Character customisation, for instance, was necessarily not an option in Geralt’s world. But in Cyberpunk 2077, it’s self-defined role-playing: your style and personality will have deep and far-reaching effects on the world and how it reacts to you. “We will have several features that allow you to create your [visual] style, and your style will affect gameplay, storyline and relationships between characters,” explains creative director Sebastian Stepien. “Your appearance and your dress will change the behaviour of NPCs, and also the story also in some parts,” Mateusz adds. Style and appearance works together with the personality you create for your character and express in conversation to determine how the world reacts to you.
“It’s about telling story via what happens, not cutscenes or other features,” Mateusz says. “To do that we need to create a totally new unique dialogue system – we’re doing that right now, it should be awesome.”
Cyberpunk hasn’t been as easy to adapt as a video game as you might think. Pen and paper mechanics have been the foundation of many digital RPGs over the years, but they do not translate well into the kind of game that CDP is trying to make. “The game mechanics are totally different on paper, they don’t work in video games because they would be super boring,” Mateusz says.
“The main problem is that the original system is based on dice rolls. When you think about Cyberpunk you think about shooting, action, a lot of explosions. But that doesn’t fit dice rolls in a video game. We want to make it more action-like – there will be a system that lets you use active skills actually in the gameplay in a shooting sequence or something like that, rather than just passive skills like in the books.”