For over 20 years, pen and paper have played tool and terrain for Mike Pondsmith’s popular role-playing system, Cyberpunk. Now – thanks, no doubt, to the financial success and acclaim ushered in by The Witcher and The Witcher 2 – developer CD Projekt RED is bringing the aptly-named, futuristic game to digital life, announcing work on a Cyberpunk RPG at its Summer Conference today in Poland.
Mike Iwinski, CD Projekt co-founder, spoke at the conference to paint a rough picture of what players can expect out of Cyberpunk. It may not be the The Witcher 2 follow-up the studio hopes to get around to, but don’t expect a regression from many of the CD Projekt hallmarks: mature themes; unforgiving gameplay; airtight attention to detail; a non-linear, complex story, where moral obscurities and player choice will impact the protagonist and the world around them.
At the same time, though, the dramatic shift from medieval swordplay to urbane science fiction doesn’t seem lost on the studio. They want to players to build unique classes from the ground up, choosing characters types like mercenaries or hackers and outfitting them with an array of cybernetic implants and high-tech weapons. How these elements will differ from, say, the augmentations of Deus Ex: Human Revolution remains to be seen, but the high fantasy angle that CD Projekt’s experience brings to the table certainly creates the potential for something peerless.
Unfortunately, the developer cautioned that Cyberpunk won’t be a part of next week’s E3. That means, for the moment, the game’s best representation is the sole screenshot released to coincide with its reveal. The flag would indicate a setting within the United States of America (which, on close examination, still only has 50 states). The hexagonal patterns coating the (protagonist’s?) central character’s skin may be one of the aforementioned cybernetic implants players have at their disposal. (Coincidentally or not, they also match the hexagonal facade of the far-right building.) And hopefully to set the stage for some gameplay we want to see down the line, a violent altercation looks primed to take place between the mystery character and the titanic mech dominating the background.
For followers of CD Projekt RED, the announcement also comes a day after a very brief speculation period surrounding a Cyberpunk teaser image. The artwork portrayed a fiery-mohawked, ruffled leather-jacketed, perturbed-looking character, whose futuristic sidearm and knock-off Google glasses (iGlasses?) conveyed the same Deus Ex/Blade Runner sci-fi theme – and prompted some of our commenters to allude to the cyberpunk genre as a whole, lamenting its lagging representation in the video game industry.
Ranters, now that we do officially have Cyberpunk to put on our calendar, what do you think its impact will be on the cyberpunk video game landscape? Will CD Projekt RED’s experience with The Witcher have a discernible influence on the new setting?
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