First things first: a trailer for CD Projekt’s next thing, Cyberpunk 2077, is floating about the drowsy morning internet like one of those electrified jellyfish. It’s a wordless affair starring a dazed cyborg coated in somebody else’s blood, and has a militant Carrie vibe to it.
Second things second: as is CD Projekt’s wont, there’s a hidden message contained within. Devoid of “corporate mumbo-jumbo”, it speaks of another project to be revealed on February 5th. The unannounced game will be a “fully open-world game with an intense story,” write CD Projekt. “You can probably guess the game we’re talking about.”
“Building open world games is something we are mastering right now, and we believe that properly joining nonlinear gameplay with excellent storytelling will bring a totally new quality,” write CD Projekt.
The Witcher games thus far have been divided into discrete hubs, encouraging non-linear exploration within those parameters. But Cyberpunk 2077, too, will feature an open world.
“It’s currently scheduled a way off in 2015 but in truth the delivery date is more like ‘When it's done’,” say its developers. “We will release Cyberpunk to you when we're convinced it is nothing but pure, refined, unadulterated awesome. We want it to be the most kick ass futuristic RPG ever - ok, maybe this sounds pretty bully, but it is our actual goal! You judge if we deliver it!”
Okay! But why such an early announcement? As it turns out, CD Projekt are still pulling together Cyberpunk’s development team and are looking to attract new hires. Last night’s teaser trailer ought to get their attention:
“The teaser shows how the Psycho Squad might acquire a new member,” explains CD Projekt RED head Adam Badowski. “The Psycho Squad specializes in combating ‘psychos’ – individuals who overuse implants and substances that boost or otherwise alter the human body. There comes a point when they overdose on these innovations, and their bodies start to rebel against their biological body parts as well as against all things organic around them. Simply put, they start killing people, who they now derisively call 'meatbags.'”
So far, so HK47's messy birth.
“When a psycho goes on the rampage, strange things can happen," Badowski continues. "There’s going to be a lot of carnage, so the psycho might be taken down by regular police, but they’re not always able to get the job done. When things spin out of control, they call in MAX-TAC (Maximum Force Tactical Division), popularly called the 'Psycho Squad'. And these guys are exceptional, these guys are crack troops.
“The fact that they’re proud of that name tells you a bit about their mindset. They wear a badge with their official emblem on their right sleeve, but their left is reserved for their unofficial Psycho Squad emblem. It’s primitively made and the image itself is on the crude side of things. It’s not unlike a badge special force operators might make and wear to distinguish themselves from the ranks of grunts in any theatre of war.”
2077’s Night City is home to a socially binary society in which every second citizen is an addict, regularly neurologically spirited away in ‘braindances’ - the Total Recall-like memories of other people with more desirable lives.
That’s the world players will roam freely about in what promises to be a multi-pathed, non-linear and open world RPG. When was the last time we had one of those? Let alone two?