June 20, 2018 by Paul Curtin
Although not an Xbox One exclusive, Microsoft ended their E3 2018 media briefing with a shocking first look at CD Projekt Red’s upcoming sci-fi RPG/shooter, Cyberpunk 2077.
And while the very first trailer for the highly anticipated next game from the developer of The Witcher was enough to have everyone talking after it “hacked” its way into the very end Microsoft’s showcase, it was actually what CDPR was showing off behind-closed-doors that was what really stole the show at this year’s E3.
We were lucky enough to check out CDPR’s 45-minute gameplay demo of Cyberpunk 2077, and the latest from the emerging top developer in the industry simultaneously blew our minds with unexpected first-person gameplay while still teasing that Cyberpunk would be everything we had hoped it would be and more.
With nothing but a few concept images being shared by CDPR over the past few years, many assumed that Cyberpunk would simply be a futuristic version of The Witcher. But that isn’t the case at all, and the game’s FPS perspective makes it look and feel almost nothing like the dev’s previous action/adventure games.
What we saw in the game’s first demo could best be described as the gritty atmosphere and combat of 2012’s amazing Dredd film combined with the now-cancelled gameplay of Prey 2 — all taking place in a futuristic open-world city that nobody other than Rockstar Games have ever been able to achieve. Basically, it was everything we’ve ever wanted in a game, especially after we named Prey 2 our most anticipated game of E3 2011 and were crushed when it was canned years later by Bethesda.
The demo for Cyberpunk started off with an intense apartment shootout. Similar to Rainbow 6: Siege, most of the environment seemed destructible with bullets flying through doors and walls to create a purely chaotic action sequence where nobody was safe.
After killing the illegal cyberware traffickers and rescuing the human target, the player as lead character “V” had numerous options on what to do next. In our demo, CDPR chose to call in a trauma team to evac the hostage by means of a flying armored ambulance. CDPR explained that the option to call in paramedics was completely optional and for the right price they too would even unleash hell for their clients.
Shortly after, the lead protagonist V (who can be fully customized as a male or female with various other RPG options) was shown in her own megabuilding apartment waking up the next day… with another random person in her bed. As with their previous games, CDPR made it clear that Cyberpunk is an adult game and that the characters will be engaging in sexual relations — something the developer has no plans of shying away from showing.
As V got dressed, we were shown how clothing options can provide different stat bonuses to your character and improve “street cred” – a stat which the devs say will allow for more options and social interactions among other characters in the mean streets of Night City, California.
Like any traditional RPG, clothing, weapons, implants, and other items all have stats and various rarity levels. By visiting a ripperdoc, we were able to get a cyberware eye implant that upgraded V’s vision, adding more HUD options and the ability to zoom in and focus on objects further away than we could earlier in the demo.
One of the standout features of Cyberpunk is the insane level of detail CDPR has put into creating this new universe. Even in the day time, Night City felt alive and vibrant with large groups of people flooding the streets and markets — all of whom seemed to be interacting in different ways — just as you would expect in a busy city hub.
But it’s not just what takes place on the streets that had our attention, and glowing neon signs that illuminated dark alleyways tempted us with new secrets and potential quests to be discovered by talking to different shady characters. Every square inch of the level design is littered with signs and ads for big corporations – all of which tease a story behind their exotic names.
Traveling from mission to mission, the player was able to hop in a futuristic roadster that felt straight out of Back to the Future. But on the way to the mission a rival gang’s attack made for a movie-quality chase that brought back fond memories of Dredd’s bad ass opening scene – except here, it was the player that had complete control over driving and shooting.
And while Cyberpunk is an FPS, CDPR’s iconic story-telling elements with their diverse choice wheel are all still present. Players will be able to take on missions in completely different ways and the outcomes of each event will differ each time based on the conversations leading up to (and during) missions.
In the demo, V and her partner, Jackie Welles, made a few deals with different characters and military groups to deliver tech to an underground hideout. While trying to keep the peace, negotiations quickly went south and lead to one of the most intense standoffs we’ve ever seen and ultimately another shootout.
Gunplay in Cyberpunk had a very fast pace with the ability to take cover, slide, and even wall-run. The devs teased just some of the crazy advanced tech the player will be able to unlock in the demo — and from what little we saw, it’s clear they’re putting a lot of thought into making each futuristic weapon feel unique — something we haven’t seen done as well since Insomniac’s Resistance trilogy.
Despite the long demo, we only got a brief taste of the enemy-tracking ‘smart’ weapons that will be available in the final game, which left us salivating at the thought of getting our hands on even more twitch-like weapons and already theory-crafting how we’re going to customize our own version of V with all the unique loot the game has to offer.
Cyberpunk 2077 still has no official release date, but after 45-minutes of show-stealing gameplay, we have no doubt that the developers behind The Witcher know what they’re doing. CDPR’s new game was the best thing we saw at E3 2018, which are big words after The Last of Us 2 just debuted gameplay that looks even better than Naughty Dog’s first masterpiece. There’s no question Cyberpunk is going to be worth the wait when it’s ready to launch on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.