Heavily anticipated as story-driven single-player RPG’s, CD Projekt RED‘s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Cyberpunk 2077 might not be the first titles many would expect to feature multiplayer when they debut on next-gen platforms in the upcoming years. The Witcher 3, slated for release in 2014, has drawn close comparisons to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim while Cyberpunk 2077, forecasted for 2015, has inspired many a reference to Deus Ex: Human Revolution — sizable, but also entirely solo, adventures both.
But the Polish studio has grown considerably since first discovering success with the The Witcher franchise in 2007 — in magnitude and ambition. And the transformation appears to be wearing off on its pair of current projects.
Speaking to Eurogamer, CD Projeckt RED managing director Adam Badowski confirmed that a multiplayer component was indeed being developed for Cyberpunk 2077. He also hinted that the studio was exploring options for multiplayer in The Witcher 3.
Little has been revealed about Cyberpunk 2077 since its announcement last year. The adaptation of Mike Pondsmith’s pen-and-paper game was previewed with a powerful, provocative, poignant cinematic trailer in January, and Pondsmith himself offered up a few musings on the setting’s cyber-enhancement-obsessed society days later. We know the singleplayer portion of the game will let players choose between customizable character classes while its non-linear story weaves through a futuristicly dark, gritty, shall we say Blade Runner-meets-Deus Ex open world. But if — let alone how — those elements would be bridged into multiplayer is anyone’s guess.
Still, Cyberpunk is two years away. Afterthought multiplayer has a strong correlation with afterthought announcements (e.g., the otherwise-stellar Tomb Raider). It stands to reason that by confirming the mode now — even though Badowski suggested that CDPR is also still soliciting development talent for the game — a substantial amount of effort will be devoted to quality and, you know, fun.
And the same could be said for The Witcher 3. Close to a year remains until its targeted 2014 release and a REDEngine 3-powered world more than 30 times the size of previous Witchers lies at the developer’s fingertips. “We’re thinking about something” was Badowski’s official word on the matter to Eurogamer, “but I cannot explain it now. You can expect some information later on.”
Obviously, The Witcher 3’s hack-and-slash fantasy domain is a far cry from the ultramodern urbanity of Cyberpunk; the challenges of crafting a cohesive multiplayer experience out of its gameplay are likely a reason why similar franchises — i.e., The Elder Scrolls — have explored the MMO. Badowski objected to taking The Witcher in such a direction — an MMO, he says, would destabilize the series’ fiction, which is highly dependent upon the single central character of Geralt — but wouldn’t speculate on any alternatives. With The Witcher 3 taking direct aim at the quality and depth of Skyrim and Dragon Age, however, perhaps CDPR hopes to distinguish itself by proving that conventional multiplayer could, indeed, exist within the game’s framework.
Ranters, how would you like to see CD Projekt RED handle multiplayer for Cyberpunk 2077 and — potentially — The Witcher 3?
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is slated for release in 2014; confirmed platforms include the PlayStation 4 and PC.
Cyberpunk 2077 is slated for release in 2015; confirmed platforms are… well, still TBA.
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