Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction which deals with juxtaposing the ideas of high tech with lowlife. What does the world look like when we have rapid technological advancement with crippling social structure and massive income inequality? When cybernetics and augmentation is the norm, what effects does this have on people who maybe can’t afford healthcare, or afford as high level augmentations as the next man. How does crime change when technology does? Better yet, how do the people that we’ve generally turned our back on in society cope with rapid advancement in technology, That’s what makes the cyberpunk genre so cool and that’s why I’m excited about CD Projekt Red’s next game Cyberpunk 2077.
The trailer was shown off at Microsoft’s E3 conference and what they showed off was very heavily focused on establishing a world. This is no surprise as CD Projekt Red’s previous game was The Witcher 3, a game which pushed boundaries in terms of crafting an open world that felt alive. The Witcher 3 was a special game and it showcased the talent of CD Projekt Red to an extremely wide audience. It put them in a class to compete with the likes of Bethesda and Skyrim in terms of RPG Mechanics and worldbuilding. For example, the sidequest system in Witcher 3 felt organic in both the ways you found quests and the ways the stories within them played out. The characters in the game felt real in terms of the grayness in their morality. This gave a real weight to the choices you made as a player and the sides you took. The world of The Witcher 3 itself was designed in such a way that the environment itself told the game’s story. Trees were sometimes decorated with bodies in order to portray the results of war. Death was scattered throughout the land. Swamps indicate the type of life which exists within the area. The world crafting of The Witcher 3 is masterful. So when you take a studio with the talent of CD Projekt Red and apply it to a completely new genre, you get Cyberpunk 2077.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an open world RPG much like The Witcher 3. In this E3 trailer, we don’t get much information as far as what the main story is or even an antagonist. In this trailer, we are introduced to a world. A world full of technological advancements and a gritty attitude. A city with more people living below the poverty line than anywhere else. Because that’s where the genre shines. It’s a mirror to ourselves in order to show the greatness in our abilities as humans to create, yet the monstrosity in our abilities to be selfish and greedy. Games like Detroit: Become Human and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided show a lot of what the cyberpunk has to offer in the video game space. The movie, Blade Runner 2049, is even one of the best depictions of cyberpunk as it illustrates the complicated morality within the struggle between human and AI in a beautifully portrayed way. A way that captures a stylistically vivid, yet gritty world, which is a quality of cyberpunk.
Following in the footsteps of the aforementioned properties, Cyberpunk 2077 has the ability to capture the essence of the cyberpunk genre in new and interesting ways due to the nature of its development. Due to the pedigree of CD Projekt Red, we can expect a heavy emphasis on a highly explorable world with characters that have personalities, varying moral spectrums, and even cool visual design. We may not get the game soon, but if this trailer is anything to go by, CD Projekt Red is nailing their direction and I can’t wait to see what this game ends up being.