Cyberpunk 2077 development began in full after Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone released

CD Projekt Red’s long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077 was announced way back in 2012. Now, three and a half years on from The Witcher 3‘s release, we’ve seen two trailers and one long gameplay slice. How long has Cyberpunk 2077 development really been going on for? Apparently, not as long as expected.

French site Jeuxactu interviewed lead cinematic animator Maciej Pietras last week (via IGN) about Cyberpunk 2077 and its long development cycle. Pietras explained (via Google Translate) the early development of the upcoming sci-fi RPG.

“We officially announced Cyberpunk 2077 in January 2013 through a teaser trailer,” he said. “But as we needed all the forces of the studio to advance and complete The Witcher 3, the production of Cyberpunk 2077 remained unresolved. It was only after the release of the “Hearts of Stone” expansion that the whole studio really started working hard on Cyberpunk 2077.”

Pietras referenced 2014 as the year Hearts of Stone released, although it was actually released in October 2015. It may be he misspoke, as Pietras said later in the interview that a good chunk of CD Projekt Red was working on Cyberpunk 2077 in 2014.

A hidden message in the E3 2018 Cyberpunk 2077 demo suggested that the game didn’t enter full development until after The Witcher 3‘s Blood and Wine expansion. While this doesn’t line up exactly with Pietras’ comments to Jeuxactu, it makes sense that as development on expansion for The Witcher 3 wound down, more developers moved to Cyberpunk.

In any case, Cyberpunk 2077 has been in development for a lot less time than its October 2012 announcement suggests. Pietras’ interview suggests that Cyberpunk 2077 has been in full-time development since some time in 2014 — or October 2015. It’s unclear what Cyberpunk 2077 development looked like prior to that time, with Pietras saying they worked on concepts and established the direction of the game prior to The Witcher 3 shipping.

A team of around 50 people had been working on Cyberpunk 2077 as early as 2013, although it remains unclear what they were focused on at the time. Cyberpunk 2077 is slated to release “when it’s ready” on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.