E3 2019: Every Single Detail From The Cyberpunk 2077 Private Demo

Cyberpunk 2077

From the very first day of E3 2019, Cyberpunk 2077 has been the prime topic of discussion. Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend Cyberpunk 2077’s private presentation and have an extended look at their E3 private demo. Here’s every detail from the behind-closed-doors demo that might fascinate you –

  • V was already leveled up
  • The enemies we saw were around level 20
  • V has a biochip which supposedly houses the secret to immortality
  • V is being haunted by Keanu Reeves’s character Johnny Silverhand, a so-called “digital ghost.” From everything we can see in the demo, he only exists within the character’s mind and the real Johnny is deceased or missing
  • Three archetypes for backstories that seem to function as specializations Nomad, Street Kid, or Corporate
  • The Nomad background text began “Roaming the badlands, looting skyscrapers…” and that’s all I could write down before they moved to the next screen, the background text for each flashed up and then disappeared very quickly
  • Every choice in the character creator I saw-
    Skin tone, eyes, eye color, nose, ears, mouth, jaw
  • Stat categories include Body, Intelligence, Reflex, Technology, Cool
  • There is an implant that can translate other languages into English. Without this chip, you won’t be able to understand what characters are saying. Characters were speaking Creole and the subtitles glitched and morphed into English floating above their heads
  • Pacifica was supposed to be an upscale development in Night City, but it was abandoned It’s where the demo took place: a city within a city
  • “Where’s Johnny?” graffiti was scrawled into the side of a building
  • We entered a butcher shop called Rolland
  • Real meat is banned in Night City. The official excuse is that meat could carry disease in this future world, but it seemed like that was a bullshit excuse
  • Butcher shops like Rolland are illegal in this world
  • We are meeting up with a character called Placide, who is a part of an expert gang of hackers called the Voodoo Boys
  • We walked into a back room in the butcher shop, where several dirty-looking machines were grinding meat and animal carcasses were hanging from the ceiling
  • Placide is level 40 and wearing a long leather trenchcoat with several dangling strips of dark leather
  • Much of the demo takes place in a large abandoned mall complex in Pacifica called the GIM or Grand Imperial Mall
  • There was a poster on the wall of the shop with the words “Trinidad Overload” written on it
  • We were able to buy programs and clothes at a vendor in the butcher
  • You could sort by categories including “Special Offers” at the vendor
  • Menu pages include Level, Cred, Gear, Character, Map, and Quests
  • The building we were led into including Placide’s office was very reminiscent of Bauhaus architecturally, with lots of sheer slabs of concrete and thick glass windows
  • Once we’re led into Placide’s office, he insists on jacking directly into our brain if we’re going to do the job for him
  • Jacking into someone’s brain is considered a background check in the world of Night City
  • Throughout these scenes, Keanu Reeves’s character is constantly popping up as a hologram to give us advice and suggestions
  • As Placide jacks into your brain through his huge, bulky laptop with a thick black plastic case, a transparent gray and white overlay flashes onto the screen that appears to be some sort of brain scanning UI
  • Placide decides to interrogate you on the nature of all your chips and asks about the mystery chip that contains the secret to immortality. You tell him it’s broken because you were shot in the brain. The staff member playing the demo said if Placide was more discerning he would ask why V could survive a bullet to the brain
  • Many dialogue options require either a skill check or a certain specialization
  • Certain dialogue options can unlock side quests, and it appears you can be locked out of certain side missions if you make the wrong choice
  • Placide’s eyes glow bright blue after he finishes jacking into V: this is an ability that allows him to see through V’s eyes
  • V is sent on a job by Placide to the GIM in Pacifica to discover why a valuable asset named Brigitte is missing
  • The final game will feature ray traced global illumination and support for Nvidia’s RTX. We were led to believe the demo also featured ray tracing, and the lighting was phenomenal
  • V gets onto a sleek red motorcycle that bears a striking resemblance to the famous red motorcycle from the classic science fiction anime Akira
  • There is a choice of music on the bike, and we flicked through a few stations
  • First person motorcycle controls were first, but the demo switched to the third person on the bike and the UI transition was seamless
  • There was a sticker on the bike with the word “Bleesters”
  • V was rocking a jacket that was merch for the band Samurai– the same band fronted by rockerboy Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves)
  • The motorcycle UI appeared to show what gear the bike was in, but it was difficult to tell because of how small the number and lettering were
  • I noticed moments where the frame rate drops, especially with intense outdoor lighting and fog
  • V pulls up to the rear entrance of the mall, but there appear to be several options for infiltrating the building
  • V’s scanner item allows them to survey enemies and spot potential targets
  • A warning flashes on the screen with the words “Warning: Restricted Area” as soon as V enters the mall complex
  • There are three Animals inside the rear entrance: the Animals are a musclebound, freakish gang of bodybuilders with intense body mods
  • V decided to play it stealthily, and stealth is a huge option in Cyberpunk 2077 and is certainly encouraged
  • A red question mark symbol inside a box appears when an enemy is suspicious but not yet alerted to your presence. The red question mark turns into a blue question mark when the caution level goes back down
  • V sneaks up to an Animal, and there are multiple options: takedown or non-lethal takedown
  • V approaches another Animal and is given different takedown options based on context. In this case, V can do a takedown and instantly push the body into a garbage disposal chute.
  • As Placide remotely contacts V, his face flashes in the top left of the screen for a video call. Placide is watching V at all times during the mission
  • When V hacks into a nearby scanner device, a hacking mini-game begins where the player has to choose specific numbers from a large rectangular grid with rows and columns like a spreadsheet. Every cell appeared to have two numbers, but the demo went through the minigame very quickly so it was hard to write down some of the details
  • V’s scanner appears to have a maximum zoom of 8x
  • V enters a gym with exercise equipment and locates an enemy netrunner as they continue through the complex, along with a group of level 18 Animals
  • The Animals are training in a boxing ring with a training robot. V is able to hack into the training robot so that it hurts the Animal the robot is boxing against, but the other Animals laugh it off
  • V sneaks through the room and is able to hack into a robotic bench press machine that an Animal is using to drop the weights on top of the animal and instantly crush and kill them. It is a very brutal death and some other people in the presentation gasped
  • We go into the menu to see different options on what appears to be a skill points menu. Here are some, but not all, of the options: handguns, rifles, blades, snipers, assassination, coldblooded, hacking, shotguns, two-handed weapons.
  • CDPR opens up a cheat menu that allows them to switch character builds on the fly, so they switch over to a female V with a “strong solo build,” rather than the hacking and netrunning focused male V build
  • Through a skill check, V is able to pry the metal doors open with their bare hands, and the metal twists and distorts as they pull it open
  • When they reach the GIS lobby, a neon sign with the word “Sortsys” is in front of V across the courtyard
  • The leader of the pack of Animals is called the alpha
  • V sneaks up on an Animal to do a stealth takedown but ends up alerting the nearby animals
  • After the takedown, and after V alerts the Animals, an overlay on the screen pops up saying “Experience Threshold Reached: Level Up”
  • The turrets in the lobby begin firing at V, so V picks up the Animal body and uses it as a human shield. Their cybernetically altered muscles allow them to absorb many bullets
  • V is able to run to the turret and rip its gun off, then begins firing at the Animals charging her with the heavy turret gun
  • The bullet damage, ragdoll animations, and enemy response to taking damage is carefully animated and highly detailed
  • The Animals can rush towards you with super speed, charging for incredibly powerful punches and melee attacks
  • The demo switches back from the “strong solo” female V build to the netrunner male V build
  • V pulls out an item called nanowire, which is a digital garrote that can decapitate enemies. Instead of a physical wire, it is a laser beam that V uses for melee attacks.
  • As V kills an enemy with the nanowire, the game goes into a stylish slow-motion bullet time style effect for a few seconds. This doesn’t appear to be a gameplay mechanic, but instead a way of highlighting impressive kills by kicking them into slow-mo
  • After clearing out the enemies, V can use the nanowire for hacking: it isn’t just a weapon, but a powerful hacking tool
  • The red laser beam of the nanowire reaches out to the bus and begins the hacking process
  • As V plugs into the network, he discovers that one of the Voodoo Boys’ rival gangs, the Netwatch, are behind the incident V is investigating. Placide asks V to take down the dangerous Netwatch hacker
  • Dialogue choice here with a skill check: it reads “Can’t we just search for him on the net? 5/4.” 5/4 seems to indicate how many skill points you need (4) and how many you have (5) to pass the check, but the demo player chooses another option
  • The game (cpLauncher.exe) crashed here and they had to restart the demo. They dive into a folder containing .bat files that will launch into key, specific points that are a part of the demo
  • The demo is running on a PC with an unspecified Nvidia RTX graphics card (edit: I’ve since been told by a CDPR employee that the demo was running on a Titan RTX)
  • CDPR staff mentions that non-lethal runs are possible but difficult. You can avoid killing anyone
  • As V hacks into the van again, a 3D map of Pacifica appears. Our CDPR rep tells us that the van is creating a hugely advanced map of that part of Night City comparable to an amped-up Google Street View
  • The top Netwatch agent becomes alerted that we are hacking into their systems
  • Placide tells us that “He is the heart” and we must take him out. V protests, stating that they don’t want to get on the Netwatch’s bad side, but Placide tells V that he is only there to deliver a message on behalf of the Voodoo Boys
  • The building is huge but dilapidated, with several crumbling storeys
  • V moves into the next area and engages another group of level 18 Animals after failing a stealth section and being noticed
  • V can hack into an Animal’s arm to force them against their will to pull the pin on their grenade they are holding. It explodes and kills them
  • V hacks into another Animal’s arm and forces them to commit suicide by shooting themselves in the head
  • V also hacks into a turret and turns it against the Animals
  • As we enter the next area, we find a boss-like Alpha called Sasquatch. A lengthy battle ensues
  • Sasquatch has a huge industrial cybernetic hammer
  • V scans Sasquatch for weak points and discovers that their glowing purple backpack is their weakness. V begins targeting it
  • After a short battle, Sasquatch corners V, climbs on top of them and hacks into their brain by plugging in their wire. Now that they’ve been hacked into, the screen and audio begins glitching and distorting
  • A bar on the top of the screen appears. One section is a red meter that says “Netwatch hack” and the other part of the bar says “Placide defence.” Placide is trying to remotely prevent you from being hacked, but the red part of the bar slowly begins overtaking the blue
  • Eventually, we manage to kill Sasquatch. V has the option of looting her hammer but chooses not to take it
  • We move into the next area, the Cinema. Placide hacks into the security system to open the doors
  • Suddenly, V is disconnected from Placide. The movie screen is on and is projecting something. V moves into the projection room
  • The Netwatch Agent, Bryce Mosley (not sure how to spell it exactly), begins talking to V calmly and asks them to betray the Voodoo Boys and choose to work for Netwatch instead
  • Bryce explains that the Voodoo Boys kill and dispose of anyone who no longer has a purpose for them, and warns that they will be betrayed if they don’t listen. Bryce explains that the Voodoo Boys call agents who have served their purpose “Ranyons”
  • Dialogue and action choices here: “Care to back that up?” — “*Incapacitate them*” — Streetkid only: “I’d rather put my trust in the Voodoo Boys.” — “You’re bluffing.” — “You defeated Brigitte?”
  • CDPR rep informs us that this choice will have a huge, fundamental impact on how the story plays out and on your reputation with each of the two competing clans. It’s very Fallout: New Vegas
  • Someone hacks into the Netwatch agent’s server: Johnny’s ghost appears
  • We take out the powerful Netwatch agent. V goes to grab large stacks of cash from the table
  • Placide suddenly betrays you (exactly what Bryce warned V of) and V goes unconscious
  • The words “Reputation Increased” flash on the screen
  • Because of V’s secret chip, they are saved and wake up. Johnny starts talking to V and V leaves and heads out of the ruined mall
  • There is a parkour-style sliding move
  • A nervous-looking Voodoo Boy is waiting outside and seems baffled that V is alive. V demands to be taken to see Placide
  • CDPR opens the map and fast travels to Placide’s location. It only takes three or four seconds to load into the next area they’re fast traveling to
  • V enters the building and punches Placide, who is confused that V is alive
  • Brigitte appears, clad in another long black leather trenchcoat, and dismisses Placide.
  • CDPR explains that since we saved Brigitte’s life, she trusts V now
  • Brigitte is level 45
  • Brigitte begins talking about the legendary netrunner Alt Cunningham: the only person to successfully upload her entire consciousness to cyberspace
  • Brigitte takes you to an abandoned maglev train station and turns on the power, which causes massive sparks to fly around as the subway terminal comes back to life
  • V is informed that they need to jack into cyberspace. Someone in the background says “Linking flows… establishing a connection.” V asks Johnny for advice on whether they should jack into cyberspace. He nonchalantly says yes
  • V climbs into a bathtub full of ice and jacks into cyberspace
  • Cyberspace is a glitchy-appearing hub area built out of transparent blue Matrix-like lines and building blocks
  • The other people jacked into cyberspace appear as neon-red silhouettes
  • Suddenly, we’re rushed forward into the huge wave of a pulsating neon red wall inside cyberspace, and the demo ends

CD Projket Red let me take a badass jacket home, which was, indeed, one of the best things from their presentation, along with the game, their booth, the people present there and the hype around Cyberpunk 2077.

Stay tuned for a full-fledged preview article (to be published in a few days) describing the aura around CD Projekt Red’s booth, my impressions regarding the demo and what’s in for the future of Cyberpunk 2077.

EDIT: I’ve been informed by a CD Projekt Red rep of the stats the demo was running on.

Here they are!

CPU: Intel i7-8700K @ 3.70 GHz


RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V, 2x16GB, 3000MHz, CL15

GPU: Titan RTX

SSD: Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB M.2 PCIe

PSU: Corsair SF600 600W

Cyberpunk 2077 will be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One starting April 16th, 2020.

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8 thoughts on “E3 2019: Every Single Detail From The Cyberpunk 2077 Private Demo”

  1. Sushir Rahaman

    Exceptionally detailed narrative of the Cyberpunk demo! 🙂 Thank you Caleb – and congrats on the jacket!

  2. Hey Caleb, can I ask a question

    – Did you happen to see in game map? Is it 3D holo map or… ( if you did, ofc)?

    – “The bullet damage, ragdoll animations, and enemy response to taking damage is carefully animated and highly detailed”…would you say these were significantly improved compared next to last year demo ( imo, they looked a bit rough)

    1. Hi Erica

      1. Didn’t get much time to look at the map. There was a 2D minimap in the bottom left corner of the screen. We saw the menu option for map, but they went through it so quickly we didn’t have time to really look at the map itself.

      2. Yeah, for sure. They looked much-improved. They were definitely emphasizing the ragdolls this time. Bullet damage animations looked good, too. Some of the Animals gang movement melee animations were very impressive. Animation overall was really good in and out of narrative moments

      Thanks for checking my CP2077 coverage out and stay tuned because there’s even more coming 🙂

  3. As the motherboard and PSU indicates, this machine was an ITX rig.
    Could you please clarify what case & cooling CDPR was using?

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