The new Cyberpunk 2077 trailer at E3 2019 starred Keanu Reeves, believe it or not, and he announced the official release date: April 16, 2020.
That's a bit later than we were hoping for this hyped-up Xbox One game (that's also coming to the PC and PS4), but its vast open-world setting, dizzying neon colors, and branching storylines all make it sound extremely promising.
At E3, we saw a bit more of the metropolis of the future in this extended trailer and in our hands-off demo, where body modification has become an obsession, and you're an outlaw in the sleazy underbelly of the city.
Want the full scoop on Cyberpunk 2077? Here's what we know so far.
[Update: There have been more details revealed that show the extent of player freedom in Cyberpunk 2077: optional romances and no morality system. Read on to find out more.]
Cut to the Chase
- What is Cyberpunk 2077? A brand new IP from CD Projekt Red starring Keanu Reeves
- What's the Cyberpunk 2077 release date? April 16, 2020
- What systems will Cyberpunk 2077 be released on? PS4, Xbox One and PC
What is Cyberpunk 2077?
Cyberpunk 2077 is a neon cyberpunk game that has The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red moving from a gritty, high fantasy world to an equally gritty, science fiction world metropolis. It's based off the pen-and-paper RPG of the same name, but plays a hell of a lot like The Matrix game we've always wanted.
We caught our first peek at the game behind closed doors at E3 2018 – you can check out what we saw in the 48-minute walkthrough video below – and all signs point to another big showing at the expo this June.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that looks vastly different from its developer's The Witcher series, with towering neon skyscrapers, bionic enhancements and a focus on vertical movement rather than wide open plains. It's also all in first-person.
At E3 2019 we learned a lot more about the plot of the game, which features the one and only Keanu Reeves. Reeves plays a character named Johnny Silverhand who's embedded in a biochip that's placed in the main character's brain.
In order to unlock the secrets to the biochip, what basically becomes the main thread of the game, Silverhand will guide you to Alt Cunningham, the most legendary net runner of all-time. The only problem? She’s dead. But her consciousness lives on the web and you’ll need to do whatever it takes to track her down – including, but not limited to, befriending or eliminating leaders of the biggest gangs in Night City.
Cyberpunk 2077 trailers
After a veritable truckload of hype, CD Projekt Red released 48 minutes of gameplay footage, based on the demo journalists saw at E3 2018.
In it, you'll see what gunplay looks like, character creation and backstory assignment, plus how you'll upgrade yourself via cybernetic enhancements. You'll meet some of the characters in Cyberpunk's seedy crime circuit and explore the city on foot and in vehicles. (Quick warning: the trailer contains nudity, violence and swearing.)
Check it out below:
We were treated to a brand new Cyberpunk 2077 trailer during E3 2018 which you can watch below:
In March 2019, we got yet another video, this time of the development team gearing up for the E3 2019 showcase event. Those hoping for a 2019 release may want to start to brace themselves however – though the game remains without a release date, the suggestion of the video below is that development is still in full swing, and a release date may be some time away yet:
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Cyberpunk 2077 release date: April 16, 2020
In the game’s first official teaser trailer, it was stated that the game will be coming “when it’s ready,” but now we have an official release date: April 16, 2020, care of the E3 2019 trailer.
This is despite an investor call in early 2016 that suggested that Cyberpunk 2077 would be released before June 2019. It was also said in this call that CD Projekt Red is planning to release two new triple A RPGs before 2021.
It was later clarified in forums that Cyberpunk 2077 would be the first of these games to arrive and work on the second would not start before Cyberpunk 2077 was finished.
Considering The Witcher 3 took around three and a half years to develop, a 2019 release didn't seem unmanageable for the studio. But the scale of the development, as well as rumors of the game being a cross-gen Xbox Two and PS5 title, it makes sense that the game has taken longer than initially anticipated.
Cyberpunk 2077 news and features
There will be romance
Fans of The Witcher 3's romantic sub-plots will be happy to hear that CD Projekt is bringing something similar to Cyberpunk 2077. In an interview with GamesRadar, the game's Quest Designer, Mateusz Tomaskiewicz, confirmed that players will be able to have relationships with different "entities", all of whom will have their own stories, goals and ideas for you to engage with. He stopped short of confirming just how many romance threads players will have the option to pursue and whether or not one of them will be with Keanu Reeves. It seems unlikely, though.
There will be no morality system
Players won't be constrained by any kind of morality system in Cyberpunk 2077 it has been confirmed by Mateusz Tomaskiewicz in an interview with GamingBolt. Given the complex nature of the decisions players made in The Witcher 3, this decision to favor the grey probably won't come as much of a surprise. This means that if you want to play through the entire game without killing anyone you absolutely can. Or if you want to be the next Angel of Death you can do that too. You just have to invest in the right in-game skills to do so.
There's more than Night City
From what we've seen so far, the setting of Night City in Cyberpunk 2077 looks like a mighty impressive, expansive and very neon place to explore. But it won't be the only location in the game to explore. In an interview with VG247, the Lead Quest Designer, Pawel Sasko, revealed that players will be able to go beyond the walls of the metropolis and explore an area known as the "Badlands". Largely desolate and populated by Nomads, this area will have its own quests. You can even start the game as a Nomad and begin your story outside of the city.
In an interview with CD Projekt, YouTuber Yong Yea got confirmation that Cyberpunk 2077 will have multiple endings. It's not been confirmed just how many there will be but this ties in with the expansive image of the game that's being presented and the idea that players are crafting a highly personal story.
New Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay shown at E3 2019, but not playable
At E3 2019 we got the chance to see Cyberpunk 2077 at a behind-closed doors demo centered around Pacifica – the southern-most region of Night City – and Keanu Reeves' character, Johnny Silverhand. The weirdest part? Keanu may in fact be the key to immortality. Yes, you read that correctly.
Inside Pacifica, two gangs – The Animals and The Voodoo Boys – are fighting for supremacy. In order to meet Bridgitte, the head of the Voodoo Boys, you'll have to first deal with her lieutenant Placide, who wants you to infiltrate The Animals' hideout. Your goal, at least you're told, is to find a high-tech van that's monitoring all the network traffic in Pacifica.
To get to this van, you'll have to make your way past The Animals' crew. The reason they're called The Animals, it turns out, is because they take a drug that enhances their muscle mass. To get through them you'll either need to fight your way through – a risky proposition – or sneak your way into the hideout.
Customization: perks, skills and attributes
You’ll customize your character’s look; you’ll customize their backstory; you’ll customize their base skills and you’ll give them perks that make them who they are. If you want a ninja samurai who came from the streets and is skilled in firearms and hand-to-hand combat, you can make that. If you want a net runner super hacker that can take over turrets and jack into enemies, you can make that, too.
The choices are vast, and while they're not completely limitless, CD Projekt Red doesn’t want to confine you to a single play style or set path.
The reasoning behind that, it seems, is to better mirror the game’s source material – a 30-year-old tabletop role playing game called Cyberpunk (however, there was also a later edition called Cyberpunk 2020).
Behind all of the hacking and gunplay lies a fairly complex RPG – the perks screen we saw during our demo had more than 20 perks to choose from and level up. These perks impact how your character plays, but can also impact what choices you have in conversations with the world’s NPCs.
Vampire Bloodlines and Deus Ex were inspirations for the game
Given it’s based on a tabletop roleplaying game and Cyberpunk is already a massive sub-genre in science fiction, we knew Cyberpunk 2077 hadn’t been totally pulled from the ether without any kind of influence. But we’re always interested to find out about some of the more subtle influences on the game and the way it plays, some of which Quest Director Mateusz Tomaskiewicz has revealed in a recent interview with gaming publication AreaJugones.
Tomaskiewicz said that games such as Deus Ex, Vampire Bloodlines and Elder Scrolls had influenced him in his work on Cyberpunk 2077's quests. He cites the original Deus Ex as a particular influence and praises the ways in which it gives players the freedom to complete missions in multiple ways. This suggests we can expect a great deal of freedom and complexity and non-linearity in Cyberpunk 2077’s missions as well as in the protagonist you'll be using to cause havoc in the game world which is something quite different from the tight gameplay-loop found in The Witcher.
CD Projekt Red is working on two AAA titles – both to be released by 2021
CD Projekt Red has confirmed it still plans to release two AAA titles by 2021. While we know one of these titles will definitely be Cyberpunk 2077, we're still in the dark about what the second title could be.
This release window was reaffirmed on the official CD Projekt Red forums, with moderator Donata Popławska confirming the studio is sticking to its original roadmap.
"As far as the strategy of the CD Projekt Capital Group for 2016-2021 is concerned, its plans to release the second AAA game by 2021 remain unchanged," the moderator wrote (translated via Resetera user Antiax).
However, Popławska did not expand on what the second AAA title to be released in this time frame could be.
"We are currently focusing on the production and promotion of Cyberpunk, so we do not want to comment on further projects," they continued.
For those of you asking, yes, we will be at E3 this year.February 28, 2019
Lady Gaga could be making an appearance?
According to french site ActuGaming, Lady Gaga and CD Projekt Red are collaborating for Cyberpunk 2077 and the artist has already visited the Polish studio to take part in motion-capture – suggesting she will have a character role in the game itself.
In addition ActuGaming claims the collaboration will be officially announced at E3 2019, with Gaga rumored to be making an appearance at the gaming convention.
Last year Gaga tweeted a strange mix of letters and numbers, which the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account replied to with "Of course! Of course we will!", suggesting the A Star is Born actress would be involved with the game in some way or another.
Of course! Of course we will! 😎September 18, 2018
E3 2018 confirmed features
We got to spend some time watching a demo of Cyberpunk 2077 during E3 and we learned some interesting things about the game.
It's a first person RPG set in a huge open world known as Night City – a metropolis split into six districts, each offering a different environment to explore. During the demo we only saw a small part of one of them.
Players can create their own character called V and embark on their journey to crawl up from the criminal underbelly. This is a dark game and though The Witcher series is mature, this takes it to a new level.
As you'd expect, the game lets you augment your body using various bits of tech – illegal or otherwise – and you can use drugs to enhance your combat, or a kind of digital brain-hack called 'Braindance'. We know weapons are wide ranging and seriously creative, with smart guns and bullets as well as terrifying Mantis Blades for melee.
There are no loading screens in Cyberpunk 2077 and the story and side quests are branching and numerous, and your choices genuinely impact the outcome. You can read more about how impressed were were by what we saw.
E3 2018 secret message
CD Projekt RED used the Xbox Showcase to show its latest trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. But it's more than just a trailer. Spotted by Polygon, there's a moment in the trailer with hidden text with more information on the game which is revealed when you enhance the image.
In the message CD Projekt first apologises for "staying silent longer than we planned" but following the release of The Witcher 3 Blood and Wine the developer wanted to wait until it had "something meaningful and substantial" to show.
It goes on to say that the vision for Cyberpunk is "an alternative version of the future where America is in pieces, megacorporations control all aspects of civilized life, and gangs rule the rest." This game will, CD Projekt says, be a "true single player, story-driven RPG" where you'll be able to create your own character.
At the moment the developer isn't ready to confirm any kind of release date and asks for more patience. It also says it has "no bloody clue" about how big the game is but does say it's "seriously big."
It could be on the next generation of consoles
CD Projekt Red has hinted that Cyberpunk 2077 could be developed for both current and next gen titles. GamingBolt has reported that during a presentation at the Pareto Securities Gaming Seminar 2018 event, the studio's CFO Piotr Nielubowicz and CEO Adam Kiciński mentioned Cyberpunk 2077 hinted that it may be being developed for future hardware. The slide in question stated the team was developing the title for “current and next-generation technology”.
It will be on Steam
Good news Steam fans: Cyberpunk 2077 will definitely be coming to the platform. At the Pareto Securities Gaming Seminar (via PCGamesN) the studio’s CEO Adam Kiciński gave a presentation in which he confirmed that the game would not be exclusive to GOG. There's been a lot of furore over the Metro Exodus being 'removed' from Steam and onto the Epic Games Store, but it looks like CD Projekt Red is steering clear of that minefield.
It’s going to be bigger than The Witcher 3
It would have been a pretty safe guess to say that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a big game, but in an interview with MCV in 2015 visual effects artist Jose Teixeira said it’s going to be “far, far bigger” than anything the studio has ever done.
In fact, he said that The Witcher 3 was being treated as a learning experience and that they could do better. To do better, the studio has doubled in size with studio head Adam Badowski saying that after The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 needs to be “even better, even bigger, even more revolutionary” than what had originally been planned.
You’ll be travelling on more advanced tech than boats and horses
So, we know the game map is going to be intimidatingly big. How will we get around it, then? Well fortunately, moving out of the high fantasy realm gives CD Projekt Red a little more freedom when it comes to creating vehicles.
Don’t expect horses and basic boats here – a job listing for a Senior Vehicle Artist for the studio said they’d be expected to work on “incredibly complex vehicles, planes, bikes, robots and mechanics.“
There may be multiplayer
It was confirmed years ago that the game would have multiplayer elements but what exactly they’ll be is unclear. It was said, though, that the game would mainly focus on single player.
The company president said in March 2018 that these elements are not on the table right now, so it's possible that they'll be introduced after the game's release in a sort of online world like GTA Online.
There will be online
As well as multiplayer, CD Projekt's CEO has confirmed that there will also be online elements to the game. In an interview with Polish tech site Strefa Inwestorow Kiciński stated that “Online is necessary, or very recommended if you wish to achieve a long-term success. At some point, we have mentioned that there will be a certain online element related to Cyberpunk.”
Whether or not the online elements will feed into the multiplayer is unclear.
But there won't be microtransactions
The studio also tweeted to quell fears over microtransactions in online components, stating that Cyberpunk 2077 will be "nothing less than" the Witcher 3, adding that players will "get what [they] pay for" with "no hidden catch."
It appears that while many studios are feeling the need to move to a service model to ensure their titles make money, CD Projekt is staying committed to the story-driven single player experience with Cyberpunk 2077, one which served them very well with The Witcher.
Things we'd like to see
Combat inspired by the original tabletop RPG
We know that the designer of the tabletop RPG Cybperunk on which Cyberpunk 2077 is based is heavily involved in the creation of the game. We hope his involvement extends to the game's combat because the combat system he created in his own game was fairly revolutionary for the tabletop genre.
Rather than involving drawn out and long turns, it was fast, brutal, gritty and overall perfectly suited to the spirit of Cyberpunk.
A big part of Cyberpunk combat involves upgrading your body with new abilities and robotics which would be perfectly in line with a video game character development system like those created by CD Projekt Red.
In Pondsmith's game bodily enhancement has to be carefully considered –
it's a balancing act where every benefit has a drawback. When a player makes robotic additions to themselves they reduce their humanity and empathy leading to an uncontrollable state of cyberpsychosis. This has the potential to be a really interesting system if it's adapted for the game and could be used in a similar manner to excessive consumption of combat-enhancing potions in The Witcher.
Keep checking back here for all the latest Cyberpunk 2077 news
(Image credits: CD Projekt Red)