Futuristic, violent, and explicit in every way possible, Cyberpunk 2077 is the next project for CD Projekt RED, creators of The Witcher games. We visited them on the very last day of Gamescom 2018 to watch the gameplay demo, just a few days before it hit the streets.
After watching the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo again a few times, analyzing every second of it and generally getting all excited, we came up with a few interesting insights.
Here are 6 things the gameplay demo teaches us about Cyberpunk 2077.
Your Choices Have Consequences
Just like you would expect from any good role-playing game, and especially one from the creators of The Witcher, Cyberpunk 2077 will have decision trees that affect the outcome of your missions. The Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay video shows quite a lot of them, so let’s break it down.
While you have a few choices in the rescue mission that starts off the demo, it becomes even more interesting when, on the way to your second mission, a group of scavengers attacks your car. These are the same scavengers who you fought with during the first mission, and hold a grudge.
This encounter only happened because the player chose to take the rescue mission. If they didn’t, the scavengers wouldn’t have had a reason to go after them. The developers explain that these interactions will occur often and that some quests will affect later missions.
There are also branching decisions during the missions. We can see that clearly in the Going Pro mission, where the player needs to acquire some stolen military tech. There are several ways to approach the mission: you can either purchase the tech, go in guns blazing and take it by force, or strike a deal with Militech, the corporation the tech belonged to in the first place. The paths keep branching even after getting inside the thieves’ hideout: do you use the tempered chip the corp gave you, or do you rat them out to score some points with the gang?
When you make these choices, you will engage in conversations that involve multiple participants. Cyberpunk 2077 handles this by blending dialogue and actions together in what the devs call an “action-oriented dialogue tree.” In the demo, this occurs when the player has a choice whether to speak directly to the corporate agent or steal the gun from her bodyguard.
In the gameplay demo, the player chooses to go ahead with the transaction. The virus on the chip activates, the whole hideout goes into lockdown, and you have to shoot your way out. But what would have happened if we had chosen to rat out the corp?
At Gamescom, we got to see what happens when you do just that.
The gang boss picks up the dirty chip and hands it over to one of his lackeys, who gets his head fried while testing it. They give us the robot and send us on our way, but Jackie hints that he wants to teach them a lesson, pointing to a concealed grenade. If the player chooses to go with Jackie’s plan, he detonates the explosive, and together they assault the gang.
Craft Your Cybernetic Punk
Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG through and through, and as such, players can customize their character’s looks, abilities, implants, and even personal story. From the very first steps of character creation, we get to choose three major aspects of our character’s life: their childhood hero, a key life event and the reason why they are living in Night City.
These choices will affect the story, but are also key to creating a relatable character.
In addition to a backstory, we get to choose our attributes: Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, Reflexes, Tech, and Cool. These attributes resemble the ones from the original Cyberpunk 2020 role-playing game, but also parallel the attributes of Dungeons & Dragons.
Aside from the attributes, our character will also have skills, and we have already seen two of these in action – Hacking and Engineering. Hacking will allow you to break into secure terminals to open doors or disable alarms, while Engineering will help us short circuit fuse boxes and reroute power.
The final piece to our character customization is cybernetics or Cyberware as the game calls it. These physical upgrades act as both equipment upgrades and perks and unlock unique skills and abilities for our character. They also look damn cool.
In the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo, we are advised to watch out for illegal, military grade implants, which can be very powerful but also very costly. I am very much hoping that these illegal augmentations will influence the way some characters react to us and have an impact on our story, instead of being merely high-powered upgrades for our character.
Street cred acts as the experience that will unlock new content in the game, such as new quests with new factions. You can gain more street cred by completing quests.
There is also what looks like a level system. In the gameplay demo, we can see that Jackie, our buff partner, is level 8, and our Ripperdoc is at level 9. Upon examining the militia corp agents, we can see that their level shows as merely “??”. This is most likely because, as the narrator says, these guys are levels higher then we are.
Factions Rule Night City
In E3, CD Projekt RED explained that Night City, our futuristic Californian city, is divided into six districts. In the Gamescom demo, we get to visit the military district, which is controlled by the Militech corporation.
Militech is a powerful corporation that deals with advanced military tech and weapons. They have drones and armored vans, and will not be an easy opponent to overcome, should you cross them.
The corporation’s main rivals in the military district are a fearsome gang which we have seen in the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo – the Maelstrom Gang. The Maelstrom gang members are obsessed with cybernetic implants, to the point where they are just barely human. Most of them have five or more eyes (or rather, sensors), and the sight of them can send shivers down your spine. Luckily, they aren’t bulletproof.
We also encounter other factions during our time in Night City. We get to fight scavengers, a group of nasty individuals who kidnaps people and harvests their implants. Moments later, we are greeted by Trauma Team, a high-tech and heavily armed insurance company for the rich and powerful. There are also Dexter Deshawn, who represents another yet unknown faction, the NCPD, and our trusty Ripperdoc.
Combat at Its Most Intense
The very first thing we see in the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay video, is how intense combat is.
According to the developes, there are two driving forces at its core: The first of these two gameplay aspects is Kereznikov, a reflex booster drug that can be used during firefights. You inhale a dose of Kereznikov, and for a few seconds, it makes you faster than bullets. While the whole world moves in slow motion, you can dodge, aim, and kill with precision.
The second half of Cyberpunk 2077’s exciting combat is bullet ricochet. The demo shows us the player using walls to triangulate a bullet trajectory and hit enemies from behind cover, and it’s pretty impressive. It’s still unclear to us what weapons can use this ricochet mechanic, but this will surely add a lot of variety to combat.
The developers state that they want us to be able to tailor the combat to our style, and from the demo, it looks like they are doing an excellent job at it so far.
Weapons of a Dark Future
Speaking of combat, Cyberpunk 2077 has already displayed an extensive range of weapons, each with its unique features.
The demo showcased a street-modified tech shotgun. The shotgun can shoot shrapnel that pierces targets, but can also shoot through walls, boxes, and other sorts of cover.
The second weapon we saw was a smart sub-machine gun. Bullets from this weapon seek out and hit their targets without you having to aim all that much.
The demo also showed a corporate rifle, but both in the public demo and in our Gamescom presentation, the player used all of the ammo on the boss’ shield so we never got to see what it can do to a soft flesh target. It does, however, look very high-powered and I expect it does a lot of damage.
But we saw more than just firearms. The Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay presentation was the first time we saw the iconic mantis blades in action. The mantis blades are two huge blades that pop out of our character’s forearms, and in addition to slicing and dicing your enemies, can also help you cling into walls and assassinate enemies from above.
The Gamescom demo, however, showed an additional weapon, one that did not appear in the public video – a super-powered katana. This blade can slice through enemies like butter, and in the gameplay demonstration, we watched the player combine it with Kereznikov to aim and slice off a gangster’s leg with deadly precision.
But that’s not all – the katana can also deploy a laser shield to protect you from bullets.
You Can Drive Anywhere
No, there are no autonomous cars and Mobileye safety systems in the dark future of Cyberpunk 2077. Instead, you have fancy muscle cars and motorbikes, and in Cyberpunk 2077, you can ride them all to freely explore the open world.
In the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo, we got to see our character, V, drive a car both in first-person and in third-person. The developers have explained that we will be able to drive a wide range of vehicles throughout the expansive Night City.
From the demo, driving still looks at a very early stage and almost seems on-rails, but this will probably change by the time the game releases.
The Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo has shown us a lot, and there is still a ton of features that we could have discussed here, such as hacking into people, and the different friendly characters we get to meet, or even the quest system. Those we leave for a later time.
Cyberpunk 2077 will release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One when it’s ready, and I hope the gameplay demo got you even more excited for its release. I know it did for me.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.