its own right. 

Cyberpunk 2077 trailer 

Cyberpunk 2077 has been in development for a long time, and there are a number of trailers available, with varying levels of story and gameplay details. One of the best ones to watch is the E3 2019 Cinematic Trailer, which CD Projekt Red debuted on June 9, 2019: 

(Yes, this is the one with Keanu Reeves. Enjoy.) 

The rest of the trailers and behind-the-scenes videos can get pretty granular, depending on whether you're interested in story, gameplay, music or promotional events. So if you want to watch more, I'd recommend that you simply check out the official Cyberpunk 2077 YouTube channel.

Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire

Since E3 2020 won't be happening, developers are seeking alternative methods of sharing information about upcoming games with fans. CD Projekt Red has created the Night City Wire: a live stream that should give us another substantial dose of information about Cyberpunk 2077.

The first one took place on June 25 and gave us a new look into Cyberpunk 2077, including new clips of game footage (see below) and a bigger look into the world surrounding the metropolis of Night City. However, more Night City Wire streams are set to come, though CD Projekt Red hasn’t confirmed when the next one will be. 

How to play Cyberpunk 2077 now (sort of) 

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

For those who aren't up on the tabletop role-playing game scene, CD Projekt Red did not spin Cyberpunk 2077 out of whole cloth. Instead, the video game is based on Cyberpunk 2020: a pencil-and-paper RPG first released in 1990, and still in print today. If you've ever played Shadowrun, it's a bit like that, except a bit grittier and more down-to-earth, as there's no magic or nonhuman playable races.

If you're of a tabletop mindset (and really, if you like sprawling, nonlinear, choice-and-consequence video games, you very well may be), you can pick up Cyberpunk 2020 in hard copy at R. Talsorian Games, or in PDF form at DriveThruRPG. While the tabletop game doesn't mirror the video game exactly (the latter is set 57 years later, for one thing), you'll at least get a general sense of the world, the skills and the tone of the game.

Better yet, when November 19 has come and gone, you'll be able to continue your Cyberpunk adventure beyond the digital screen.