“Cyberpunk” is a term that tends to be used a bit too frequently these days, often describing a video game’s look rather than actually having anything to do with the genre. CD Projekt is looking to change that with the upcoming open-world RPG ‘Cyberpunk 2077’, which is based on the classic pen-and-paper role-playing game. The studio is determined to bring a true cyberpunk setting to life through this new project by tossing players into a futuristic world where style is everything, and human augmentation has become a part of everyday life. Of course, it wouldn’t be cyberpunk without a hint of darkness, even in a world of neon.
Mike Pondsmith, creator of the original RPG, feels that cyberpunk is much more than just a visual style. In a recent blog post on the official Cyberpunk 2077 website, Pondsmith wrote:
Most people think cyberpunk is just a summary of specific tropes; big guns, dark streets and dangerous guys in ubiquitous leather dusters… But the core of cyberpunk is a lot more subtle than that. Cyberpunk is about the seductive qualities of corruption and decay… It doesn’t have to be dirty or grimy on the physical level. But on the psycho-social level, even the cleanest and most orderly Corp-zone should be rife with darkness and collapse.
It is this central idea that lies at the heart of the Cyberpunk world, but one that no developer has been able to capture in the past. Pondsmith has had his creation turned into several video games over the years, but each has been a let-down to both fans and himself. Luckily, his meeting with game director Mateusz Kanik allowed him to get excited about the prospect of a video game again. Kanik stated:
At the beginning he was really scared. You could see that on his face.. There have been attempts at Cyberpunk games in the past and each of them was bad, and he was scared it would be the same again. But he came to us at the beginning and met the team, and we talked about vision, ideas, how we want to approach this adaptation of his work – and when he left he was extremely happy about it. So I think it was OK from then on.
Kanik and the rest of the team at CD Projekt had talked about bringing the RPG to life through video games well before the release of the studio’s critically-acclaimed project The Witcher. Many members of the team were fans of the classic pen-and-paper version, and after gaining a lot of experience developing a well-received RPG series, Cyberpunk 2077 was an inevitable venture. One of the major hurdles, however, was how to properly carry over the mechanics of a tabletop game. Kanik explained:
The main problem is that the original system is based on dice rolls. When you think about Cyberpunk you think about shooting, action, a lot of explosions. But that doesn’t fit dice rolls in a video game. We want to make it more action-like – there will be a system that lets you use active skills actually in the gameplay in a shooting sequence or something like that, rather than just passive skills like in the books.
As with most tabletop RPGs, the real experience comes from the stories that players create, and the personality behind their characters. This is a concept that CD Projekt is looking to fully explore in Cyberpunk 2077, as the player will have more choices than just what to wear. Everything that you do as a character in the game will reflect your personality. For example, being in a bar and ordering a drink becomes more than just choosing a random selection from a list; the type of drink chosen, and the way the player acts, will affect how other characters in the game will view him or her, which may have consequences later on.
Of course, putting all of this effort into a game takes time, and with Cyberpunk 2077 becoming such a huge project, no expected release date has been given. However, ScienceFiction.com will have any updates as the come.