CD PROJEKT RED may have redefined the scope of console and PC action games with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but Cyberpunk 2077 looks like it will expand things even more dramatically. In large part, that's thanks to the character creation system and an approach to player-choice that evokes Deus Ex. And while there have already been plenty of demos for the long-gestating RPG, there's still a lot we don't know about the world of Night City. That's beginning to change with a pair of trailers that place an emphasis on the type of choices players will have.
First up is Lifepaths. Each of these represents a background that you pick for your character at the very beginning of the game, and while they might seem like they match up to the standard classes in a fantasy roleplaying game, that's not quite the case. Instead, they serve as a roleplaying tool that can help the player contextualize the motives of their character and really occupy their skin. CD Projekt Red hasn't been entirely forthcoming about what differentiates each of the different lifepaths, but it certainly makes them feel distinct in a way that suggests some impressive distinctions between how the story develops.
If you play as the Street Kid, you'll find yourself starting in the slums of Night City, where lives are cheap and people need to be willing to do anything to survive. Expect a narrative that has you navigating the shady underworld of this cyberpunk future and looking to climb your way up in terms of status. This looks like it could be the baseline for Cyberpunk 2077, as it serves as a bridge between the other, somewhat more polarized Lifepath archetypes.
All three lifepaths appear to be distinct enough to warrant separate playthroughs...
The Corpo Lifepath looks to offer what's essentially an opportunity to play the villain. Privileged and self-interested, a Corpo character is well ensconced in the executive lifestyle and is looking to achieve power no matter who they have to step on to get there. In terms of setting and tone, it looks to be a complete 360 from the experience of the Street Kid.
Finally, there's the Nomad. As new arrivals to Night City, these characters fall neatly into the archetype of the lone drifter. Players following the Nomad Lifepath will be new arrivals to the city but will arrive with singular survival skills that could make them a force to be reckoned with.
All three lifepaths appear to be distinct enough to warrant separate playthroughs, although the presence of recurring characters across the different Lifepath footage suggests their stories aren't going to be completely disparate. Fortunately, CD Projekt Red is going all-in on weaponry, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to experiment along the way and make each playthrough feel truly unique.
As befits the "cyberpunk" moniker, there's a real sense of flash to all of the weapons here, and enough variety to suit just about any play style. They've been broken down into classes that make it easier to sort through the use case of each. Tech and power weapons represent more or less conventional firearms like shotguns and automatic rifles, but they also appear to have a satisfying sense of weight and some impressively intricate model design.
...no matter what class of weapon you choose, you can always customize it with upgrades and modifications
As we start to move into more creative territory, we have smart weapons. While these may look like any other gun at a glance, they offer automated targeting: a choice that should appeal to players who loved the Witcher 3 but are nervous about jumping headfirst into a game that plays more like a traditional first-person shooter. If you like to get up close and personal, Cyberpunk 2077 is ready for you with their hand-to-hand weapons. There are two flavors to choose from here. Melee weapons are traditional handheld weapons like katanas and knives, while cyberware allows you to install everything from electrified blades to small cannons directly into your character's body. And no matter what class of weapon you choose, you can always customize it with upgrades and modifications.
Cyberpunk 2077 is not complete without an epic punk soundtrack. In July 2019, CD PROJEKT RED partnered with the Swedish hardcore punk band Refused, to create the original game soundtrack. The developers even went as far as putting the band in the game itself. In Night City Wire: Episode 2, we were able to see behind-the-scenes footage of Refused's creative process in constructing their in-game counterpart, SAMURAI. The mini-documentary also included a sneak-peak of a song called “A Like Supreme” which is currently available to stream.
It's been a long wait for Cyberpunk 2077, but the polish hasn't faded. With the release just a few months away, it's looking as stylish as ever. It's currently scheduled for release on November 19th for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and it's likely we'll see a release on next-generation consoles shortly thereafter.
To tide you over until Cyberpunk 2077's release, check out even more binge-worthy cyberpunk media!