CD Projekt Red brought Cyberpunk 2077 expansion Phantom Liberty to this year's Summer Game Fest, and Morgan was immediately smitten with its new area, Dogtown. (He also keeps calling Idris Elba his new best friend, and it's so sweet none of us have had the heart to correct him yet). From that demo we learned about the latest in CD Projekt's ongoing march to patch over Cyberpunk's glaring flaws, including new police AI with a GTA-style notoriety system, a skill tree for combat augments, and expanded car combat. But what comes after Phantom Liberty?
According to an interview with Bloomberg, director Gabe Amatangelo will be moving on to the sequel.
"Amatangelo said that after Phantom Liberty he will direct a full-blown sequel to Cyberpunk 2077," writes Bloomberg's Jason Schreier. Directing Cyberpunk 2078 (a fake title I have just made up) is an impressive role for Amatangelo, who joined CD Projekt Red in January 2020, in the final year of Cyberpunk 2077's development. He took over as game director in May 2021, and this year picked up a VP title. Before joining CD Projekt, Amatangelo served as a design director on DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
CD Projekt announced in October 2022 that a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077, codenamed Orion, was planned. It's nice to get confirmation that it's in the steady hands of the game director who's delivered the last few updates.
Amatangelo's role on the project is now only the second bit of information we know about Orion—the first being that CD Projekt plans to switch over to Unreal Engine 5, rather than using its own REDengine. Games of Cyberpunk's size still no doubt involve the creation of tons of in-house tech regardless, but it'll be interesting to see whether the move to Unreal Engine 5 is a boon for the sequel, or proves to be a difficult transition.
"Based only on what I actually played, Phantom Liberty is so far a second helping of Cyberpunk 2077," Morgan wrote in his preview. "If it were still 2021 that would've been a hard sell for me, but last year's Edgerunners update smoothed over some of the game's worst problems and let its best qualities shine—the characters, guns, cars, and unbelievably pretty city. If the Phantom Liberty update does the same, I'm hopeful it'll be the expansive sendoff that Blood and Wine was for The Witcher 3."