The gaming world is sitting with its breath collectively held as the release date of Cyberpunk 2077 draws near. It’s safe to say that this is the most anticipated video game of the year, and perhaps even the decade. Those looking for entertainment in the interim can however enjoy pokies whenever they please online.
Hype for the game is at an almost never before seen level, to such an extent that many are starting to suggest that the end product will never live up to expectation. Even still, as September draws near, and pre-orders have opened, the gaming world has practically crowned Cyberpunk 2077 the best thing ever, surpassing even sliced bread.
The question is, is CD Projekt Red (CDPR) even capable of delivering the promised breakthrough?
CD Projekt Red
First and foremost, let’s have a little gander at the development studio behind Cyberpunk 2077. CDPR was officially founded in 1994, though at the time made its money reselling Western games to a polish audience.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s that the team decided to try producing a game of their own, and after looking around, managed to land a deal with Andrzej Sapkowski, author of the then popular Wiedźmin books.
After much struggling, multiple failed pitches, and nearly giving up, the team managed to get help from Bioware. The bigger studio licensed them a far better set of software tools than they had previously been working with. Development then began in earnest, and after 5 long years, a product was finalised. But the name Wiedźmin was not going to fly in the west. A new name was brainstormed; The Witcher.
Flash forward to 2011, and the critically acclaimed Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is released. 1.7 million copies are sold, and CDPR are catapulted into the gaming industry like a rocket. Flash forward again to 2015, and the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is released. 6 million copies are sold in 6 weeks. It is a smash hit.
That more or less brings us to the present, and you may have noticed something during this little recap. Although being active for a very long time, CDPR haven’t exactly made a lot of games. Even if you count the digital board game version of the Witcher, the mobile battle arena game, and Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales.
Specified Features And Details
Having Keanu Reeves call an audience at E3 breath-taking is the sort of thing that legends are made of. He has a staring roll in Cyberpunk 2077, and hiring him can’t have come cheap. But if you think that is expensive, how about the development of the new REDengine 4, a new office with 500 dedicated employees in Poland, and the design of an entire virtual city?
The setting, Night City, will be exportable on foot or via vehicle, will have a day and night cycle, and even have its own set of radio stations. Yes, you’re probably thinking that this is starting to sound like GTA 5 part 2, in the future.
In terms of actual gameplay, some details have been released, as well as a handful of gameplay videos. Players assume the role of V, a customisable cyborg mercenary that can assume the class of a Techie, Net Runner, or Solo (combat) focused soldier. Missions can be approached as the player sees fit, of course, with stealth being an option.
There is a whole additional list of details and features that are being worked on, including real-time lip-syncing, improved motion capture, collaborations with NVidia to implement ray tracing, and much, much more.
So, why are we a little worried?
Ambition Gone Crazy
The only other company that has tried, and succeeded, to make RPGs of this scale is Rockstar. The difference is that Rockstar have made; GTA 1, GTA 2, GTA 3, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, GTA 4, GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2, Max Payne 3, and a host of other, smaller titles. The point is that making enormous, hugely ambitious games is no easy task, and having experience with the process helps. CDPR certainly seem capable, but the phrase ‘out of their depth’ comes to mind. Cyberpunk 2077 may indeed be the greatest RPG ever, or may just be the biggest damp squib in history.