Cyberpunk 2077 will certainly be a game with style, but what will the game's reported photo mode add to the mix?
Our sister site GamesRadar spotted this teasing video on the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account, with a glitching view of Night City's buildings and flashing lights, and a camera symbol superimposed over the top.
#CaptureCyberpunk#PhotosFromNightCity pic.twitter.com/7YRwEevkjIOctober 7, 2019
We first caught wind of a Cyberpunk 2077 photo mode back in September last year, when the same Twitter account responded to a fan asking about inclusion of a photo mode, saying that "We are planning to have it", and the #PhotosFromNightCity hashtag in the post above certainly angles it as a significant feature.
It's could well be a minor section of the game, possibly largely as an interactive way to appreciate and record the prettiest (bleakest?) moments from the large-scale dystopian noir video game.
Of course, consoles these days usually come with a screenshot feature baked in, with the PlayStation 4 controller's touchpad and Nintendo Switch screenshot button allowing a quick way to record visual evidence of your progress throughout a game. (Sure, we usually never look at them again, but that's not the point, ok? )
We get the feeling this is somewhat different, and that it may have a more active role in Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay.
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What could photo mode be used for?
There are a few examples of in-game photography work really being put to a purpose, not least one of the greatest open world games of recent times, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which allowed you to track the locations of creatures or monsters you'd snapped with the Sheika Slate/oversized smartphone you're given at the start of the game. (There was a similar camera mechanic in Wind Waker, centered around showing NPCs evidence of your adventures.)
You also can't avoid talking about Beyond Good and Evil, which despite having somewhat clunky camera controls on the Xbox 360 managed to make photography a central and crucial part of the game.
Then of course there's Pokémon Snap, which could be said to have started the trend for photography gameplay, needing you to capture Pokemon onscreen in a creature safari to progress to new areas or trigger surprise evolutions.
Given the sci-fi nature of Cyberpunk 2077, we imagine there'll often be need for photo or video evidence of illicit meetings, abuses of power, or maybe selfies with Keanu Reeves. We expect CD Projekt RED's developers will be too smart about the use of technology in Cyberpunk 2077's warped world to keep things that simple, though.
But in a world of constant surveillance and digital espionage, you couldn't tap into the zeitgeist more effectively than by looking at ways to create your own doctored images or deepfakes, or have a mission revolving around hacking one of Night City's massive billboards with sensitive imagery you've captured on your travels. Don't let us down, devs.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.