It's still going to be awhile before CD Projekt Red finishes development of Cyberpunk 2077, but details have finally started trickling out since the game was properly unveiled at E3 2018. While the developer isn't revealing everything, it seems CD Projekt Red is finally willing to give players ideas of what to expect in the game. It's known that the game plays out in first-person, will involve shooter elements, and now it's been revealed that players' actions will often have consequences.
Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the original Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop RPG that CD Projekt Red's game is based upon, recently participated in an interview with the YouTube channel "LastKnownMeal." Over the course of the interview, Pondsmith revealed that Cyberpunk 2077 will have a choice and consequence system similar to the tabletop game. Specifically, it won't be a traditional "karma" system. Instead, the game's choices will determine how the story plays out and what will happen to the characters involved.
Pondsmith elaborated by citing an example of how choices play out in the board game. If a player were to shoot and kill a member of one of Cyberpunk 2077's factions, the rest of that faction would remember, and they'll become that much more eager to find the player's character and take revenge. Going off of this example, one would expect actions taken against city officials or the normal citizenry will yield similar results.
“Sometimes karma isn’t really meted out in a nice, neat 'dark side, light side' way. Sometimes it comes and bites you in the butt in ways you never expected. We were kidding the other day in the office about that moment when you’re driving on the freeway and somebody cuts you off, and you flip them off and then you go into the bank, and there’s the guy you flipped off behind the counter! This sort of stuff happens!”
The presence of this sort of system shouldn't be too surprising to fans of CD Projekt Red and their Witcher series. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt also treats player choices in a way that goes beyond the binary "good" and "bad" systems of the past. Whether or not Cyberpunk 2077 will take this even further is still unclear. However, given that the developer is already trying to do new things such as blending cinematics with gameplay, making player choices even more important is not outside the realm of possibility.
The fact that Cyberpunk 2077 will be played from a first-person perspective was enough to have Witcher fans worry that CD Projekt Red was turning away from the qualities that make their games great. Based on information like this, though, it sounds like Cyberpunk 2077 really is closer to an evolution of their beloved formula rather than a true departure from it. Hopefully this will hold true as more details become available.
Cyberpunk 2077 is currently in development for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but has yet to receive an official release date.