Update (August 27): See it for yourself in the 4K Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay video released by CD Projekt.
Original story: Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) is a first-person shooter. Let that sink in a bit: the next RPG from CD Projekt RED, the successor to The Witcher 3, is going first-person, and almost entirely first-person, we learned from a demo session at E3 today.
While certain cutscenes will play out with a view of your character, who can be either a man or woman, the entirety of the regular game except driving happens in first person. There are still stats that influence your abilities and weapons, and damage is dealt similar to other RPG shooters like Destiny 2 and The Division, with health bars appearing above bad guys and numbers jumping out to show how much damage your bullets are doing.
Though it's a first-person shooter, there's a ton of versatility in combat. Later in the demo we were shown, 'V,' the main character, deployed arm blades similar to what was shown in Cyberpunk 2077's first concept art. While there are no structured classes, stats, abilities, and augments influence how you can approach combat and dialogue. In this demo, V was built to be a cyberninja who could wall run, double jump, and ambush enemies with insta-kill melee moves using her arm blades.
The only time you'll jump out to a third-person view (except cutscenes) is when you get in a vehicle. That's another bit of news: there are cars, and vehicular combat, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise after the reveal trailer. During the offhands demo, the player was able to drive around the city at will in either first or third person, but in one "random encounter" a group of gang members attacked. While the player's teammate, Jackie, took the wheel, the player leaned out of the window to shoot back.
Update: CD Projekt has pushed back against the description of Cyberpunk as an FPS, saying on Twitter that it's a "first-person RPG."
To all of you asking - you’ll have many opportunities to see your character. It’s going to be First Person RPG, not a FPS. https://t.co/CL3ltfcaAeJune 12, 2018
It is somewhat a semantic dispute—'FPS' can describe a certain style of game (eg, Wolfenstein), or literally mean 'you shoot from a first-person view.' The latter is absolutely the case, and what we mean. There are lots of guns, there's cover, sliding, wall-runs, all the sorts of things we've seen in recent first-person shooters like Titanfall 2. At the same time, it is open world with the storytelling, dialogue, exploration, and progression associated with RPGs, as opposed to the linear progression sometimes associated with FPSes (but that has not defined them for a long time).
The distinction between genres is so blurred, with many 'shooters' having adopted RPG elements, and RPGs likewise taking on action game traits, that the important thing to take away is not so much any genre categorization, but the simple fact that you'll be running, taking cover, aiming, and shooting in a first-person view. That's not everyone's cup of tea, though we are very excited about what we've seen.
Stay tuned: loads more detail to come.