Cyberpunk 2077 will not have a morality system

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

RPGs often try to model "morality" as an explicit system through things like NPC reactions, character appearance, or endgame outcomes. It's a tricky thing to get right, and not just because the world is rarely black and white. With no real consequences for their actions, there's nothing stopping players from metagaming for a specific outcome, or murdering every NPC in town when they get bored.

CD Projekt will avoid trying to separate right from wrong as a game mechanic in Cyberpunk 2077 by simply not having a morality system at all. Choices will have consequences (it wouldn't be much of an RPG otherwise) but quest director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz told GamingBolt that grappling with the big philosophical questions of the universe—"Is it okay to kill people for money?" for instance—will be left entirely to the player and their conscience.

"We don’t have a moral system per se," Tomaszkiewicz said. Instead, he explained, Cyberpunk 2077 opens the door to more or less "moral" behavior, and players can step through or burn the house down as they see fit.

"To complete it non-lethally you have to be very good at stealth," he said. "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."

I think that sounds like a smart approach. Metagaming for an optimal outcome, whatever it may be, is really just a distraction, and especially so in a game as complex and interconnected as Cyberpunk 2077 promises to be. Better to just get out of the way and let players decide for themselves what they can live with.

Cyberpunk 2077 comes out on April 16, 2020. There may not be morality, but there will be love.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.