Cyberpunk 2077 Exclusive Interview
Today CD Projekt Red released the first teaser trailer for Cyberpunk 2077, and the developer behind the Witcher franchise has been kind enough to give us an exclusive interview with the game’s project lead providing some insight into the game’s world and mechanics.This exclusive interview was not conducted by GameTrailers or Side Mission. Rather, it was handled by CDProjekt Red and sent to us for posting. The interview is conducted with Mateusz Kanik, Cyberpunk 2077’s project lead.
What are your experiences and memories with the original Cyberpunk pen and paper system?
Well, I’m not a real cyberpunk. I don’t live on the edge. At least not from the time I got married. (laughter). You know – women want you to be a hero, who lives on the edge, but only until they get serious.
I saw the pen and paper Cyberpunk system when I was at a summer camp in 7th grade. One of the older guys had the rulebook and I was completely drawn into it. Earlier I only played Warhammer FRP or some card games. When I got back home I found the last copy of the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook in the only bookstore in my little town. I bought it immediately, but then came high school and my friends often preferred fantasy role-playing. But I can still remember all the fun I had with implants and fighting NPCs in a completely different way then what I knew from Warhammer. Most of the game sessions I had, I played with my brother. It’s cool, because now when I work on Cyberpunk 2077, it’s like going back in time to my childhood.
Do your past sessions of Cyberpunk influence what we will see in Cyberpunk 2077?
They definitely help in creating the world’s vision, but on the other hand those first Cyberpunk games that I played as a child-rpg-noob… well, they would be impossible to adapt. I played some really freaked-up stories :)
And the world itself – how much will you modify 2020 vision? Do you use the original material or do you develop it?
We modify it a lot. This includes not only the game world, but also the system. A pen and paper system cannot be translated into a video game with every detail. We make prototypes of some of the game mechanics and test how they work. However we want the game to be as close to the original as possible, we even give players an option to print out their character sheet to play with their friends. There are changes in the balance of classes or how particular skills work.
The second thing is the game world. We have 57 years of history to describe. We discuss most changes with Mike and he gives us feedback, so the world changes all the time now. Currently we can say that we think about 2077 and Mike Pondsmith, creator of Cyberpunk pen and paper RPG system, concentrates on 2020, and together we discuss what happens between these two periods.
So what is the world in 2077. What will change?
The fourth corporate war in Cyberpunk 2020 ended with the detonation of a nuke on top of the Arasaka Tower, resulting in the entire corporate district being annihilated. We have the reconstruction of the buildings somewhere else. It is the same city, but it moved a little closer to the coast. You’ll find some legendary places like Afterlife. The corporations will also remain present – Arasaka, Dynalar, KiroshI etc, be sure to find them.
When comparing the game to The Witcher series – how will you change its technology. Cyberpunk will use the REDengine. But the tool is still developing?
This is an amazing engine! This is truly one of the best tools for creating RPGs and it allows us to make every role-playing title. But some changes are necessary. In The Witcher we didn’t have guns, only crossbows, which are a completely different story. We have to change the physics and ballistics of the game. Character movement will also change – the witcher is a mutated human, but we’ll have a whole system of cyber-implants, allowing you to modify your limbs. These are the main changes in the game engine, but there are a lot of small features that have to be changed and added.
We just watched the first teaser for your game. What elements we saw will surely appear in the game?
I think the most important thing that will be brought with the game is the atmosphere.
The teaser really feels like what we are working on. If you are thinking about the presence of melee combat, yes, we will have those cool arm implants. Cyber-psychos will also be present. These are people who lost their sense of humanity, because of too many cyber-modifications in their bodies. We will have aerial vehicles, the psychosquad, and all the weapons you saw are our modified versions from the rulebook. I hope that the woman you’ve seen in the trailer will also be there.
You released the trailer and talked little about braindance. What is it?
Braindance is a new form of “movies” that you play in your head. Someone records a braindance and you can live them with your senses and muscles. There are two types of these “movies”. Soft braindances are just watching a recording, with no additional feelings, something very similar to today’s cinema. Hard braindances allow you to feel exactly like the person who recorded it. If someone dies in a braindance so will you. Your brain processes a direct copy of someone’s life.
There is a great industry producing these recordings in 2077. You can call it a braindance Hollywood. We have corporations which produce high quality recordings, but we also have “the wrong kind” – deviations, torture and murder. We have a new type of industry, an exaggerated vision of the future Hollywood and the new technology they use.
And of course there are a lot of braindance celebrities. It moved acting to a completely new level. In fact you don’t act, you actually have to feel the emotions you want to record.
How would you describe Cyberpunk 2077 for someone who doesn’t know too much about it? A person who never heard about the genre, didn’t watch Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell etc.?
Cyberpunk 2077 will be an awesome game about a hero from the streets, from very dangerous streets. Raised from the gutter, he uses ultra-modern technology to stand against large corporations and others who exploit the underprivileged. The lonely rider takes his chopper, tech and the slaughter begins (laughter). Awesomeness in pure form with an engrossing, non-linear story – like an epic movie.