The game was developed using the REDengine 4 by a team of around 500 people, exceeding the number that worked on the studio's previous game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015). CD Projekt launched a new division in Wrocław, Poland, and partnered with Digital Scapes, Nvidia, QLOC, and Jali Research to aid the production. Cyberpunk creator Mike Pondsmith was a consultant, and actor Keanu Reeves has a starring role. The original score was led by Marcin Przybyłowicz, featuring the contributions of several licensed artists.
CD Projekt released Cyberpunk 2077 for PlayStation 4, Stadia, Windows, and Xbox One on 10 December 2020, with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions planned to follow in 2021. It received praise for its narrative, setting, and graphics, although some of its gameplay elements received mixed responses. In contrast, it was widely criticized for bugs, particularly in the console versions which also suffered from performance issues. Sony removed it from the PlayStation Store on 17 December 2020 until "further notice".
Cyberpunk 2077 is played in a first-person perspective as V, a mercenary whose voice, face, hairstyles, body type and modifications, background, and clothing are customisable. Stat categories—Body, Intelligence, Reflexes, Technical, and Cool—are influenced by the character classes that players assume, which are NetRunner (hacking), Techie (machinery), and Solo (combat). V must consult a "ripperdoc" to upgrade and purchase cyberware implants; black markets offer military-grade abilities. The rarity of any given equipment is shown by a coloured tier system. V can take cover, aim, run, jump, double jump, and slide. Melee strikes can be dealt with close-combat weapons. There are three types of ranged weapons, all of which can be customised and modified—Power (standard), Tech (which penetrate walls and enemies), and Smart (with homing bullets). Ranged weapons are equipped to ricochet bullets in a target's direction and slow them down in bullet time. Four types of damage can be inflicted and resisted—Physical, Thermal, EMP, and Chemical. Weapon use increases accuracy and reloading speed, which are manifested in character animations. Gunsmiths repair and upgrade weapons. The game can be completed without killing anyone, with non-lethal options for weapons and cyberware.
The open world metropolis Night City, California, consists of six regions—the corporate City Center, immigrant-inhabited Watson, luxurious Westbrook, suburban Heywood, gang-infested Pacifica, and industrial Santo Domingo. Its surrounding area, the Badlands, can also be explored. V navigates these locations on foot and in vehicles, which are subject to either a third- or first-person view. Pedestrians are vulnerable to vehicular collisions. Depending on the location, law enforcement may be alerted if V commits a crime. Radio stations are available to listen to. The full day-night cycle and dynamic weather affect the way non-player characters (NPCs) behave. V owns an apartment and a garage. Night City features non-English-speaking characters, whose languages can be translated with special implants. "Braindance" is a device that allows V to undergo other people's experiences.Branching dialogues enable interaction with NPCs and actions in quests. Experience points are obtained from main quests and fuel the stats; side quests yield "street cred", unlocking skills, vendors, places, and additional quests. Quests are acquired from characters known as Fixers. Throughout the game, V is aided by various companions. Consumables, like soft drinks, are used for healing, and objects can be inspected in V's inventory. Minigames include hacking, boxing, auto racing, martial arts, and shooting ranges. Player choice leads to different endings.
Night City is an American megacity in the Free State of North California, controlled by corporations and unassailed by the laws of both country and state. It sees conflict from rampant gang wars and its ruling entities contending for dominance. The city is reliant on robotics for everyday aspects like waste collection, maintenance, and public transportation. Its visual identity is derived from the four eras it underwent—austere Entropism, colourful Kitsch, imposing Neo-Militarism, and opulent Neo-Kitsch. Homelessness abounds but does not preclude cybernetic modification for the poor, giving rise to cosmetic addiction and consequent violence. These threats are dealt with by the armed force known as Psycho Squad. Trauma Team can be employed for rapid medical services. Because of the constant threat of physical harm, all citizens are allowed to openly carry firearms in public.
The game begins with the selection of one of three lifepaths for the player character V (Gavin Drea or Cherami Leigh): Nomad, Streetkid, or Corpo. As a Nomad, V quits their clan Bakkers and moves to the big city for the first time; as a Streetkid, V comes home to Night City after a few years living elsewhere; and as a Corpo, V is suddenly fired from their job at Arasaka Corporation as a result of their supervisor’s incompetent power play. In the first two lifepaths, V befriends local thug Jackie Welles (Jason Hightower), while in the third, Welles is an old friend. All three lifepaths converge on the same title sequence, a montage of V and Welles’s various adventures with a netrunner, T-Bug.
In 2077, local fixer Dexter DeShawn (Michael-Leon Wooley) hires V and Welles to steal a mysterious biochip known as the Relic from Arasaka Corporation. After they acquire the Relic, the plan goes awry when they become inadvertent witnesses to the murder of the megacorp’s leader, Saburo Arasaka (Masane Tsukayama), at the hands of his treacherous son Yorinobu (Hideo Kimura). Yorinobu covers up the murder by claiming his father had been poisoned, and triggers a security sweep. T-Bug is killed by Arasaka's netrunners. A firefight breaks out as V and Welles make their escape; Welles is fatally wounded, the Relic's protective case is critically damaged, and V is forced to save the Relic by inserting the biochip into the cyberware in their own head.
DeShawn is furious at the unwanted police attention. He shoots V in the head and leaves V for dead in a landfill. Upon awakening, V is haunted by the digital ghost of iconic rock star Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves), who was believed to have died in 2023 during an attempted thermonuclear attack on Arasaka Tower. V learns from their ripperdoc Viktor Vector (Michael Gregory) that DeShawn’s bullet triggered resurrectionnanotech on the biochip, but also began an irreversible process by which Silverhand's memories and personality will overwrite their own. The biochip cannot be removed, and V only has weeks left to live, so V must seek out a way to remove Silverhand and survive.
Through reliving Silverhand's memories, V learns that in 2023, Silverhand's then-girlfriend and brilliant netrunner Alt Cunningham (Alix Wilton Regan) had created Soulkiller, an artificial intelligence able to copy netrunners' minds through their neural links. However, the process destroyed the target's brain. Arasaka kidnapped Cunningham and forced her to create their own version of Soulkiller which stores minds in Arasaka's digital fortress, Mikoshi. Silverhand led a rescue effort to save Cunningham, but failed to find her before Arasaka used Soulkiller on her. Silverhand sought revenge through his attempted thermonuclear attack, but Arasaka captured him and used Soulkiller on him as well.
By 2077, Arasaka had become adept enough at using Soulkiller technology to publicly advertise a "Secure Your Soul" program. The Relic arose from Arasaka's secret research into completing the loop: to write a digital copy of a mind into a living human brain. Eventually, V must decide whether to mount an attack on Arasaka Tower, in order to gain physical access to Mikoshi and use Soulkiller to remove Silverhand from their body.
Depending upon player actions and side missions completed throughout the game, V can choose between different options to conduct the attack. V can decide to not attack and instead commit suicide (which ends the game immediately), allow Silverhand to take over their body and stage the attack with his former crew, mount the attack with a network of allies assembled during the game, or mount the attack solo (with aid from Silverhand). In all endings in which V does not immediately die, it is revealed that even after using Soulkiller to read Silverhand and V's conjoined minds into Mikoshi and then writing V alone back to their body, the damage to V's body is irreversible. Depending upon player choice, V either remains in their body, with an uncertain life expectancy, or allows Silverhand to take over, in which case Silverhand now permanently in control of V's body pays respects to his various friends and leaves Night City to start a new life.
Cyberpunk creator Mike Pondsmith acted as a consultant since 2012.
The first-person perspective was chosen to immerse players more than what third-person would allow. Cutscenes and gameplay were both made in first-person to seamlessly blend together. The game features full nudity, which game director Adam Badowski said encapsulates the theme of transhumanism—"the body is no longer sacrum [sacred]; it's profanum [profane]". The script was written in Polish and a separate team translated the dialogue into English. The quest designers focused on enabling players to decide the order in which quests are undertaken. Side quests were often made from unused parts of the main story. Animation systems were remade to better generate muscle movement, motion capture was improved, and environments were created from prefabricated designs. Reused models had their colours and details altered. Feedback from E3 2018 influenced the non-lethal playthrough and removed the male-female option in character customisation, instead basing it on voice and body type.
Night City was designed with the help of urban planners, and its architecture drew on the style of Brutalism. The world is loaded using vertical streaming[clarification needed] to merely render the assets that appear on screen. By August 2018, the story was completed and could facilitate a complete playthrough. The content was nearly complete in mid-2019, with the rest of development focused largely on polishing. Staff started working from home in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a halt in localisation. Despite the studio's disavowal of mandatory overtime in May and June 2019, "crunch time" was implemented in the final weeks. In October2020, Cyberpunk2077 was released to manufacturing.
Marcello Gandini's designs from the '80s and '90s shaped most of the vehicles' looks. It features a motorbike from the Akira manga and anime film and a car inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). In July 2018, actor Keanu Reeves was approached for the role of Johnny Silverhand, codenamed Mr Fusion to maintain secrecy. He would lend his likeness to, voice, and do motion capture for the character. Reeves' dialogue amount is second only to that of V. Having first spent fifteen days recording his lines, Reeves was later granted his request that Silverhand's screen presence be doubled.Masane Tsukayama portrays Arasaka Corporation leader Saburo Arasaka. Singer Grimes voices the frontwoman of Lizzy Wizzy and the Metadwarves.
At E3 2019, an initial release date of 16 April 2020 was announced. This was delayed to 17 September, then 19 November, and finally 10 December.
With E3 2020 cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CD Projekt's online event Night City Wire showed additional trailers, more gameplay, and making-of footage. Next-generation ports for Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 were announced for 2021. Owners of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will be able to freely download the game on their respective next-generation models. The delayed standalone multiplayer was announced to launch after 2021.
The collector's edition consists of a custom box, steelbook, figurine depicting a male V, hardcover artbook, metal pin set and keychain, A Visitor's Guide to Night City, embroidered patches, world compendium, Night City postcards and map, and stickers. The standard edition also contains the compendium, postcards, map, and stickers. Digital items that come with every copy are the soundtrack, art booklet, Cyberpunk 2020sourcebook, wallpapers, and Cyberpunk2077: Your Voice comic. Purchases through CD Projekt's subsidiary GOG.com include the digital comic Cyberpunk2077: Big City Dreams.Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment distributed the game in North America.Bandai Namco Entertainment acted as distributor for twenty-four European countries, Australia, and New Zealand.Spike Chunsoft published the physical PlayStation 4 copies in Japan.
Cyberpunk 2077 won over one hundred awards at E3 2018, including Best Game, Best Xbox One Game, Best PC Game, Best RPG, and People's Choice at IGN, Best Role-Playing Game and Game of the Show at Game Informer, Best of E3 at PC Gamer, and Game of the Show at GamesRadar+. The second trailer was considered one of the best at the expo, although writer William Gibson, credited with pioneering the cyberpunk subgenre, described it as "GTA skinned-over with a generic 80s retro-future". Gibson later expressed an affinity toward the first gameplay demo. The first-person perspective, in contrast with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's third-person, was subject to criticism.Cyberpunk2077 was the most widely discussed game of E3 2019, where it was presented awards for Best of E3 at GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and Ars Technica, and Best Game, People's Choice, Best PS4 Game, Best Xbox One Game, Best PC Game, and Best RPG at IGN. The third trailer was lauded with emphasis on Reeves' reveal.
Liana Ruppert, a journalist for Game Informer who has photosensitive epilepsy, experienced a grand mal seizure while reviewing the game days before its release. The seizure was triggered by the game's "braindance" sequence, which contains red and white flashing lights that reportedly resemble the patterns produced by medical devices used to intentionally trigger seizures. In response, CD Projekt Red made a public statement and reached out to Liana. The company then released a patch to add a warning, and issued a later patch on 11 December to reduce the risk of inducing epileptic symptoms.
Prior to the release of the game, CD Projekt Red provided review copies of Cyberpunk to several major outlets. CD Projeckt Red issued strict review embargo terms on these review copies, requiring reviewers to sign NDAs and only allowing for footage provided by the company to be shown in reviews; according to Wired Magazine (which did not receive a reviewer copy), violating the NDA could cost around $27,000 per violation. Concern also arose over the fact review copies were issued for the PC version of the game, ensuring that all pre-release reviews related to the PC version of the game, excluding consoles. As a result, this eroded trust from some consumers. The reviews aggregation OpenCritic criticized CD Projekt Red for deliberately attempting to misrepresent the game, and not delivering review copies for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 knowing it would receive negative reviews.
The PC release of Cyberpunk 2077 received "generally favorable" reviews from critics, according to Metacritic. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game received "mixed or average reviews".
Critics praised the quality of the story as well as the depth and expansiveness of side quests, immersive atmosphere of the world, visual quality, and freshness of the cyberpunk setting. The game's systems such as crafting, driving mechanics, and combat received a mixed response. Some critics, while acknowledging the games' many strengths, nonetheless criticized it for a shallow portrayal of the cyberpunk genre, and its portrayal of related themes such as anti-capitalism and anarchism they described as ironic. Others took issue with the portrayal of transgender people, who they felt were fetishized by in-game material but were not given any meaningful role in the narrative. Certain technical aspects of the game such as numerous bugs and performance issues (particularly on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions) were widely criticized.
Initial reviews were based only on the PC version of the game, as this was the only edition supplied to reviewers prior to the premiere. Some of these reviews were later updated to add a caveat about the dramatic difference in performance between this version of the game and its console releases.
The release of the highly-anticipated game was a high-profile event and was considered by many to be a shameful launch. The Guardian called the release "shambles", while New York Times said it was among the most conspicuous disasters in the industry's history, with CD Projekt Red prominently failing to meet expectations for what was anticipated to be the biggest game release of the year. Other gaming industry commentators have described the post-launch reception of Cyberpunk as a fall from grace for CD Projekt Red, who had previously enjoyed a fiercely pro-consumer reputation.
Although the game's reviews were largely positive, its aggregate score was thought to be disappointing by analysts. CD Projekt SA stock fell by up to 9.4% after the publication of Metacritic's reviews. Having previously asked its employees to work 6-day weeks for several final months of the development of the game, the company ditched plans to tie developers' bonuses to review scores, choosing instead to pay out the full bonus regardless.
Because of the game's performance on consoles, CD Projekt issued an apology, particularly for their pre-release secrecy regarding these versions, concluding that unsatisfied consumers could opt for refunds. This was initially followed by multiple reports of players unable to get said refund. CD Projekt Red later stated that they had no specific deals in place with either Microsoft or Sony to facilitate such an action; refunds are dealt with according to standard refund policies. On 17 December 2020, Sony announced that it would offer refunds to customers who had purchased Cyberpunk 2077 through the PlayStation Store and removed it from the store until further notice. The Xbox One version of the game remained available for purchase from the online Microsoft store, albeit with a warning about the game's performance issues. Players who bought the game through the Microsoft store were also offered refunds. In the US, GameStop accepted returns of boxed versions of the game even if the box was opened, an exception to the store's usual refund policy.
On launch day, the game broke 1 million concurrent viewers on Twitch.
Cyberpunk 2077 received 8 million pre-orders on all platforms, of which 74% were digital, and it received more pre-orders than The Witcher3: Wild Hunt; one third of PC sales were through GOG.com. It was a best-seller on Steam in China. CD Projekt Red has stated that digital preorders for the title alone recouped the game's production cost as well as the game's 2020 marketing cost. According to a CD Projekt investors call, sales saw a drastic decline four days after release owing to the technical issues present. As of 20 December 2020, the game sold over 13 million copies.
Within twelve hours after its release, the game had over one million concurrent players on Steam. The PlayStation 4 version of Cyberpunk 2077 sold an estimated 104,600 physical copies during its debut week in Japan, making it the second highest selling retail game of the week in the country.
^ abTaylor-Kent, Oscar (October 2020). "_Cyberpunk 2077's art team talk to Oscar Taylor-Kent about creating the hot looks, fast rides, big guns, and slick cyberware that defines Night City". PlayStation Official Magazine – UK. No. 179. pp. 50–58.