IGN have posted new details on CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, a mature RPG with sandbox elements and RPG mechanics based on the pen and paper system.
Combat: Cyberpunk hasn’t been as easy to adapt as a video game as you might think. Pen and paper mechanics have been the foundation of many digital RPGs over the years, but they do not translate well into the kind of game that CDP is trying to make. “The game mechanics are totally different on paper, they don’t work in video games because they would be super boring,” Mateusz says.
“The main problem is that the original system is based on dice rolls. When you think about Cyberpunk you think about shooting, action, a lot of explosions. But that doesn’t fit dice rolls in a video game. We want to make it more action-like – there will be a system that lets you use active skills actually in the gameplay in a shooting sequence or something like that, rather than just passive skills like in the books.”
Character Customization: Character customisation, for instance, was necessarily not an option in Geralt’s world. But in Cyberpunk 2077, it’s self-defined role-playing: your style and personality will have deep and far-reaching effects on the world and how it reacts to you. “We will have several features that allow you to create your [visual] style, and your style will affect gameplay, storyline and relationships between characters,” explains creative director Sebastian Stepien. “Your appearance and your dress will change the behaviour of NPCs, and also the story also in some parts,” Mateusz adds. Style and appearance works together with the personality you create for your character and express in conversation to determine how the world reacts to you.
Dialog System: “It’s about telling story via what happens, not cutscenes or other features,” Mateusz says. “To do that we need to create a totally new unique dialogue system – we’re doing that right now, it should be awesome.”
Plot Focus: “The psycho squad is just one of many cool elements in this world," Sebastian explains. “We had several ideas for this short teaser and had to focus on one of them. Augmentations and cyberware is a big subject in the world, and that’s why it’s in the teaser. But it won’t be a game about police hunting cyber-psychos. That’s a sub-plot… The story will be low-level. We are not going to save the world, or even save a city. We are focused on the main character and his problems, or her problems.”
Release Date/Etc: CD Projekt is taking its time with Cyberpunk 2077. It almost certainly won't be out before 2015 on PC - nothing's confirmed, but it seems likely given The Witcher 3's simultaneous release that it will appear on the next-gen consoles too. The team is still playing around and experimenting with ideas, throwing things like multiplayer and prototyping. But the vision is firmly in place, and you get the impression that it has been since before CDP even started work on this project. If I were Mike Pondsmith, I'd have confidence in them too.