Cyberpunk 2020 creator, Mike Pondsmith has been vocal about his support of CD Projekt RED’s adaption of his tabletop game. He isn’t the only one impressed, either. After its impressive E3 2018 trailer and behind-closed-doors demo, Cyberpunk 2077 is on everyone’s radar. Since Cyberpunk 2077 is inspired by his work, Pondsmith had the pleasure of going hands-on with CD Projekt’s newest title.
In an interview with Polygon, Pondsmith shared his experience of playing Cyberpunk 2077 for the first time. According to him, he played through “a lot more than was shown at E3 .” Exactly how much time he spent exploring the world remains unclear. Pondsmith said:
The sequences when you’re going down to the Ripperdoc and all that. There’s entire neighborhood areas in there where you can walk around and you can listen to people’s gossip. Because it’s in first-person, what I love is you get that stuff peripherally. You could be crossing to go down the street to get something and hear somebody say something [behind you], and you have to turn and figure out who said it in a crowd and where. You don’t have complete situational awareness, which makes it a far more powerful experience.
Cyberpunk 2077’s first-person perspective has been a contentious topic for fans since details began to surface. While CD Projekt RED continues to defend its decision, insisting that the first-person viewpoint is the best option for the game, some fans remain unconvinced. After a hands-on session, Pondsmith seems to agree with CD Projekt RED’s point of view.
You stop doing your gameplay on a strategic level. You have to do it on a tactical, immediate level, because you don’t know everything. When you’re in third-person, you can look and see the entire battlefield, so to speak. When I’m in [first-person], I’m in it. Stuff that happens around me is coming to me at the speed it would naturally.
Pondsmith also addressed the discourse surrounding politics in Cyberpunk 2077. Recently, Quest Designer Patrick Mills spoke of politics as an inherent aspect of the cyberpunk genre, and by proxy Cyberpunk 2077. This reignited the conversation on whether such topics have a place in gaming in general. Pondsmith responded to the budding controversy by explaining how cyberpunk and politics fit together.
Morality is cyberpunk. I bring it down to the same guidance that I’ve given about how you write a good Cyberpunk 2020 adventure, which is, ‘It’s personal.’ Everybody has an internal morality where they will or will not [go against] what they believe. […] Every really good cyberpunk story is about the personal morality of the people involved. Sometimes it isn’t saving the world — it’s about saving yourself and the things and people you care about, which makes it both intensely political and intensely personal.
CD Projekt has yet to reveal a launch date for Cyberpunk 2077, but it’s likely several years away.