“You have to live with the consequences.”
CD Projekt RED have demonstrated over the years with three games, The Witcher 3 in particular, that they can deliver truly engrossing narratives that lean heavily on player choice, choices that have no right or wrong answers and have have unexpected results at unexpected times. That’s something that they’re, obviously, going for in Cyberpunk 2077 as well, which is something they’ve spoken of quite a bit in the past as well.
Recently, while speaking with Polish Youtube channel arhn2eu, Philipp Weber, who is the senior quest designer on Cyberpunk 2077, spoke a bit more about the game’s choice and consequence mechanics, and provided some pretty interesting insight.
“One thing we also want to do is, every choice has a consequence, or can have multiple consequences,” Weber said. “So maybe whatever you do in this one quest has maybe also a consequence in two or three other quests, which will then also go even further.”
Weber then went on to talk about these choices a bit more deeply, mentioning the fact that the right and wrong choices won’t always be clear, and that, at times, they may not even present their consequences on the story until several hours later in the game.
“The thing is, we want to tell a realistic story,” said Weber. “So we’ll never tell you if one of your choices is good or bad. You have to think about what you think is right. Sometimes, what you think is right, that’s the good thing, yeah. Sometimes, like in real life, it’ll be a good thing, and you’ll have a good consequence for it. But sometimes, how things are can go to the side.”
“The thing is, we don’t want you to expect what happens,” he continued. “Because then it gets boring, and then you’re just like ‘oh yeah, good answer, good answer, good answer’. We want to make a mature game. And part of that is, there’s violence, there’s sex, but that also means we want to make a game for adults, and we want to make you feel emotions, but we also want to make you use your head.
“Maybe sometimes you have to think about something, and and you thought that this was a good idea. And maybe it comes back later, with a big consequence that you didn’t expect, and now you have to live with it. Because one thing we also like to do is, sometimes the consequence comes five hours later, just like in real life. And then you might not just want to load your saved game, and go ‘ah, I’ll just re-do that choice’. Then you have to live with this consequence, but you know, it’s part of your story. And for me, I think that is how we can tell the best story in an adult game.”
That seems to be in line with what we’d have expected from a game being developed by CDPR. You can check out the aforementioned interview in the video below. Recently, they also spoke about quests, and how, for instance, failing a quest can have consequences on the story as well. Read more on that here.