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Cyberpunk 2077: From Medieval Pasts to Dystopian Futures

/ Jan 22nd, 2013 No Comments

Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077

Night City. Zetatech. The Ghost of Alt Cunningham. If any of these ideas sound familiar, you probably recognize them from the glory days of dice-system paper-based roleplaying games made popular throughout the end of the 20th Century. Games like Dungeons and Dragons, Paranoia, Rifts…and Cyberpunk 2020, a hard world of future technologies and the human ruins left behind when advancement without morality races ahead at breakneck speed.

Now in development as Cyberpunk 2077 by Polish developer CD Projeckt RED, the popular RPG system has attracted over five million dedicated fans, who no doubt have high hopes that the team behind the much-acclaimed Witcher series will faithfully translate Cyberpunk 2020’s dark noirish world into an exciting interactive experience worthy of the name.

What The Fans Want

[adsense250itp]Players of the classic game have long enjoyed its mix of crumbling dystopian society and radical individual empowerment, both figurative and literal. In a setting where functional immortality is a practical matter of applied technology and players can destroy whole economies in pursuit of personal “wealth protection”, the playing field is wide open.

Mike Pondsmith, creator of the long-running original, describes the upcoming game with a certainty that the developers understand the ideas inherent in the world he created way back in 1988. In his words, “2077 is about the cyberpunk you thought you knew, scaled up. Bigger, badder, stranger.” Elements of this wilder approach include the concept of “braindances”, digital recordings of a person’s inner life that users relive through their own central nervous system to experience the creator’s emotional and physical life–a personal inner Matrix that may play a role in the dynamic shaping of the game’s open-world, non-linear narrative.

As seen from preliminary concept art and CD Projeckt RED’s teaser trailer, Pondsmith’s confidence isn’t misplaced. From the 80s-future fashion style to the mechanistic figures stalking the rusted streets, the developer clearly knows and loves the source material. Additionally, CD Projeckt RED has opened up Afterlife, a forum for Cyberpunk fans to communicate their desires and expectations for the upcoming title to the developers.

It’s in Good (Prosthetic) Hands

Fans are justified in hoping for great things from Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projeckt RED made The Witcher 2 one of 2011’s most critically-acclaimed games by tapping its native Poland’s talents in the best-selling fantasy novels of Andrzej Sapkowski–taking a culturally obscure source and bringing it to life with mature style. Its unique environments breathed life, the characters felt real, and the weight of great story choices shaped the player’s journey.

Specific details such as available player classes have yet to be revealed, and CD Projeckt RED’s note that the game will be released “when it’s ready” likely means an extended wait (estimated until at least 2015 due to the developer’s current involvement with The Witcher 3). But the game may be well worth the delay as Adam Badowski, who leads CD Projeckt RED, remarked about the project, “Our experience in video game storytelling and the technology, capable of building open-world games, combined with Mike’s vision will result in one of the most kick-ass futuristic RPGs.” For die-hard fans who have waited a long time for the right game adaptation to become a possibility, this is an exciting time to be a Cyberpunk fan.

Matthew Allen
Matthew is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated and likes games that are full of kinetic gameplay, great layered storytelling and innovation in the exploration of the medium and the genre represented.
Matthew Allen

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