A quintessential RPG game is fluid in many aspects. It does not possess a static social environment, does not have a linear progression system and more importantly, it does not necessarily restrict the players from meddling with the environment. Every action is accompanied with its own set of consequences. This can be the deterioration of relations with a clan or an individual or a trigger that could set in motion a wild boss fight or a chain of events which may/may not be detrimental for the player. RPG games are meant to be immense and have a lot of diversity incorporated in the central design, in and around which a secondary design is administered to amplify its copious dimensions.
The Fallout series, The Elder Scrolls franchise, Baldur’s Gate, Deus Ex franchise are examples of some of the most prominent RPG games with a huge audience, with Witcher 3 being a recent entry in the list. CD Projekt Red’s four years of failed endeavour was finally met with remarkable feat when the third game in the franchise was launched in 2015.
A new game, Cyberpunk 2077 was officially announced before that, on May 30, 2012, by CDPR during its Summer Conference session. It was to be CDPR’s first non-Witcher game. A year after, in January 2013, a cinematic teaser was released, solidifying CDPR’s claims.
Thereafter, the Cyberpunk 2077 social media web pages managed by CDPR went silent. Until January 10th of this year when the Cyberpunk twitter page posted a one-word message: ‘*beep*’. Witcher 3 had hit a milestone and Gwent was able to put up a fight against other card games like Hearthstone. So, when this single-word message scrambled throughout the internet and made headlines in major video-game journalism websites, people came to surmise that the dream was not far away. Surely enough, when the contenders for the E3 2018 conference were revealed, the community was expectant. The Cyberpunk 2077 trailer was first displayed on the E3 screen during Microsoft’s Conference session which was followed by a hail of cheering from the audience. Not only that, the attendees of the conference were shown exclusive gameplay footage behind closed doors which will only be available for public eyes on the 27th of August. The hype had lived up to its expectation and CDPR had skillfully managed to entertain the fan base.
Setting & Background
Cyberpunk 2077 is set in a Californian crime-infested fictional urban-centre known as the ‘Night City’ in a distant dystopian future where the world has fallen into sad straits and is now at the mercy of Mega Corporations who have asserted their authority and taken control of major cities. The advancement of science has ushered in a new culture of robotics. Human beings have become more machine-like with bionics/artificial body parts and organs. Everything including people’s brains is connected online. Cyberterrorism has become a major concern for the authorities. In this tightly packed society oppressed by an aggressive surveillance state, people live in apartments of mega-buildings with their own commodity centres. Together, these societies function as a sort of micro-community with all the necessities present within their reach. Drones and robots have entered the domains of law enforcement, with the already existing ‘cyborgs’, humans turned into half machines. Outside the skyscrapers lays in wait, a highly futuristic, hostile world which will challenge the players in every way possible.
The game blends the sci-fi environment of the future and the theme of the 80s to make something unique. It is heavily influenced by anime series like Texhnolyze and movies like Ready Player One and Blade Runner.
CDPR’s pioneering work in the field of video-games, eight years of experience cultivated from making RPG games have given them an edge over other developers. As the saying goes: ‘Failure is a key to success’. You learn from your mistakes and you rectify those. No doubt, all the past blunders had collectively contributed to the astounding success of the Witcher 3. Cyberpunk, which is CDPR’s first non-Witcher project will be much like the Witcher games in gameplay and progression design if not better, as claimed by the company itself.
Cyberpunk 2077 is strictly a First-Person RPG game. When CDPR first revealed this information there was an uproar in the community, from those who wanted a third person game much like the Witcher. Peculiarly enough, even the gameplay was not enough to satiate the hunger of those who were expecting a third-person shooter. Before I begin, let me clarify something, there have been countless FPS games in the past which have gained a serious reputation. Hence, the argument here is missing a base. Secondly, the FPS perspective was first deliberated over to bring out a different level of immersion, something you cannot find in third-person games. Both perspectives differ, and the FPS perspective is, at least for me, more suitable in correspondence of the atmosphere CDPR is aiming for. Rest assured, you will not be watching a walking simulator or a movie, which developers so confidently market as ‘games’ nowadays.
One of the biggest additions in the game was the introduction of a full character customisation menu which will provide the players with a diversity of features- to customise the character from head to toe. These include add-ons like tatoos, piercings, etc. The character customisation menu also allows the player to select different backstories for the character so created. These will unlock greater possibilities later in the game. Player statistics, typically found in RPG games, can be allotted from the Biostats menu, will help the players perform better in certain areas. A ‘fluid class system’ has also been placed and is fully modifiable and upgradable at will.
Takedowns are an active combat option in the game and can be used to subdue/terminate enemies silently. A lot of items from the game world can be retrieved to unlock abilities or boost stats temporarily.
Parts of the footage of the game reveals wall-banging(shooting through walls). It might be, even though it is a conjecture at this point, that the developers are aiming for a dynamic environment, something like R6S, where certain walls can be destroyed with enough firepower. Augmentations in the players’ bionic limbs or other parts of the body are also available from ‘ripper doctors’. These upgrades can either be illegal military grade or their legal counterpart. Along with that, a variety of handheld gadgets and weapons(probably upgradable) will be at the players’ disposition. Drones, turrets, and mines will be a common feature in the game. In many parts, the player may have to circumvent mines to reach the target destination.
The vision behind making Cyberpunk 2077 was to create an immersive, interactive world. The crowd and community systems have been enhanced significantly and an interactive world has been set up where the player has a lot of options. In the gameplay footage, the narrator informs the spectators about an advertisement displayed on one of the screens which serves as a guide for the player. Likewise, information about the world is conveyed in multiple ways and most of the time, organically. So, if you hear your comrade giving you orders, it is to avoid that extra tutorial screen which will make you feel like the developers are babysitting you.
Like any RPG game, apparel and items boost player stats or even provide certain attributes. And unless CDPR is thinking of a totally new model, the aforementioned ones will bring with them their own advantages and disadvantages. ‘Street Creds’ is a very neat feature implemented in the game. It is a form of experience gained by completing side-quests and can be used to unlock new content throughout the game.
The world design is quite unique in itself, cyber vibes could be felt throughout the game as the player traverses through the densely populated city. To make this easier, a range of vehicles(most probably upgradable) will be available in plenty on the streets of Night City.
Different approaches open different routes of progression and affect the story differently. Sometimes, when the situation is tough, co-operation and compliance will make it easier for the players to accomplish their goal. For players looking for action, aggression is their go-to strategy, although in the face of high-level enemies they may as well choose the former. The results are numerous.
The charm of Witcher 3 was in its exceptionally well-placed decapitation system where a certain swing of a sword could dismember part of the enemy’s body. CDPR’s Cyberpunk is a matured experience, so don’t be surprised if shots ricochet off a wall and blow someone’s head off, or if a shotgun shell dismembers someone’s forelimb.
A revolutionary feature decided by CDPR was to develop the game entirely free from the hindrance of loading screens. The decision was reached to ensure that a fully immersive experience is conferred to the players.
We have personally enquired about the release date from CDPR and so far they have denied to state it. Presumably, as they had stated in one of their teasers, the game will be ready when they think it is.
Any devout fan of the Witcher series would agree, notwithstanding the POV of the game, that the developers at CDPR are some of the most experienced, gifted people in the world. Cyberpunk 2077, a game which is revolutionising, if not genre-defining in gameplay, style, and progression, even after borrowing amply from games like Deus Ex, is anything but a clone. And in modest efforts has managed to make something extraordinarily unique from all that it has taken and amassed together. There is a genuine reason behind all the scepticism when developers are literally extorting money from people by introducing loot crates. In a world where developers have grown so shamefully desperate, the Polish developers have stood against the malpractice, giving hope to those who thought there was none. In their active protest against such anti-consumer practices, CDPR has clearly stated that their singleplayer games will be void of any and all micro-transactions. Therefore, there is no reason I would look at Cyberpunk in a deplorable manner. It is all the wrongs done right. Moreover, the gameplay is diverse, the setting is neat, although slightly clichéd, and the narrative allows the player to tailor the story in a way he wants it to. It is a quintessential RPG game nonetheless and certainly, a must buy for me.
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