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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 covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.