- Related Games:
- Cyberpunk 2077
Beyond the narratives CD Projekt Red has woven, Night City is a marvel unto itself. Cyberpunk 2077 is filled with incredible vistas of imposing towers that blot out the sky and the slums nestled at their bases. The game takes players throughout the boroughs of Night City, but even throughout V’s expansive adventure, much of it remains untapped.
Despite the critical acclaim, CD Projekt Red isn’t exactly prolific. The studio’s focus on open-world epics precludes a quick development cycle. Cyberpunk 2077 spent around 4-5 years in active development (including several delays), and DLC is currently in the pipe that will add more content to the already jam-packed game. However, given how big Night City is, it will likely remain mostly unexplored in the narrative, even once current content plans have come to fruition. This gives CD Projekt Red a chance to change its development paradigm for the sequel.
Like a Dragon
Instead of starting Cyberpunk 2 (or Cyberpunk 2078) from scratch, CD Projekt Red should take a page from the Yakuza series. Each Yakuza game has a considerable amount of story content, but it makes heavy use of asset recycling. Despite this, each game feels fresh because it introduces new features and characters. Because the writing is so good, it doesn’t matter that we’re tooling around Kamurocho for the seventh time. Instead of feeling lazy, each Yakuza game feels like a homecoming, which is something that CD Projekt Red could tap into.
Reusing Night City also allows developers to build on previous work consistently. For example, if a sequel takes place a year after Cyberpunk 2077 with another protagonist, it’ll give a sense of nostalgia to fans to revisit V’s haunts and see how the characters they’ve grown to love have changed.
Imagine, instead of waiting five years for a Cyberpunk sequel, that we get one in two or three. Given Night City’s verticality, there are buildings large enough to hold entire acts of a game that are sitting empty. Additionally, there’s a ton of lore from the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop RPG that hasn’t been tapped into that would ease development.
There’s also the uncomfortable topic of crunch. Those who worked on Cyberpunk 2077 worked long hours to create this fantastic world. They did it right the first time, so why do it again? I’m not going to remember or care if I pass an NPC in Cyberpunk 2 that I saw in the first game or if an enemy uses the same gun to shoot at me. I’d rather the developers have a healthy work environment in which they can use their creativity to the fullest to bring exciting new features and a compelling narrative to the firm foundation they’ve already created.
Cyberpunk 2077 is buggy, too (though a launch day patch could resolve a bunch of these issues). CD Projekt Red will likely patch these issues out given time, but what if devs didn’t have to deal with them at all? Obviously, bugs will crop up in any game, but reusing a preexisting location will mean fewer issues than creating an entirely new one. Less time spent squashing bugs means more time for creating great stories for us to enjoy.
It’s a testament to Night City’s design that I’d want to return at all. Unlike many open-worlds, nothing about Cyberpunk 2077‘s setting feels like filler. If anything, time spent filling out building interiors would be much better than starting from scratch. V’s journey is fascinating, but Night City is calling out for more adventure, and I hope CD Projekt Red answers.