Today CD Projekt Red released a highly edited version of its E3 gameplay demo. This public reveal was also accompanied by a new, detailed breakdown of key game systems, including character creation and hacking. The footage also showed off the game’s use of Nvidia’s ray tracing technology.
Here’s a breakdown of the highlights:
Character creation in Cyberpunk 2077 is heavily inspired by the legacy systems from the old-school tabletop role-playing game from R. Talsorian Games. Players will have the option of two different body types, one that appears traditionally male and the other female, although there’s no option to specify a gender specifically. That decision is in line with previous comments made by CD Projekt to Polygon and other outlets at E3.
From there, players will choose from three different “Life Paths,” which serve to give them a cursory backstories. Those include Street Kid, Nomad, and Corporate. From the demo:
Street kid: They say if you wanna understand the street, you gotta live ‘em. Gangs, fixers, dolls, small-time pushers — you were raised by them all. Down here the law of the jungle dictates the weak serve the strong — the only law in Night City is you have yet to break.
Nomad: Roaming the Badlands, locating scrapyards, raiding fuel depots — life on the road wasn’t easy. But growing up in a nomad clan has its perks. Honesty, integrity, and a love of freedom — qualities that few in Night City possess, and no amount of money can buy.
Corporate: Few leave the corporate world with their lives — fewer still with their souls intact. You’ve been there — you’ve bent the rules, exploited secrets, and weaponized information. There’s no such thing as a fair game, only winners and losers.
The most unusual option here is Nomad, which effectively marks the player as an outsider and a non-native of Night City.
In the lore of the tabletop game, set about 30 years prior to the events in CD Projekt’s game, Nomads are powerful groups of literal road warriors. They formed close-knit clans and struggled to survive in a Mad Max-style apocalypse that played out for generations all throughout the interior of the United States.
By 2045, Nomads have inherited control over the flow of goods and services all around the world. They also are big players in the realm of space travel, maintaining supply routes to the off-world Highriders, descendants of laborers and engineers now living in space.
After selecting a background, players will use a point-based attribute system to assign values to five different stats: Body, Intelligence, Reflexes, Technical, and Cool.
Hanging off these core attributes are sub-attributes. Body impacts the player’s skill with Shotguns and Two-Handed weapons, but also Athletics checks and Melee attacks. Cool impacts things like Assassination, Nerve, and your skill with Sniper Rifles. Meanwhile, Technical influences how good a character is at Engineering alone.
Clothing, armor, and crafting
Another screen also updates our understanding of how clothing and armor works in the game. Players will have an overall health score, but also four different types of resistances including Physical, Thermal, Chemical, and Electrical. Individual clothing options appear to have multiple slots for adding equipment and perks, so your character’s look won’t necessarily need to be limited by the resistances they need to make it through a given combat scenario.
There was also a new tab shown in the background of one screen, labeled crafting. We’re not quite sure how that system will be used yet.
CD Projekt has always been fairly wishy-washy on how Cyberpunk’s hacking mini-games will work. Today we got our first good look at Netrunning, which will allow you to take control of cameras, doors, and weapon systems in the game world. The implementation also feels heavily inspired by the new tabletop game, which has been praised for revising its Netrunning gameplay over the original.
Each player will have a Cyberdeck, an implant that allows them to interact with computers in the world through a port connected to a cable in their wrist. Cyberdecks allow a player to connect to the many disparate networks scattered throughout Night City.
Each player’s Cyberdeck will have a “buffer” that acts as a sort of spell book, holding a finite number of “programs” that can be used at a moment’s notice. Each program is represented by a number and a letter; the demo showed a grid of 25 programs on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen were a number of available hacks, each requiring multiple programs. Options included things like “Camera log” and “Officer training,” as well as secured data caches. Players mix and match programs while the clock ticks down, racing to match as many of the available options as possible before they’re discovered.
That means, under most circumstances, there’s no way to hack the entire system. Instead, players must pick and choose what parts to crack. But you never know exactly what you’ll get; you’ll need to guess at what you might be unlocking every time you perform a hack. That leaves room for CD Projekt to embed interesting narrative elements or perhaps unintended, story-based consequences for even the most successful hacks.
Once successfully hacked, new options for interactions hover over objects in the game-world, each one represented as a contextual option on the in-game HUD. They allow you to cause distractions — causing a vending machine to spit out soft drinks for instance — or set traps.
Cyberpunk 2077 will be released on April 16, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC (via GOG, Steam, and the Epic Games Store), as well as on the Xbox One. It will also be available for Google Stadia.