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- Cyberpunk 2077
From the glut of synth-based film scores, neon-drenched dystopian TV shows, to the many pixel-based indie games we’ve so regularly been treated to recently, the once underground sci-fi subgenre has achieved peak popularity right now in 2018. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be the meeting point where all its best elements will converge, and CD Projekt Red’s reputation and high bar for quality does indicate a first-person adaptation of the Cyberpunk 2020 pen-and-paper game worth drooling over.
Details on the sprawling RPG have been scarce – largely drip fed via audio leaks and, of course, the various impressions pieces discussing the hands-on demo present at E3. However, putting the pieces of this puzzle together soon reveals an intriguing picture, one which could make CD Projekt Red’s long-awaited game the best sci-fi RPG ever made. If you like cyberpunk, here are the elements we know 2077 will absolutely be tapping into.
What’s a good cyberpunk story without an android or two? After all, the genre is at its best when the near-future world depicted features heightened tensions, typically made possible by the human fear that one day the machine age could take over. Blade Runner, The Matrix, Neuromancer – all the heavy hitters nail this underlying anxiety. CD Projekt Red is cleverly using this hostility (and cyberpunk mainstay) as an in-universe excuse that allows for a free approach to combat. Smart stuff!
Cyberpunk 2077 will take the already-excessive levels of customization you’d find in your standard open-world RPG and amp this up to 11 thanks to human augmentation being an accepted and everyday occurrence in Night City. Outside of conventional gunplay, CD Projekt Red has demonstrated how the much publicised ‘mantis blades’ are just one of many melee weapon options and cyber implants that will make dispatching enemies a breeze. Character customization has never been more important in an RPG as here it directly affects combat and traversal, to a certain extent.
Hardboiled Crime Noir
If, after seeing the E3 trailer, you were left unenthused at how Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t seem representative of the noir elements the subgenre was known for, fear not. The behind-the-curtain demo confirmed that anticipated dark elements like drugs, guns, violence, sexual exploitation will make themselves known. Noir and cyberpunk have been firm friends throughout the fiction’s lifecycle and it’s nice to see CD Projekt Red take note.
The game’s dystopian world is set to be filled with various groups and factions, all doing whatever they can to ensure they stay alive, or even just stay updated with the latest tech. Night City’s overflowing homeless population has brought people to the point of desperation and violence. Lucky for innocents, as the maverick and steadfast mercenary V, you’ll be able to ‘clean the streets’ as it were in true hardboiled fashion.
In Cyberpunk 2077, the dystopian society in question finds itself ruled by various corporations, but the Big Brother-like force known simply as Militech is one major player. Specialising in weapons manufacturing and private military contracting, the game’s story will see you cross paths with many of the company’s operatives, each intent on ensuring that the status quo between classes and species stays as it is. Totalitarian mega-corporations like this are often represented as the physical manifestation of oppression in cyberpunk, and it looks like Night City is not exempt from this.
We look forward to taking them down throughout the game’s narrative piece by satisfying piece. Even if, at present, it’s not clear whether this will be V’s main motivation throughout the game. However, we have heard mention of a Militech member named Meredith Stout, described by CD Projekt Red as “…an egomaniac who will stop at nothing to reach her goals”. Regardless of whatever these are and how they will take shape, it’s safe to say that we’ll see about that!
A Pronounced Sense of Style
Cyberpunk 2077 leans heavily into the subgenre’s throwback 80s connotations, featuring brightly lit neon cityscapes, beat-up flying cars, and NPC hairstyles ranging from the radical to the downright outrageous. However, this is perhaps best represented in CD Projekt Red’s game by the presence of a ‘cool’ stat, which is set to affect the number of opportunities available to the player alongside more conventional upgradable stats. Even from a technological perspective, it’s very clear that Night City is a place inspired from the city streets up rather than the other way around.
Obviously, V is totally player-created, meaning that you can take he/she anywhere in terms of what they wear and how they’ll be perceived by the many groups roaming Night City. Cyberpunk 2077’s gear system ties into this, boosting your Street Cred to such a degree that certain designer clothing that will grant you special elemental defense stats. CD Projekt Red is taking the pronounced sense of style present in most works of cyberpunk, letting you personalize your character traits while doing it.
Cyberpunk 2077 might not be the Blade Runner game you’ve always wanted, but what it is represents more of a cyberpunk toolbox set to blow all our minds when it launches in the next few years. The game is adapting the core elements and factors the subgenre is known form smartly working them into the various mechanics and systems to help better immerse you in this vibrant, yet tough-edged future world.