Details about Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) have been trickling out of CD Projekt for years. And then, at last year's E3, CD Projekt finally showed press a behind-closed-doors demo.
All we could do at that time was describe it to you. But later, the studio released a series of blog posts breaking down the cinematic trailer frame-by-frame, and then, finally, it made the full gameplay video public. You can watch it above.
That was hardly the end of the story, though. Between E3 2018 and now, we've learned a lot more about Cyberpunk 2077—where it is in development, what's being prioritized, and who is working on it. There's no release date yet (we're hoping E3 2019 provides one), but we know a lot more now than we did then.
CD Projekt says that this year's E3 will be "the most important one" in the company's history. Now, here's the stage dressing: everything that CD Projekt has said about Cyberpunk 2077 since last E3 (or everything important, at least).
• The E3 2018 demo was "earlier" than alpha, according to CD Projekt president and CEO Adam Kiciński. That suggests a bit of a wait, but later we learned that both Cyberpunk 2077 and another CD Projekt RPG will be released by the end of 2021, and that Cyberpunk is playable from start to finish.
If that's the case, a 2020 release feels likely for Cyberpunk 2077. It could come as early as this year, but in a recent video, CD Projekt said that its work on the game is "far from over," which makes us think that late 2020 is the more likely release window.
• Cyberpunk 2077 won't be playable at E3 2019. We'll get to see it, but no touching. We also know that there will a be a behind-closed-doors demo that will be different (opens in new tab) from the public demo, and we don't have word yet on what will be made available for those not at the show, though we expect a trailer at the Microsoft conference, like last year.
• Multiplayer specialist studio Digital Scapes has joined production, though we're not sure what they're working on. Past comments confirmed that CD Projekt plans some kind of multiplayer mode alongside the expected single-player sprawl, and that could be Digital Scapes' domain. However, we learned at E3 last year that Cyberpunk won't ship with any such multiplayer mode.
We also learned that Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, a Witcher 3 creative director, joined the Cyberpunk team in March. This came after Cyberpunk narrative and setting director Sebastian Stepien left the company for Blizzard.
• In total, 400 people are working on Cyberpunk 2077 right now.
• There will be a photo mode. Or, at least, CD Projekt is planning to have one. PC Gamer is firmly pro-photo modes, so this is good news to us! We also learned that many HUD elements, including damage numbers, can be turned off.
• There are "multiple ways to resolve individual quests" and the quest design philosophy came from The Witcher 3's expansions, according to designer Patrick Mills. He also said that the cyberpunk genre is "inherently political."
• "Many" of the tall buildings will be explorable, and "each floor can house a lot of activities."
• Story is just as important as action. "You’ll experience the thrill of using cybernetic implants and high-tech weaponry in combat, sure, but there’s also depth in the story," said writer Stanislaw Swiecicki in an interview we published last November. "We want to ask questions about what identity and individuality are in a world where people are so closely connected with technology.”
• Performance optimization was considered "right at the start" of development, said lead cinematic animator Maciej Pietras last August.
• Mod tools aren't planned at launch, but CD Projekt "would love to support the modding community in the future."
• The final part of Cyberpunk 2077's development should be "better than The Witcher’s finishing period" for employees, said CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński while speaking on the studio's history and the industry-wide issue of crunch. When it comes to crunch, the company wants to be "more humane and treat people with respect," he said.
For many, many more details from over the years, here's everything we know about Cyberpunk 2077 so far. And here's when you can watch all of the E3 2019 press conferences.