VIDEO: Cyberpunk 2077 is more like The Witcher 3 than you'd think, also on YouTube (opens in new tab).
Most of Cyberpunk 2077's seven years of marketing depict a wholly cynical world where everyone replaces every other word with some awkward future slang, and on-rails car chase shootouts take priority over the subtle stuff that makes for a truly good RPG.
We've been a bit worried at PC Gamer, crowding around every new demo and trailer hopeful that some of the excellent writing and oddball quests we loved in The Witcher 3 would somehow turn up in the marketing material for Cyberpunk 2077. Not so. It's cooled our anticipation for one of the most curious games of the decade over the years.
But with Andy Kelly's recent 15-hour hands-on session with Cyberpunk 2077, he's crawled out of Night City to report that all that edgy marketing? It's just marketing, baby. Cyberpunk has plenty of heart.
On this week's episode of The PC Gamer Show, Andy tells me Cyberpunk 2077 has plenty of small touches and well considered characters that readily recall some of the best Witcher 3 quests—The Bloody Baron in particular.
For the full conversation, check out the video up top. You're going to want to hear about Brendan, the sentient vending machine. And for even more on Cyberpunk 2077, listen to this week's episode of The PC Gamer Show. Andy and I go on for 45 minutes about future fashion, how nice the katanas feel, playing a nice guy in an awful world, and Keanu of course.
The marketing problem
Andy: The quest everyone talks about in The Witcher 3 is The Bloody Baron quest which is a great mix of horror, action, and really strong well-written moving pathos.
James: Amazing characters.
Andy: Yeah, great performances, and I got a real vibe of The Bloody Baron quest, where, there's a character called Judy Alvarez who's a braindance editor expert… you team up with her quite a lot in the story. So once you've ended your time with her in the story you can then pursue loads more sidequests to get to know the character, and she's actually one of the best characters.
But a bunch of really bad stuff happens to Judy, and there are some really quite quiet, tender moments between V and her as a result of this stuff, and you can console her and be understanding. You can also be a dick and say 'Yeah, whatever, get over it', but I could never bring myself to do that, especially since I really liked the character.
CDPR aren't going to show a scene in the big E3 trailer of Judy and V sitting on a bed having a heart-to-heart, but all that stuff's in there which is really encouraging because I went in there with the same worries: is it just going to be future slang and people shouting motherfucker and gangsters and all these really loud, over-the-top characters? But there's humanity in there, and it feels like it plays out in similar ways to some of the Witcher quests.
On being a nice V
Andy: I think in those trailers and gameplay clips, whoever's playing has chosen to be the edgelord douchebag V for the sake of the trailers, whereas my V was way nicer and way cooler, I thought.
James: You can be nice V?
Andy: Yeah, you can be really nice, which was quite surprising.
James: I like the idea of that. This horrible world, but you're chill and cool.