Cyberpunk 2077 represents a major change for CD Projekt Red, and not just because it's a sci-fi RPG rather than a fantasy RPG like The Witcher series. It's a first-person immersive sim set in a neon-lit city, and as quest director Mateusz Tomaskiewicz explained in a recent interview with AreaJugones (run through Google Translate), it's aiming for a very different experience than The Witcher.
"We are trying to catch what worked with The Witcher and also work on the variety and non-linearity of the gameplay," Tomaskiewicz said. Where The Witcher strived to marry a massive open world to a strong, central story, Tomaskiewicz says he was inspired by games like Deus Ex, Vampire Bloodlines, and even The Elder Scrolls while working on Cyberpunk. Incidentally, he was probably happy to learn that Bloodlines is now getting a sequel almost 15 years later.
"I would say the Deus Ex franchise, especially the original Deus Ex," Tomaskiewicz said of his inspirations. "This one had a great impact on me as a developer and player back when I played it for the first time many years ago. And what I really liked about that game was completing the missions in many ways. It was not only based on dialogue decisions, since you also had the things that were on the map and its different points of entry that allowed you to get into buildings, as well as elements that opened different paths in history."
Quest design will be critical to Cyberpunk 2077's storytelling. As quest designer Patrick Mills previously said, all the game's side quests will feature details and production values "as high as, or close to, the critical path." Mills also said every side quest "has to have something you've never seen before," which dovetails nicely with the open-ended Deus Ex approach Tomaskiewicz described.
Cyberpunk 2077 will reportedly release by 2021, alongside another unannounced game from CD Projekt Red.