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’ showcases, the game is looking rather polished and appears to be absolutely crammed with things to do, explore, shoot and dissect.
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Cyberpunk 2077 release date
We were getting ready for Cyberpunk 2077 to launch on November 19, but we’ve got longer to wait as CD Projekt Red has delayed the game again. It will now launch on December 10.
The reason for this is the developers want to get the game ready for a lunch across multiple platforms and console generation. It will now span the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Google Stadia; that’s a lot of platform to create some synergy across.
Originally, Cyberpunk 2077 was schedule for an April release but that got pushed back to September, then November and now December.
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.
"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."
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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.
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 PS5 and Xbox Series X
One of the questions that's been bubbling around is how Cyberpunk 2077 will run on the PS5 and Xbox Series X. It turns out it does so rather nicely.
On the Xbox One X, Cyberpunk 2077 seems to be running the game rather well, roughly at 30 frames per second to our eyes, though it's difficult to tell on YouTube. And the game looks very nice too, with plenty of graphical detail.
But on the Xbox Series X there's more detail and a what appears to be some form of ray tracing, making the game look more realistic and detailed. It also appeared to run rather smoothly.
The same is true of the PS4 Pro and PS5 trailer. On the former the Cyberpunk 2077 looks decent but potentially runs a little slow than the on the Xbox One X. But the game used different footage to the Xbox trailers, so this is purely subjective on our part.
On the PS5 everything looks shiner, smoother and more detailed, with what also seems like some ray tracing in action. We couldn't tell you if Cyberpunk 2077 looks better on the PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Both the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions of Cyberpunk 2077 will get an upgrade patch in 2021, so we're not sure if we're seeing footage with the upgrade in place or before. Either way, it looks like the place to play Cyberpunk 2077 will be on the next-generation consoles; unless you have a powerful PC....
Cyberpunk 2077 PC specs
The Cyberpunk 2077 official Twitter account recently tweeted an image of the system requirements for the game running on PC.
The minimum and recommended specs for the game running without ray tracing are fairly reasonable.
But to get the full ray-traced experience, you'll need to have a PC with a GeForce RTX graphics card. And high and ultra settings will require an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3080 respectively.
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Cyberpunk 2077 weapons
A recent Night City Wire gave a deeper look into the weapons you can expect to buy, acquire, or loot in the Cyberpunk 2077. These weapons are broken down into a suite of categories.
The first is the rather straightforward power weapons, effectively machine guns and assault weapons that pack a punch and can bounce projectiles off surfaces. Tech weapons use electric propulsion to enable projectiles to punch through surfaces and walls, as well as cause horrific damage on enemies; think double-barreled shotguns with a twist.
Smart weapons are the thinking person’s armament of choice as they fire projectiles with target-tracking tech such as a machine gun that fires homing bullets or a six-barreled shotgun that can target multiple enemies at once. Then there’s the melee weapons the Thermal Katana, essentially a sword with a heated blade. And cyberware, which offers modifications to V’s arms that allow them to hold hidden blades or fire projectiles.
And all these weapons are set to have upgrades, from scopes and silencers to software modifications that improve accuracy and fire rates, as well as load weapons with non-lethal rounds for people who don’t like gunning down enemies.
Cyberpunk 2077 cars
While you may have seen a bit of driving in other Cyberpunk 2077 trailers, the fourth episode of the Night City Wire has revealed there’ll be a lot more cars to choose from.
These will range from nippy sports cars to brutal trucks and high-end luxury cars that look like a mix between hypercars and armoured sci-fi machines. For those who like machines of a two-wheeled variety, then motorbikes will be on offer as well.
And these cars aren't just different on the outside, they also handle differently. There’s a whiff of GTA V around the cars of Cyberpunk 2077, albeit with a futuristic look; especially as there'll be street racing in the game.
Massive Cyberpunk 2077 spoilers. pic.twitter.com/iw5Ft8hpVGOctober 26, 2020
Furthermore, there’s a custom 1977 Porsche 911, which takes the iconic German sports car and adds in some modern tweaks. The car in question belongs to Johnny Silverhand, a key character in Cyberpunk 2077.
As such, it looks like driving will be a big feature of Cyberpunk 2077, with transport having come a long way from the Geralt's hose Roach in The Witcher 3.
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.
In another City Wire, CD Projekt Red detailed more about the three backstories you can choose for your main character V. As mentioned earlier, they cover the Corpo, Street Kid, and Nomad backgrounds.
But what was particularly interesting is all three background affect how the world of CyberPunk 2077 reacts to the player outside of the trio of prologues at the start of the game. For example, when offered drugs, the Street Kid will have a greater insight into them and the gang offering the narcotics than say a Nomad. Whereas a Corpo might not have street-smarts, they will be better suited for making use of business contacts and know-how, while a Nomad will be more at home in the dangerous desert-like Badlands outside of the city.
These origin stories effectively offer different conversation options and ways to approach different missions. That promises to make the game even deeper than it first appears. And while different origins start in different places in the game world, you can still explore all parts of it but with different experiences depending on the V’s background.
The new episode also detailed the making of the music for the Cyberpunk 2077's in-game band Samurai, lead by Johnny Silverhand - played by Keanu Reeves - that involved CD project Red working with Swedish hardcore punk band Refused. We're expecting another Night City Wire before Cyberpunk 2077 arrives in November, but we're not sure when it's scheduled for.
The third Night City Wire gave some more detail into the districts and gangs of Night City itself and the surrounding Badlands. And the fourth episode covered the cars of Cyberpunk 2077, as mentioned above, as well as the fashions and clothing in the game.
The fifth and final episode of Night City Wire detailed how Keanu Reeves breathed life into 'rocker' character Johnny Silverhand and took a look into the game's score and soundtrack. It then detailed the JALI tech that shows how facial animation can be carried out automatically for different languages in the game.
And the trailer at an end showed another snapshot of what we can expect from Cyberpunk 2077.
How to play Cyberpunk 2077 now (sort of)
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.