Cyberpunk 2077: Everything we know about CD Projekt's next RPG

Cyberpunk 2077 was announced way back in 2012, and the past seven years of news paint CD Projekt's sci-fi RPG as a behemoth of a game, even bigger than The Witcher 3. Like The Wild Hunt, Cyberpunk 2077 is first and foremost an RPG, quest director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz said recently in an interview with AreaJugones, with "a strong narrative component" leading its FPS combat. We're getting our own close-up look at Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay at E3 2019 and can tell you about that mix of shooting and role playing soon enough.

At last year's E3, PC Gamer was among the first to sit down and watch an hour-long demo that showed off a dizzying variety of Cyberpunk's systems, character progression, and combat. CD Projekt RED promised that E3 2019 would will be the company's "most important" E3 ever, which we can now agree is true as action star Keanu Reeves came out on stage to give the game's release date at the Microsoft press conference. 

When is Cyberpunk 2077 coming out? What will its story be like? Will it really look that good? Here's everything we know about Cyberpunk 2077 so far.

What is the Cyberpunk 2077 release date?

Cyberpunk 2077 will release April 16, 2020.

At E3 this year, Keanu Reeves made an appearance at the end of the new Cyberpunk 2077 trailer as a character and then emerged on stage in person to deliver us the official release date. While our hopes for a 2019 release have been dashed, we now finally know we have less than a year to wait before playing CD Projekt RED's new game.

Is Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2019?

Cyberpunk 2077

Yes! Cyberpunk 2077 is at E3 2019 for what CD Projekt RED says is the company's "most important" E3 ever. Attendees still won't be able to get hands on a mouse or controller to play, but you can still see a bit of action in a demo presentation if you're willing to wait in line. The game is being demoed at the South Hall in the LA Convention Center, booth 1023, on June 11-13th.  

What's the latest Cyberpunk 2077 news?

  • Cyberpunk 2077 is releasing on April 16, 2020
  • Keanu Reeves is appearing as Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077
  • Cyberpunk 2077 won't have mod support at launch.
  • In early March, we learned that one of The Witcher 3's creative directors, Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, has joined the Cyberpunk development team.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 will not be exclusive to the Epic Games Store (considering GOG exists, this should surprise no one). 
  • Cyberpunk will support Nvidia RTX ray tracing

You can now pre-order Cyberpunk 2077's physical edition and collector's edition

STANDARD PRE ORDER

(Image: © CD Projekt RED)

Cyberpunk 2077's standard physical edition pre-orders will come with these physical and digital goodies:

  • Case with game discs
  • Reversible cover
  • World compendium detailing the game's setting and lore
  • Postcards from Night City
  • Map of Night City
  • Stickers
  • [Digital] Game soundtrack
  • [Digital] Art booklet
  • [Digital] Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook
  • [Digital] Wallpapers for desktop and mobile

COLLECTOR'S EDITION

(Image: © CD Projekt RED)

The Collector's Edition will land you all of the same digital rewards plus a lot of extra physical swag:

  • Collector's Edition box
  • Reversible Cover
  • Collectible steelbook
  • 25cm (10in) statue of V (the game's protagonist) in action
  • Hardcover art book
  • Metal pin set
  • Quadra VTech Metal keychain
  • Annotated copy of A Visitor's Guide to Night City sealed in an NCPD evidence bag
  • Embroidered patches
  • World Compendium detailing the game's setting and lore
  • Postcards from Night City
  • Map of Night City
  • Sticker bomb set

Where will the boxed editions of Cyberpunk 2077 be available?

Initially, CD Projekt Red said that PC players would only be able to buy Cyberpunk 2077 digitally in North America. After plenty of commentary from the North American community, CDPR confirms that it will bring the boxed editions (including the wild collector's edition) to the US. No good news for Canada though, yet.

Cyberpunk 2077's E3 2018 gameplay demo

Here it is, the video we were waiting for: 48 minutes of Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay, with some VO explaining what's going on. Further down in this article, you'll find what we learned from viewing a slightly different version of this demo at E3 2018, as well as other details from interviews and news stories spanning the past several years.

Also, check out Andy's impressions of this same demo, played slower with more time to gawk at the surroundings.

Is Cyberpunk 2077 an FPS?

Dare we say that Cyberpunk 2077 is a first-person shooter RPG? We dare. Though cutscenes and driving sometimes switch to third-person, Cyberpunk 2077 involves a lot of first-person shooting. With guns. Lots of guns. It's chaotic and fast-paced, but was less aggressive than, say, Doom. During a firefight in the opening moments of the demo, V, the main character, ducked and peeked around cover to spray a gang of organ scavengers with bullets from her automatic pistol. Like Destiny 2, numbers indicating damage dealt exploded with each landed shot—but enemies didn't feel like bullet sponges. We also love how agile V can be. 

Party members?

We know that you have at least one teammate who helps you in combat. His name is Jackie and he's a real badass. He's a big, gruff Latino man who can handle his own in a gunfight. During one boss fight, he picked up a car and used it as mobile cover. In another fight, he charged straight through a wall to tackle an especially tough enemy. He appears to be a main character and he accompanied us throughout the entire demo. It's not clear whether or not other party members can be recruited and swapped out. 

Though there's supposedly quite a bit of variety in what abilities V has, in this demo she was an agile cyberninja. She could run and slide to cover and also trigger a slow motion bullet-time mode. She also had a quick dash that let her burst in a specific direction. When bullet-time and this dash were combined, she could quickly flank enemies and deliver fatal killshots.

We also saw a ton of cool weapons, and yes, there are weapons other than guns, though again, there are a lot of guns. A street-modified Tech Shotgun could penetrate cover and enemies, which was a deadly combo when paired with V's upgraded optic implant that could show her enemies through objects. A Smart Rifle takes all the skill out of shooting by firing bullets that track enemies. You merely aim in their general direction and it'll lock onto multiple targets and fire bullets that automatically track their intended targets.

So while of course this is still a CD Projekt open-world RPG, with all the expected trappings like exploration, dialogue, skills, and so on, it's also a shooter, in first person.

Cyberpunk 2077 character creation

Cyberpunk 2077

Yep. During the demo we got a quick peak of the character creation screen, which starts with choosing your sex. From there, you can customize hair, tattoos, and clothing. It doesn't look like you can change your character's bone structure, though—no deep menu of facial feature sliders here.

You can also change your stats. There are basics like Strength and Intelligence, but also a 'Cool' stat that perhaps maps to charisma or one's ability to handle stress. The full list from what we saw in the demo: Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, Reflexes, Tech, Cool. Notably, there are some important stats from the tabletop Cyberpunk not represented here, like Empathy. More on why that's significant below.

We're sure Cool will have some other cute functions aside from charisma, as we speculate here. You can also change your backstory, which will affect how characters regard you and may open up new choices and story moments. You know, the standard RPG stuff these days.

However you customize your character, you're still one specific person: V. Not 'Vee.' Just V. You're a mercenary, and that's most of what we know so far. 

Who is Keanu Reeve's Cyberpunk 2077 character, Johnny Silverhand?

Cyberpunk 2077

Johnny Silverhand

The world basically exploded in excitement when Keanu Reeves showed up in the Cyberpunk 2077 E3 2019 trailer. It's cool enough that he's making an appearance, but it's even cooler that he's playing Johnny Silverhand, a well-known character from the original 1988 Cyberpunk tabletop game.

In the tabletop game, Silverhand is a Rockerboy, a subclass in the lore that basically acts like a traditional Dungeons & Dragons bard. His original design (pictured below) is much more rooted in the tabletop game's '80s-inspired Cyberpunk aesthetic. 2077's Silverhand is has a rougher John Wick-like vibe, but still sports his iconic cybernetic arm all the same.

Will there be romantic relationships?

Also yep. Like in The Witcher 3, you'll be able to pursue romances as V. Because Cyberpunk includes character creation, these romance options will be more diverse than they were in The Witcher series.

"There are a lot more options. You know, you're defining your own character here, which means defining their sexuality any way you want," quest designer Patrick Mills said in an interview with Game Informer. "With Geralt, you had a character whose sexuality was very well defined by the novels and the short stories and the previous games. But in this one, it's up to you to decide. We've got NPCs that are gay, we've got NPCs that are bi, we've got NPCs that are straight, because we want them to feel real and that they have preferences as well."

That's all fine and good, but after E3 2019, we have a new pressing question: Can. You. Smooch. Keanu.

Is Cyberpunk 2077 mature-rated like The Witcher 3?

Cyberpunk 2077

Yeah. Cyberpunk 2077 isn't for kids, and definitely seems to be leaning into its inevitable mature rating. In the first few minutes of the demo, V rescued a woman kidnapped by organ scavengers. She was found naked in a bathtub, and the game didn't flinch away from full nudity. There was also a ton of swearing, as expected, but also what sounded like masturbation jokes. Cyberpunk 2077 looks keen to capitalize on the style of many premium cable shows—lots of swearing and nudity, that is.

How does dialogue work?

In a lot of RPGs, dialogue sections basically put the game on pause while two characters talk stiffly back and forth. It's not the best way to deliver the story, and thankfully Cyberpunk 2077 has massive improvements in this area. While we're not 100 percent certain, all dialogue appears to happen in real-time. You can continue moving and looking around, but when you focus the camera back on the character you're speaking to, dialogue options appear on screen. There were usually three or four options at any time, which does suggest this system won't be as robust as in some other RPGs.

There's no longer the clear distinction of entering and exiting a conversation with someone. Everything flows together.

We're OK with that, though, because this new system and the first-person perspective make for some incredibly tense exchanges. When V and her sidekick Jackie arrived at a Maelstrom gang hideout with the intention of buying a powerful piece of gear, the deal almost went sour. In the middle of the dialogue sequence, characters including V started drawing weapons and pointing them at one another. Meanwhile, dialogue prompts kept appearing that let you try to steer the situation: Do you try to keep calm or open fire? In this situation, we finally managed to deescalate by showing the thugs that we had the money and weren't looking to screw them over.

In an earlier scene, V was apprehended by a group of corporate agents. These extremely deadly characters were looking for information, and mistook V as someone they were looking for. While they pinned her to the ground, they jacked into her cyberware and installed a lie detector app and began an interrogation. If we lied, they would know it immediately and there would be consequences because of that. This new system feels fluid and natural. There's no longer the clear distinction of entering and exiting a conversation with someone. Everything flows together.

What kind of abilities can you unlock?

Cyberware refers to augments that have all sorts of uses. During the demo, we visited a Ripperdoc who could upgrade and replace our cyberware. We opted for a Kiroshi Optical Implant that let us zoom in on objects and also analyze the environment, seeing enemy levels and getting detailed information about them. We also picked up a Subdermal Grip for our gun hand, which increases the damage we do when firing guns.

The implants are wildly cool, but it’s strange that they don’t seem to have downsides in a game world which—at least in its tabletop incarnation—stressed the dangerous sides of cyberware with mental illnesses like cyberpsychosis. It’s a facet of the universe that we know the developers are aware of—the 2013 reveal trailer featured a woman getting arrested by C-SWAT for going off the deep end. On the tabletop, a character’s Empathy and Humanity stats dictated how much cyberware it was safe for them to use, but Empathy seems absent from Cyberpunk 2077. 

Some Ripperdocs will also let us suit up with illegal military-grade tech.

Later on we got access to some wild toys. One piece of cyberware let V ricochet bullets around corners to kill enemies behind cover. This was accompanied by a UI element that showed you the intended path of the bullet, so you could line up shots perfectly. We also got to see V's mantis-like sword arms, which she could use to eviscerate enemies. Other upgrades let V wallrun, use bullet time, double jump, and dash forward in short bursts. There's even robots you can control remotely, like a spiderbot that can climb walls and ceilings. We didn't get to see it in action, but once we acquired the thing it followed us through levels automatically defending itself during combat.

At one point, V snuck up on an enemy and put them in a chokehold. From there, she could hack into that person's cyberware and access data about that person, some of which is just for lore. If enemies are connected together by a network, though, a bunch of new options open up. In this instance, V hacked one enemy's gun to make it stop working without him realizing. She killed the person she had put in a chokehold and then attacked the two remaining bad guys. As she finished off one, the other tried shooting only to realize his gun was jammed. His confusion created an opening for V to get in close and finish him off.

We were told that some Ripperdocs will also let us suit up with illegal military-grade tech. We can only imagine how cool that stuff will be.

How cyber are the punks?

Probably pretty cyber.

Can you drive cars in Cyberpunk 2077? 

Sure can. Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in Night City, a fictional metropolis in Northern California. The city is, by all accounts, massive. It features six districts with no loading screens between them. To help you get around, there are vehicles you can drive in either first or third person. It was hard to get a sense for how realized this part of the game is—we're not sure if there will be all the depth of simulation you see in something like Grand Theft Auto V's driving and traffic. But it did look impressive and smooth.

During one scene, V was ambushed by a truck full of organ scavengers from the first shootout. While her partner Jackie grabbed the wheel, V leaned out of the window to fire back. It was a cool moment of on-rails shooting as we flew through Night City at high speeds. CD Projekt RED says there will be many different vehicles, but we have no idea if you can pilot the cool flying cars some characters had.

How interactive are the environments?

Both in and out of combat, there were many ways we could mess with the environment. Out in the open world, for example, advertisements for products could be touched, giving you a market on your HUD where that item could be purchased. We used that to buy some soda from a vending machine that would heal us over time.

In combat we saw light destructible elements in certain areas. When fighting a boss character in an exo-suit, for example, V shot a lift holding a car to drop it to ground level, creating some on-the-fly cover to hide behind.

What does Night City look and feel like?

Thanks to some awesome crowd technology, the Cyberpunk 2077's Night City feels alive and bustling. It was incredible watching V walk through streets and seeing hundreds of characters walking, playing, talking, and fighting. It's not clear how dynamic this world is, however. We passed by a crime scene in one neighborhood, and I'd like to know whether that crime scene will ever get cleaned up or if it's a static landmark in this area.

What we really love is how deep the characters and their motivations appear to be. The world feels absolutely bursting with factions and cultures. During the demo, we were recruited by a 'fixer' named Dex to track down a piece of powerful tech as a way of proving ourselves a worthy freelancer for hire. That simple mission put us in the sights of a corporate agent in full damage control mode trying to reclaim a shipment of stolen military tech. It was a completely optional decision, but we decided to strike a deal with her and help her reclaim the kit and save face in exchange for the one item that Dex needed.

It was incredible walking through streets and seeing hundreds of characters walking, playing, talking, and fighting. It's not clear how dynamic this world is, however.

We went to the gang hideout and decided to play it cool, offering to buy the gear instead of taking it by force. Things almost went bad, but we managed to convince their leader that we were straight and he gave us the item. As he plugged the currency chip into his computer, only then did he realize it contained a virus made by the Corporate agent—she had betrayed us all and got involved when she said she wouldn't. It's almost overwhelming trying to stay on top of who is who and what they want, but it also means Cyberpunk 2077 feels fleshed out and layered in a way that few RPGs ever achieve, at least based on what we've seen so far.

Honestly, our heads are still spinning, and it's hard to say whether the full game will be able to feel as dense and intricate. We never expected that our first look would have so much to cover, which is hopefully a good sign of how much more is still to come for Cyberpunk.

What else do we know about the setting?

Night City

The cover of the Night City sourcebook. Click here to enlarge. If you're interested in the pen and paper RPG, you can pick up the roleplaying book for $30.  

Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in the year 2077—which you probably didn’t need us to tell you—and as mentioned it's set within Night City, a fictional city between San Francisco and LA (as described here, although if it's really in Del Coronado Bay it would be well south of LA) that already exists in the Cyberpunk pen and paper RPG created by Mike Pondsmith. Here’s an except from the Night City sourcebook, describing Night City as it exists in Cyberpunk 2020:

"A planned urban community founded in 1994 by the late entrepreneur Richard Alix Night (1954 - 1998). Established at the head of the Del Coronado Bay (dredged to current capacity in 1999), and facing the Pacific Ocean to the west, Night City is a modern city of the twenty-first century. Its wide streets and ultra-modern towers are home to over a million people, with another four-and-a-half million living in the greater Night City areas of Westbrook, North Oak, Heywood, Pacifica, South Night City and Rancho Coronado.

An exciting and vibrant place to live, Night City is even more fun to visit; world famous for its slogan "The City on the Edge of Tomorrow," the area hosts almost nine million tourists, conventioneers and corporate travellers every year. A planned community with an advanced rapid transit system, its own Net LDL, and a Corporate Center boasting representatives from over a dozen of the world's most powerful megacorps, Night City is a shining example of Technology Triumphant over the Trouble of the Past."

That’s an optimistic description, of course, leaving out the “mucky, nasty” parts of Night City, as Pondsmith puts it in the video above. Punks and corporate stooges of all varieties wander these foggy, once Mob-ruled streets, and by 2023, corporations are openly warring for them. Cyberpunk 2077 will show us what happened to the city in the aftermath of that war. 

“People have wondered what’s going to happen, there are clues and hints—if we told you more we’d have to kill you, as usual,” said Pondsmith during Cyberpunk 2077’s reveal in 2012, which you can watch below. “One of them is a big hint I left for everybody at the end of the fourth Corporate War, when I dropped a small pocket tactical nuke in the middle of the Arasaka Towers, and that left kind of a really large real estate space that we’re gonna be playing around with.” 

The event he’s referring to happened in 2024 on the Cyberpunk timeline, which means we step into Night City a little over 50 years after part of the downtown was destroyed and, presumably, rebuilt. 

Here are some of the other cool things from the Cyberpunk tabletop game we'd love to see, and for more on Cyberpunk 2077 itself, check out these photos of the pamphlet handed out at E3.

Will there be multiplayer?

It seems likely. CD Projekt Red has partnered with a multiplayer-focused studio to provide technology for Cyberpunk 2077. That technology isn't necessarily for a multiplayer mode, but that seems like the most obvious avenue.

At E3 2018, we learned that Cyberpunk 2077 won't launch with multiplayer, but might get some form of it after release. We first heard about multiplayer features back in 2013, but CD Projekt RED clearly knew the word could agitate its fans. "It will be a story-based RPG experience with amazing single-player playthroughs," reassured managing director Adam Badowski in a 2013 talk with Eurogamer, "but we're going to add multiplayer features."

In 2017, CD Projekt CEO Adam Kiciński said that multiplayer features would ensure Cyberpunk's "long-term success," which caused some concerns given the current kerfuffle over microtransactions, especially with Star Wars Battlefront 2's loot box progression system going over so poorly.

CD Projekt responded to the concerns with a tweet meant to reassure fans that they'll still be getting a Witcher 3-style singleplayer story. "Worry not," it said. "When thinking CP2077, think nothing less than TW3—huge single player, open world, story-driven RPG. No hidden catch, you get what you pay for—no bullshit, just honest gaming like with Wild Hunt. We leave greed to others."

But seriously, will there be microtransactions?

CD Projekt says no. The E3 2018 trailer contains a little Easter egg which confirms that there will be no microtransactions in Cyberpunk 2077. (Enlarge the image and read the red text, in which CD Projekt responds to the question: "In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?")

Can you mod the game?

Not at launch, anyway. "We have no plans to share at the moment," CD Projekt global community lead Marcin Momot said in a Cyberpunk forum thread dedicated to the topic. "Obviously, we would love to support the modding community in the future, but for the time being we want to focus on releasing the game first. Hopefully, this clears things up a bit." 

More Cyberpunk 2077

  • There'll be tall, explorable buildings with "a lot of activities."
  • There'll be a photo mode.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 quest designer says it's "inherently political" (it's cyberpunk, so yeah).
  • In 2018, CD Projekt acquired a new developer to support Cyberpunk development.
  • Witcher 3 composer Marcin Przybyłowicz is working on the soundtrack.
  • Back in 2013, the idea was floated that they may record all dialogue in each character’s language—Spanish, for instance—and have the player use a translator implant to decipher it. That sounds pretty cool, but we don't know if the idea stuck.
  • ‘Braindances,’ a form of futuristic, drug-like VR, will play a big role. "People live someone else’s life while sleeping in the gutter," lead gameplay designer Marcin Janiszewski told The Verge.

Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt RED on Cyberpunk 2077's development 

CD Projekt RED has made note of all the recent crunch culture stories uncovered at other large studios and is attempting to get in front of talks about its own crunch policies. Speaking in an interview with Kotaku, CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwiński said the studio wants to take a more "humane" approach to late-stage development by leaning more heavily into a "non-obligatory crunch policy." They aren't attempting to eliminate crunch practices altogether, but claim they want employees and the public to hold them accountable so that Cyberpunk 2077's final stretch (and months leading up to big milestones like E3) will be less soul-crushing than they were on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.  

In its financial report for the first quarter of 2019, CD Projekt RED reiterates that over 400 people are involved in the development of Cyberpunk 2077. Whether we're to understand that 400 in-house staff are dedicated to the game is uncertain. The Witcher 3, for instance, had a staff of 250 members but 1500 people involved total. The implication seems to be that Cyberpunk 2077 has a larger dedicated team, making for an even bigger game than the studio's last major release.

What's next?

We're hoping for a playable demo at E3 2019, and we think it's pretty likely to happen. A release date announcement would be great, too, but CD Projekt may just give us a release window given that it tends to stick to the 'when it's done' ethos.

E3 begins on June 11, so it won't be long until we have new information. In the meantime, here's a big feature breaking down the tabletop origins of Cyberpunk 2077.