Our last Monday began very early in the morning, because we had to make a special trip from Poznan to Warsaw. It does not sound like a perfect start of the week, but the whole perspective changes with our destination, namely the closed showcase of Cyberpunk 2077 at the headquarters of CD Projekt Red!
In fact, two presentations awaited us there – a 50-minute hands-off gameplay of Cyberpunk, the same as at this year’s E3, and a meeting with the creators of the GOG platform and a beta GOG Galaxy 2.0 introduction – an application combining libraries from various gaming platforms into one (we’ll write about it in a separate post). Unfortunately, we can only share our impressions in words with you, but we will try to describe everything as faithfully as possible. We’ll support our impressions with press materials available at official game website https://www.cyberpunk.net.
A demonstration of the upcoming production of Reds, Cyberpunk 2077, which, like on E3, was entirely conducted in English. One of the team members talked, the other played. Before the show, Radek Adam Grabowski greeted us with a short introduction in Polish. The first thing that surprised us is how quickly the show ended, or rather how short it seemed to us – these 50 minutes passed so fast that we did not even have time to think about the passage of time. And this already shows that the presented gameplay was fully packed with a variety of content, which in turn may indicate that a full game also won’t let us get bored for long hours. But let’s get to some details.
ABOUT PLOT (spoilers ahead!)
Shown gameplay was taking place in the tourist district, which was abandoned by investors in the middle of construction process, and then taken over, developed and modified for various needs (e.g for space with bars, shops or a slaughterhouse) by self-proclaimed tenants (i.e. local gangs). The action happens after the events of the first trailer and Johnny Silverhand (aka Keanu Reeves) accompanies V, appearing only to his eyes in a rather dim, fuzzy form (we are not sure if this is a special plot operation or it’s due the fact that it is “work in progress ” gameplay?) thanks to a special implant/chip, which possession is the main goal throughout the game and which probably is a key to immortality. Our mission is to contact a talented netrunner, a friend of Johnny, who managed to develop a way to copy the consciousness of the person to the network and because of the rather unfortunate events she was imprisoned in it herself. The presentation ended with a fairly large story spoiler, showing how the V, after entering the bathubtub with ice, is transferred to cyberspace iin which there is something like barrier that few managed to overcome and from which no one has come back so far. Probably Silverhand’s friend is hiding behind it. We therefore conclude that the plot of the game will be intriguing and what we saw is probably only the tip of the iceberg in terms of secrets and unexpected plot twists. We definitely want more of such content!
FEW THINGS ABOUT V – create yourself as you wish
Regarding the choice of the character, it is well known that we can play as male or female V , and we can modify the appearance in any way, so get ready for the first 24 hours with Cyberpunk spent on creating the character xD In addition, we have 3 styles: Nomad, Corpo and Street Kid, which define the beginning of our story. Our character will also have a variety of outfits, with different statistics, so everyone will be able to adjust V to their needs and a specific situation (for example, it is wiser to wear a gangster jacket than a beautiful suit wandering through gangster suburbs, although we can check also the risky option). Additionally, we have a very well developed skill tree – there didn’t go into details on that during the presentation, so the only thing we can say is that RPGs fans will be delighted with the magnitude and freedom of character development (there are no predefinied builds here).
JOY FOR RPGs FANS – complex dialogue system and freedom in action
Fans of RPG games and diversified dialogue options will surely like the extensive conversation mechanics with other characters – it is a combination of mechanics presented in Pillars of Eternity and old Fallouts, where some dialog options are available only if you have a certain level of given skill or popularity among a given faction. This gives a great room for maneuver when it comes to solving the mission – it’s hard to say at this moment what are the long-term consequences of solving the matter in the way of A instead of B, but we believe that this choice is not just a nicely presented empty shell.
However, not only dialogue options but also our approach to action can be completely different. The presentation was demonstrated to us by switching between two versions of V (of course, this was only for the purposes of presentation, in the game we don’t have the option to switch to different character builds) – hacker build with somewhat stealth approach, and less subtle athlete who removed all obstacles, both made by surroundings and living oponents, simply by force – with her own hands or with available weapon (she took out an automatic turret and used it to eliminate nearby enemies). Many times Reds also promised that you don’t have to kill anyone through the entire game and in fact, even if you are fighting a boss with a firearms, it doesn’t mean that only killing means winning. The opponent falls after losing the fight and it depends on us whether we kill him or leave him alive. It hasn’t been explained whether this should affect any story or surroundings (eg as in Dishonored – if we were going through the “low chaos” mode without killing people, there were fewer rats carrying the plague in the city).
MULTIDIMENSIONAL NIGHT CITY
Night City is teeming with life and at every step we feel its “vitality”. Residents burn tires, so its smoke for a moment obscures our visibility while driving a motorbike. Some pair of NPCs have a scuffle in front of our path, so we have to go sideways. We have not yet managed to enter the room, but the sounds coming from far away already have told us what is happening inside. These might seem like trifle, but they add nice touch to realism and allow us to blend into the created world. If you were afraid that the cyberpunked metropolis according to the Reds would become a clichéd modern world without the influence of ancient cultures, then you will be positively disappointed. At the presentation, for example, we captured such things as a voodoo gang and their temple (references to New Orleans culture) or various colonial language accretions – it is worth mentioning that all languages are “live translated” to our protagonist on a regular basis – the original text appears first, and the intelligent translator immediately transforms the letters into the main language of the game chosen by us. Plus a well-chosen, natural voiceovers give all the last touch. Of course, we can’t forget about the atmospheric graffiti elements and subtitles made by various groups living in the local suburbs. You can see that this place is only for those who are able to cope with surroundings and pursue their goals with various methods. If the entire Night City will be so culturally diverse, then we will have an incredibly interesting adventure just by sightseeing trip through the city.
GRAPHICS AND MUSIC
Regarding graphics – here we did not experience such visual technological jump as in the case of the Witcher 3 gameplay in 2014, which doesn’t mean that we can say anything bad about graphics in Cyberpunk. The game looks very well, almost like an interactive movie, the characters have great facial expressions and natural movements, and Night City abounds in a variety of details, starting with costumes, interior design, to such things as advertising posters on the walls of buildings (which not only advertise, for example, canned soda, but they also carry political and propaganda content). Noteworthy is the refined and very natural lighting, both indoors and in the open. The ubiquitous glow of neon lights and cybernetic devices illuminating the darker corners of buildings can turn into a beautiful landscape of the sun setting behind unfinished hotels, soiled with dust and the smoke of a neglected neighborhood. The interface itself is very cybernetic, it resembles the Deus Ex mix with the UI system in The Witcher 3 (at least the screen with the character and equipment selection is very similar to the second version of the interface in W3). It is legible, transparent and fits in the climate – everything here is beautifully co-operative with each other.
When it comes to music, we guess there will be a lot to choose from – after getting on a motorcycle, we tune in a radio like in GTA, in which we can freely change the stations. During the ride, we were presented with something similar to the rumbling, hypnotic vibes from Blade Runner, but with the rock notes, while these underground, gangster locations were characterized by more bass electronic music, matching the climate of voodoo gangs. Music is done by famous Marcin Przybyłowicz, but developers also recruited a band called Refused to create some juicy rock sounds.
WHAT ABOUT FOOD?
But the most important question – is there any food in the game? Gameplay didn’t show much in this matter, we saw shops, tiny stalls with street food, vending machines with canned soda, and food advertising on banners. However, one element caught our bigger attention – namely, the slaughterhouse plot and the fact that real meat is a rarity (for some it’s a delicacy, though propaganda wants to convince people that eating it is somehow a very “unclean” practice), and only the synthetic meat is produced on a massive scale. We saw one of the employees of the slaughterhouse preparing meat, and later he reappeared at the shops where he smuggled this illegal commodity. We hope that this and other culinary threads will appear in the game many times and allow us to create at least a few recipes inspired by Cyberpunk 2077.
The show ended with a short speech by the head of the studio, Adam Badowski, and a short presentation about the Center for Interactive Comic and Narration, whose strategic partner is the CD Projekt Red studio. The Center consists of two parts devoted to creating narrative in comic books and video games, and its opening is planned for the turn of 2020 and 2021. Of course Reds didn’t forget about the gifts for the audience, so each of us got a cyberpunk bag and a hat with the word * beep *!
So getting to the final conclusion – will Cyberpunk 2077 be a hit or not? Everything points to the fact that Reds raised the bar very high after a series of games from the Witcher universe. We have no doubts that another great, polished and multidimensional gaming product awaits us. We strongly believe that all promises of developers will be fulfilled and that Poland’s gaming industry will be able to introduce the next global hit on its list, awarded with many titles. We wish it to Reds as well as to each other 🙂 And we are waiting with great anticipation for April 16, 2020!