One of the hottest games coming out of E3 2019 is undoubtedly Cyberpunk 2077. With its intricately designed open world, you can take on locations your way. Face hordes of enemies head-on, or find hidden paths to sneak around them.
Promising a fully customizable and interchangeable character class system, you can design your character to fit your preferred play style and edit him or her exactly how you want along the way. With so many unanswered questions still out there about Cyberpunk 2077, we had a chance to sit down with CD Projekt RED’s Quest Director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz to figure out what answers we could uncover about their next big game.
"We are trying to take the experience from The Witcher 3 in order to create the same quality of quests – in terms of side quests and main quests. We are still sticking to choices and consequences, handcrafted designs and so on. On top of that we’re adding this element that brings more quality and more interesting outcomes to specific quests."
It’s been about a year since we saw Cyberpunk 2077. What can you tell us about the improvements CD Projekt Red have made to the game since then?
I think the biggest improvement we’ve made so far, and the one we wanted to highlight with this specific demo was introducing this layer of gameplay narrative to the game. This is what we showed in the mall in Pacifica. We show you that the different skills you develop can impact the way you play through these levels — through these missions in a very heavy way.
For example, you can choose to shoot your way through with heavy weapons, with light weapons, you can stealth through, you can hack different devices, you can use specific skills to open new passages. Like, if you invest heavily into strength, you can open specific passages that would otherwise be not available to you. I think this is one big thing we didn’t show last year.
How deep are you into development?
There are a number of systems we are still working on. For example, the driving mode, and the shooting, and so on. We are iterating on those. We are still working on assets, the game is still being published, and so on.
Let’s talk about quests and side quests. The Witcher 3 has better written side quests than most games manage even for their main campaigns. They were quite long too. How will Cyberpunk 2077 top that?
First of all, we are trying to take the experience from The Witcher 3 in order to create the same quality of quests – in terms of side quests and main quests. We are still sticking to choices and consequences, handcrafted designs and so on. On top of that we’re adding this element that brings more quality and more interesting outcomes to specific quests. Because in The Witcher, when you reached the combat it ended one way, right? You defeated your enemies by sword, bombs, or signs. This time around [in Cyberpunk 2077] you can avoid combat altogether, you can find different passages. You utilize the skills that you develop in your character the way you want the game to be played.
Speaking on the moments you’ve mentioned about completing the game without killing anyone, are there any advantages or disadvantages to that? Is there any sort of moral system for those types of accomplishments?
We don’t have a moral system per se. However, to complete it non-lethally you have to be very good at stealth. Invest in points that allow you to stealth better, use weapons that will allow you to incapacitate the enemy instead of killing them, to make the moral choices that will allow you to avoid killing people throughout the game.
"It’s a huge challenge. We’ve got some big shoes to fill. It’s a big game to follow up, right? The Witcher 3 was so popular and so beloved by the fans. So of course, a lot of people had thoughts about this. We want to deliver a game better than just on-par."
How did development feel going from the art direction of The Witcher 3 to such a drastic change that appears in Cyberpunk 2077?
It took us multiple years to figure out how we wanted to approach the game. At first, we started somewhere by the time The Witcher 3 was already in development. We created a smaller team that started working on the setting itself. How does it relate to the original [Cyberpunk] 2020; how the architecture and art style should be, and so on. It was a long process that took multiple years between the writers, between the concept artists, between the artists from The Witcher 3 project, and so on. It was a lot of work and a huge challenge since it was a new setting for us. But I think we’ve reached something very special and something truly interesting.
The Witcher 3 is one of the greatest games of this generation. Do you feel nervous that all your games will be compared to it in terms of expectations?
Of course. It’s a huge challenge. We’ve got some big shoes to fill. It’s a big game to follow up, right? The Witcher 3 was so popular and so beloved by the fans. So of course, a lot of people had thoughts about this. We want to deliver a game better than just on-par. It is a different game, for sure. But at the same time we wanted to take our experiences from previous games in building this game.
How many different kinds of weapons will this game have? Also, can you talk about their customization?
You can customize the weapons in a number of ways. You can attach scopes, you can attach silencers, things like those. It’s based, of course, on a specific weapon and how many slots for improvements do they have. As for how many types of weapons we have— I remember just a number of them. But we have quite many of them. So there are melee weapons: katana, hammer, knife, Nanowire — which is basically these wires that you can use to fight. But you can also use them if you’re a Netrunner to hack remotely into people or devices. On top of that we have a number of ranged weapons: we have heavy guns, light guns, light machine guns, revolvers, sniper rifles.
How has the augmentation system evolved in the last year?
The augmentation system works in a way that you can replace different body parts. So you can replace your legs, arms, chest, nervous system, and so on. The amount of customization is quite vast. Once you, for example, replace your legs with cyberware legs you can double jump. Which gives you access to specific new places you wouldn’t have otherwise. On top of that you can also upgrade what you’ve already installed. For example, the double jump legs. You can upgrade them with silence for running to help with stealth. We were working on the designs for cyberware for quite a while. Thinking of different things we could do with it. I think the designers by now have a pretty cool design of what they want to have in the game. It is in development.
"The city of course, is not only the landmass, but also the buildings."
Is there any one cool feature that you guys are doing for the very first time in Cyberpunk 2077?
A number of them actually. Since we worked on fantasy games before we never did driving cars. We never did gun play. We never did the skill checks — which I’m really excited about. That’s one of the things we showed in the demo. Now we have the system of life path that leads to additional dialogue options, that can push the narrative in specific quests in different directions. For example, if you have a corporal background when you’re talking to other agents, you have more knowledge of how they operate and how to talk to them to reach your goals. As a street kid you wouldn’t have that knowledge. But you use that knowledge [of being a street kid] on the gangs, right?
How dense will the game world be and will there be an abundance of things to explore and find?
The game is quite big in terms of content. There are six main districts in the city, divided into subdistricts. We like to call them different biomes. Meaning that they have different architecture, they have different groups— like gangs. It feels like totally different worlds to me, personally. There are differences you might expect between the districts. On top of that we have the badlands, which are the areas around the city. This kind of wasteland is where the nomads sometimes tread, and people from the city don’t actually go there. A lot of these areas have their own points of interest, side quests, things to find. So there’s a lot to do. We’re looking forward to it.
What can you tell us about the vertical elements in the game?
The city of course, is not only the landmass, but also the buildings. There is a number of them that you can enter. Not all of them, but a number of them you can enter that we have prepared content for. They have levels, and you can traverse these levels in different ways. This adds a lot of space to the city, I would say.
Will there be any romantic relationship systems within the game?
We have a number of romances throughout the game that you could participate in. You can form relationships as you make choices in the narrative. The exact amount I would rather not divulge at this point. I don’t want to spoil the story. But we do have relationships.
The Witcher 3 was announced to release on Nintendo Switch here at E3. Is there a chance Cyberpunk 2077 can make it in there, or is it too big for the system to support?
Right now we are focusing on only three platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4.
"I’m really excited about this game. I was excited to be introduced to the game to improve the role-playing experience for the player. I’m really excited that we can have these features in the game."
Are there any plans for post-launch DLC?
At this moment we are focusing on the content for the main game. We still have work to do. We have a release date as you know. That’s what we’re focusing on right now.
The game looks visually stunning. We’re at the end of this generation with Xbox Scarlett having been announced for a holiday 2020 release. Is Cyberpunk 2077 possibly a cross-gen game?
Right now we’re focusing on these three platforms that I mentioned. And that’s what we’re putting all our efforts into right now.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m really excited about this game. I was excited to be introduced to the game to improve the role-playing experience for the player. I’m really excited that we can have these features in the game.