If you rescued a defenseless woman from the captivity of scavengers or secured a brand new spider bot for a famous fixer in Night City, you probably stumbled over the work of Patrick Mills.
Patrick is one of the Quest Designers at CD Projekt Red and as with The Witcher series, he wants to make sure that every quest is interesting and has a certain twist in store for you. Quest Designers for Cyberpunk 2077 usually accompany their work from the first stages of design through programming, art direction and testing.
Today's interview was originally recorded on video at Gamescom 2018, but some data sadly was corrupted. Patrick Mills kindly offered to re-do the interview as a written Q&A session.
Look forward to hear more about persistent elements in the game world, the narratative, more details on V's personality and development, Trauma Team, cars, companions and even cyberpets!
Dies ist die englische Version des Artikels - die deutsche Version findet ihr hier.
Patrick Mills: We’re in deep development and we have a lot of work left to do.
Can you tell us more about the voice actors we heard so far. Are they already the final ones or mostly contracted for trailer and demo-gameplay work?
This I don’t know.
So like your E3 booth this one has The Atlantis bar and as far as I know it is directly taken from the game. What is this place like in the game? How does it differ from the Below Deck club?
Ooo, can’t talk about this yet. Be patient. :)
Tell us a bit more about the style of your narrative. Are there several cut scenes or is most of the story being told while you navigate through the world (e.g. Bioshock)? Will there be any CGI cutscenes or do you totally rely on the in-game engine?
We want to keep the player in the view of the character as much as possible. At this time I couldn’t specify if any of our cutscenes will be pre-rendered or not.
The game is set 57 year later in an alternative timeline compared to the pen&paper RPG Cyberpunk 2020. If I look back in time for the same amount of years we would be in the year 1961. In my opinion there is a bigger technical advancement in our real world than compared to Cyberpunk 2077. How can this be explained (4th Corporate War)?
For 2077 it’s our intention to deliver a similar experience to 2020, so it’s recognizable immediately to old players without also being too complicated for new players. To this end, we’ve rearranged and sometimes reinterpreted aspects of the 2020 timeline to give a similar world state as existed in 2020.
To what degree will your personal background influence your gameplay? Will it maybe block certain activities or offer new quests? Will it alter circumstances more often or for e.g one big sidequest? Will my nemesis from kinder-garden try to hunt me down several times?
Can’t talk about this without talking about the main story, which we’re not ready to do yet. :)
Based on my so-so math skills I assume that there will be at least 27 combinations of your personal background (Childhood Hero, Key Life Event, Why Night City wich 3 options each should be 3x3x3 variants). Will all 27 combinations play out differently or do just three options trigger three independent things in the game?
Sorry, we cannot say more about this topic for now.
The Trauma Team is an integral part of the Cyberpunk 2020/2077 lore and is also visible in the gameplay demo. Is it at some point in the story possible for V/the player to use the service of the Trauma Team?
At the moment, Trauma Team isn’t a gameplay system, though it may appear in quests.
Several games like the recent Fallout games have a persistent element. Something you can change or alter in the game world based on your own likings, which leaves a trace of your presence (like base building in Fallout 4). Do you have an element like this in Cyberpunk 2077?
The player will be able to have multiple properties in the game world, in addition, we want to have a lot of reactivity in the world- though it’s too early to discuss specifics since things may change.
Are the apartments in the game world fixed in terms of interior design or can we change the look, buy stuff to decorate it, add secret weapon chambers, security systems and such?
We intend to have customization of properties, but we haven’t settled on the details.
Is it possible to tell us more about the way how you incorporate the Net in the game?
It's too early to answer this question.
Will using Engineer or Netrunner skills sometimes incorporate little minigames, the player has to master/perform or do they 100% rely on stats?
It’s too early to talk about details of these systems.
About vehicles in the game: Can you just drive any car or steal it? Or do you want the player to stick to your very own unique car that you can tune?
The player will have one car that is “their” car, though they may be able to switch this car out for others. Additionally, cars will be stealable and drivable, but they won’t become the new player car. Once the player abandons them they are gone.
Sorry, I can't talk about this.
Will the Metro be a normal way of transportation you can use or is it somehow connected to a fast travelling system?
Too early to say at this level of detail.
I have seen a dog/cats in the artworks and the demo. Can we have cyberpets as companions, as well? What kind of other animals are there in the game?
We plan to include animals in the game world, but at the moment it’s too soon to talk about how the player might be able to interact with them. 2077 is taking place during an ecological collapse, so the animals you can expect to find in Night City would be those creatures who are best able to adapt to cities and humanity. Rats, cats, dogs, some birds, etc.
What kind of ways can the player use to dig deeper into the games lore and ingame history? E.g. newspapers, datapads, the Net, radio, TV channels.
We’re still talking about exactly how to handle this, but it’s my personal hope that we can handle this diegetically, so like you say, net, radio, TV, etc.
Apart from having a different gender - do both Vs have a different personality (more like brother and sister) or are they more like two sides of the same coin?
We’re still designing the characterization of the protagonist, so expect things along these lines to be revealed later. However, the male and female V are intended to represent the same person, so I would expect rough parity between them.
You said several times that it’s a game about decisions. Will your decisions as you progress in the game influence V as a personality, too or are they bound to the world around V? E.g. when I played Detroit I really got the feeling that the personality of my characters changed based on my decisions.
If we do our job well, you should definitely feel that V is a character that you helped author. So, yes.
Will decisions in the game have a visual impact on the game world?
Yes, though to what extent I can’t say yet.
Too early to talk about too many details here, but you can expect the NPCs in the game to have their own arcs for the player to explore.
Do you interact with them mostly through dialogs or can you somehow give them orders e.g.?
It’s too early to say, precisely.
How do the loot system and the crafting work?
We’re not talking details on this yet.
Compared to what can be found in the sourcebooks of Cyberpunk 2020 we so far have met pretty human characters. Yes, the Maelstrom people have wacky faces, but so far there have not been any Exotics or Full Body Replacements. Do you save those for the next months to show?
There’s a full body replacement in the trailer! The woman with the face missing and the “chrome celebrity” are the same person, Lizzy Wizzy, a pop star.
When you design the world of Night City, do you still have that design rule of the Witcher games in mind - to have something interesting to come across every 40 seconds?
Yeah, our philosophy on this hasn’t changed, though the specific ratios might be different in a dense urban environment.
More and more people in the last couple of years expressed that they simply enjoy travelling and discovering open worlds, even without touching the story. Is that something you consider during your development, as well?
The focus of the game is the story, but we want the exploration loop to be compelling on its own.
Will there be a photo mode?
We intend to provide this feature, yes.
Can you tell us to what degree cyberpsychosis will be important to the player?
Cyberpsychosis will appear as a theme and a subject matter in the game, but the extent to which it has an effect on the main character is still in development.
Will there be characters with cyberphychisis in the closer environment of the player - e.g. the companions?
Maybe, we’re not talking about this level of story detail yet.
When I hear transhumanism, I think mostly of utopian philosophical movements. I actualy see us as more heavily influenced by Gibson, Morgan, who propose that new technologies won’t save us from existing social systems, but will only make those things worse.
In my point of view Night City by daylight and by night both sound interesting. But when I think of Blade Runner e.g., which mostly plays in the dark - is it possible to wait in the game to have something like endless or returning night? E.g. Assassin’s Creed Origins had a nice and quick wait feature.
Like with Witcher, it is possible to advance time by resting or waiting.
What role do gangs play in the game? Are they all just enemies or are they like factions you can join with different standings for each of them and unique quests maybe?
Don’t expect a faction system, though obviously everything is still in development. We’d prefer your relationship with groups to be story rather than system based.
Your company has some very interesting EU projects. One of them is seamless multiplayer. Is this what you aim for in Cyberpunk 2077? Like a drop-in, drop-out multiplayer?
We have a team doing research into this topic, but we’re not ready to talk about specifics yet. We will be delivering a single player game at launch.
Other EU projects are called City Creation and Cinematic Feel - both sound as if they were tailored to Cyberpunk 2077. Can you tell us more about it?
I can’t talk too specifically about these grants because I’m not personally involved in them.
Thank you very much for your time!