As this summer’s E3-like wave of trailers and hype continues, Cyberpunk 2077 is next to take center stage with a new gameplay trailer and developer walkthrough. Sadly, the devs at CD Projekt Red weren’t as forthcoming on Thursday with gameplay as we’d hoped, but today’s news at least explores one gameplay mechanic lifted from the series’ pen-and-paper origins: “braindancing.”
The first-person adventure game, slated to launch this November, will dive into characters’ histories by using an augmented reality interface. It surprisingly resembles the critically acclaimed game Remember Me (or, to a lesser extent, the Batman Arkham series). Players will freeze and swipe through time while examining the timeline of a given moment (which you access in the game’s lore because of a recovered “recording implant”). View things from the implanted person’s perspective, then check for security cameras and other content within your environs for more context.
CDPR devoted a substantial amount of its presentation to how this narrative-focused mechanic works, while the sizzle trailer was more bombastic, with only a hint to where the braindance mechanic may take you: into the shoes of Keanu Reeves. The sequence ends with the famed actor’s Cyberpunk character mirroring your motions before vanishing. How exactly that will play out—either reliving his character’s experiences or actually playing as his character—remains to be seen.
Pick from three origin stories
Otherwise, the two-minute trailer focused more on combat and a variety of locales than on prior E3 events’ pitches of a deep, choice-filled adventure in a near-future Los Angeles. A select few members of the American press, along with outlets from nations like Poland (CDPR’s home) and China, were invited to a four-hour hands-on with the game, starting with its very opening sequence of creating a character and playing through the game’s prologue—where players could choose from “corporate,” “street kid,” or “nomad” origin stories. Each origin option affects major aspects of the prologue sequence, then defines various dialogue options for the rest of the game.
The game’s opening sequence sees you create your version of the main character named V, then team up with another heavy named Jackie to rise up in Night City’s criminal ranks to complete a heist of a particularly valuable implant chip. Along the way, you’ll spend skill points on RPG-like categories (strength, reflex, charisma, intelligence, and tech), equip stat-boosting implants of your own, and walk through a world loaded with talking, lively NPCs.
Previews also mention V’s car-driving through the “Badlands” expanse of desert-like terrain on the city’s outskirts to get from one dense district to another—and, yes, that means you’ll have a variety of car radio stations to pick from while driving those distances. And within combat sequences, you’ll alternate between gunplay (which some critics call “slow” and “methodical”) and pausing to scan the environment and apply your own hacks (like “overheating” your foe, “pinging” them to alert an AI companion, or distracting them with static on their comms).
The official CDPR announcement also teased a new Cyberpunk 2077-themed anime series, coming exclusively to Netflix sometime in 2022. (Clearly, Netflix’s Witcher series success has endeared CDPR to the platform.) No preview footage of that anime has yet been revealed.
[Update, 2pm ET: Wondering what the eventual PC spec recommendations will be? We’re still waiting for details. For now, a hands-on report from German outlet PC Games Hardware alleges that the latest wave of previews were played on computers equipped with the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, and that these ran at 1080p resolution with DLSS upscaling and full ray tracing enabled. This hands-on take doesn’t confirm a frame rate, nor does it clarify how gameplay performance will scale to other computers with ray tracing disabled.]
Listing image by CD Projekt Red