Cyberpunk 2077 is almost here and, frankly, we’re still a little confused as to what – exactly – the game is going to be. So far, we’ve had every promise under the sun, and most of us have swallowed them happily without a question or regret thanks to CD Projekt Red’s spotless reputation. But doubts are starting to creep up as seemingly “fundamental” changes are being made seemingly late in the game, foremost among them the announcement of an online mode and the switch to a full first-person presentation.
The last part, in particular, seems to have people worried as most everything we were shown before that was from a third-person, Witcher-esque perspective. Since most of the frame of reference for CD Projekt Red games and their quality comes from The Witcher series, it was jarring to see such a big change because it hinted that this game might be fundamentally different than The Witcher series. In other words, everything we thought we knew about Cyberpunk 2077 ended up resting on a lot of assumptions that maybe we should have discarded a long time ago.
Don’t get me wrong – the change is strange and interesting at the same time, but it could lead to a more immersive experience. One thing I think that will separate Cyberpunk 2077 from The Witcher will be the much greater emphasis on “playing a role.” In The Witcher, you are Geralt of Rivia, but in Cyberpunk 2077, you write your own story. That makes sense since the game is based on IP drawn from a board game property along the same lines as Dungeons and Dragons. Given that, concerns about the sudden change in perspective are exaggerated and maybe somewhat emotionally overwrought. But the reasons that underpin the concern are real, even if it is expressed in an extreme way.
The second thing that has people worried is the sudden announcement of an online mode. Knowing CD Projekt Red, this won’t be something tacked on and done just to appease some folks out there in the gaming world and in the boardroom. We get it that online is everything, but the sudden inclusion of that with Cyberpunk 2077 throws a wrinkle into everything we thought we knew. After all, though some single-player games end up making awesome multiplayer games, it is rarely the case that a divided development effort results in two equally amazing games. Because, let’s face it, online is different than a single-player experience.
An afterthought of an online mode would do more damage than good but it’s hard to know what stage and how much time has gone into developing it. It’s a “we’ll have to wait and see” situation. That’s kind of tough given the deafening hype surrounding this game. People want to know now and they want to plan accordingly. Sadly, I think a lot of the nitty gritty details of Cyberpunk 2077 won’t be revealed until very close to launch but, even so, there’s no cause for concern given the track record of the developer. It will either be one of the best games ever made or a massive disappointment. There’s really no middle area here, and CD Projekt Red knows that.