Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) is set in the sci-fi sprawl of Night City, but you'll also be able to pop outside the skyscraper prison and explore the lovely outdoors. Beyond the city you'll find the Badlands, a district filled with ruins and largely abandoned after droughts and other crises.
"The Badlands are the surrounding district around the Night City," lead quest designer Pawel Sasko told VG24/7 (opens in new tab). "Players can leave Night City and just explore that area—an area that is mostly sort of destroyed basically after all the droughts and everything that happened in the 50 years from 2020 to '77. And you can explore that, there are specific quests prepared for that, also open world content, so that’s definitely covered. It’s not only the city that you’re visiting."
The Badlands aren't entirely empty, and just as every district has a ruling gang, the outskirts are controlled by nomads. You can even choose nomad as your background and begin the game hanging out with your family of nomads.
"These are people who live on the road most of the time, so they travel between the states and see the wastes, and sometimes they stop for a longer time near specific cities," quest director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz told Game Informer (opens in new tab).
Cyberpunk 2077 will have six main districts, as well as some sub-districts, though the game's final size hasn't been settled on. It's a "substantial" open world, Tomaszkiewicz said, but exactly how long it will take you to travel across is hard to determine while it's still in development.
We also learned about cyberspace at E3. Technically it's another way to leave Night City, letting you take a trip into the virtual realm. Like the Badlands, though, it doesn't like a pleasant place, and jacking in is a big risk.
"Basically the cyberspace in our game is this extremely dark, grim place from the past," Sasko told us in our Cyberpunk 2077 E3 interview (opens in new tab). "It's a past that has been divided by the black wall." You need help to get in, but as a Netrunner you can also hack enemies and turrets by using your cyberware tool, which is less risky.
So we can explore the wasteland and hack into cyberspace, but sadly we won't be able to drive those fancy flying cars (opens in new tab).