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Cyberpunk 2077’s E3 demo was a “real build” of the game

Cyberpunk 2077

We’ve all learned to take gameplay trailers and even hands-on demos with a grain or two of salt – often they show a developer’s aspirations for a game more than the product that actually ships. But CD Projekt says the Cyberpunk 2077 demo it showed at E3 is a working build of the game, using assets intended for the final product.

Speaking to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, CD Projekt co-CEO Marcin Iwiński said that the Cyberpunk 2077 demo is a real slice of gameplay rather than a separate project. The entire Cyberpunk team focused on making assets for the demo, and that will eventually be used in the completed game.

One reason we’re excited about CD Projekt’s next project is because The Witcher 3 is on our list of the best RPGs on PC.

“From what I’ve heard, some companies have separate teams that work on E3 demos and stuff like that; we don’t do it this way,” Iwiński said in the interview for Kotaku’s Splitscreen podcast. “Maybe it’s better or worse, but for us it’s a cool milestone. We obviously branch out to get it done, but [building the demo] is moving the whole game forward.”

Since E3 hands-on demos are usually a very narrow piece of a game, it’s possible to make the small part that’s accessible shine – sometimes in ways that aren’t ultimately replicated across a whole gameworld. If you’ve ever heard someone use the term vertical slice, this is what it means. But Iwiński says that’s not the case for Cyberpunk 2077’s demo.

“It’s surprisingly a real build, so we didn’t fake anything here,” he said, explaining to Schreier that the team is using the “same RED Engine” that was used for The Witcher 3, but “with 90 percent of it rewritten.”

Iwiński said the feedback from players who tried the hands-on demo was encouraging.

“We didn’t start these conversations, but we got a lot of feedback like that in the previews, people actually noticing that certain things just look natural, they don’t look pre-rendered or fake,” he said. “This makes us very happy, and very proud, because we’ve actually managed to pull it off, to take a build.”

Creating assets – props, textures, environments, and characters – for a game as big as The Witcher 3 or Cyberpunk 2077 obviously takes a lot of time and effort, but the fact that CD Projekt has a functioning build in stable enough shape to show to fans lends support to the idea that Cyberpunk 2077 could be coming next year, rather than 2020 as is widely assumed. For its part, CD Projekt has not yet announced a release timeframe for Cyberpunk 2077.

For more details, you can check out everything we know so far about Cyberpunk 2077. We’re as excited as anyone to learn more about it.