Cyberpunk 2077: Developer Calms First-Person and Character Creation Fears
Cyberpunk 2077’s first trailer in five years made more than a splash during E3 2018. Weeks after the event, the elation surrounding it refuses to give pause. One relatively small concern did pierce the hype for some who initially held great interest. Cyberpunk 2077 will mark CD Projekt RED’s first foray into the first-person space. Furthermore, unlike The Witcher series, a preset lead character does not rest at the heart of the game’s narrative. Rather, players will take great part in the creation of V, who can either be male or female.
The developer consistently attempts to quell these concerns, promising the changes to their normal formula are perfect for the story being crafted. While it seems they’ve found success for the most part in suppressing fears, a cloud of uncertainty still floats about. In an interview with DualShockers, quest designer Patrick Mills states why fans should not worry.
Well, this is going to sound a little bit self-promote-y but I used to work at Obsidian and I worked on Alpha Protocol. With Alpha Protocol, you had a main character that was kind of similar to V and I’m really hoping that we can do a similar thing where everyone who played Alpha Protocol and liked it said that their character felt very alive and very distinct. There was a lot of variety and by the end of the game, everybody had their own character.
We want to do the same thing with V in this case so that you’re creating the character along with us throughout the game and by the end, your character feels distinct with their own unique history much like Geralt did. Of course, Geralt brings that with him but in this case, you’re going to build it along with us.
Mills also speaks on the development challenges of switching to first-person. The process, thus far, has been trying; however, the team is confident in its ability to fully immerse players.
Well, we wanted to bring in people who were familiar with that so we have people at the studio who have worked on shooters before. We really want to make sure to get that right. Honestly, at the point now, and I know this wasn’t a hands-on demonstration and it’s still a work-in-progress, but even when I’m working on it and I’m playing with the developer tools shooting already feels pretty good. As long as we keep iterating on that and polishing it up, I don’t think we’re going to have a problem. It is very difficult but I think we can handle it.
In terms of what first-person brings, I just think it’s totally worth that risk. This is a world where I want to be able to look up and see the skyscrapers above me and third-person can’t afford that. It almost seems like a tiny, trivial reason but that’s actually really important.
He furthers his point about immersion, recalling the visceral nature of Cyberpunk 2020, the pen-and-paper RPG upon which Cyberpunk 2077 is based.
Inside buildings with tight corridors and the gunplay that we really wanted — this close, visceral sort of feeling — first-person can sort of get that. With the original Cyberpunk 2020 stuff that Mike Pondsmith did in the pen-and-paper era, one of the things about it is that the gunplay and fighting are supposed to be very violent, very dangerous, and very visceral and in-your-face. First-person is what lets us approach what he was trying to do back then if that makes sense.
The game’s development cycle won’t soon come to an end, but insight of this nature makes the waiting worthwhile.