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Cyberpunk 2077 characters may speak in multiple languages

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Characters in Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red's upcoming science-fiction RPG, may speak in their native language, said lead writer Sebastian Stepien in an interview with Dubscore (translated by a user on the game's forums).

Night City, the setting of Cyberpunk 2077, is an diverse metropolis, with people and languages from around the world. CD Projekt Red is considering recording every character's voice in their native tongue, and the player would have to buy a translation implant in order to understand them.

"We're thinking about a system that could tell the world's story," said Stepien. "The idea is to record everything in original languages, i.e. if we'll meet Mexicans in the game, they'll be taking [sic] — Mexican slang even, portrayed by Mexican actors."

The quality of the translator implant would vary, said Stepien: A more expensive and advanced one would give you a more accurate translation.

"You can't reliably recreate street slang of Los Angeles or some other American city; you can't simply dub it and reproduce those emotions, rhythm of speech, mannerisms," Stepien continued. "Otherwise we'd simply hear that Polish actors are trying to imitate Americans. That won't work." Stepien's concern is understandable — some critics argued the same issue made Heavy Rain's dialogue break the cohesive feel of its game world.

Stepien cautioned that "as of yet no decisions have been made." Cyberpunk 2077 is set for release in 2015 and is in development on CD Projekt's new RedEngine 3. For more details, check out our interview with Stepien.