Among Valve's many, many projects is Proton, a piece of software that acts as a compatibility layer, allowing Windows games to run on Linux operating systems. Originally launched in 2018, Proton integrates with Steam and makes playing supported titles on Linux as simple as pressing 'play.'
Valve coder Pierre-Loup Giffrais last night announced that, thanks to CDPR providing early access to the game, the latest Proton build 5.13-4 will now let you run Cyberpunk 2077.
Proton 5.13-4 is now available, with Cyberpunk 2077 support! Currently requires an AMD card and Mesa git. Major thanks to the team over at CD PROJEKT RED for letting us test a build, as there was plenty of vkd3d and radv work needed to get there.December 9, 2020
Giffrais advises that the game will currently best run with an AMD GPU and Mesa, though users are reporting some success using alternative setups, including Nvidia cards. This is of a piece with Proton compatibility generally, where there's a sizeable list of titles that Valve whitelists as officially working, but also a huge number of others that work regardless (ProtonDB collates reports on what's supported).
Naturally it's not yet perfect, not least because Cyberpunk 2077 seems to be buggy as all hell. One user netsec-burn ended up with this incredible 'no faces' bug.
But the real story here is that you can play the biggest game of the year on Linux on the day it's released, something that would have seemed ludicrous in the recent past. Gaming support on Linux is now of a standard where PC Gamer's own staff have converted Windows gaming PCs into Linux systems (and some games even seem to benefit). Who knows: maybe on Cyberpunk 2078 release day, we'll be back here with a native version.