Cyberpunk 2077’s Immersion Could Potentially Overshadow Witcher 3’s, According to Studio Head
Studio boss of CD Projekt Red Marcin Iwinski recently sat down for an interview with Glixel. A majority of the interview was spent speaking of the success of the company and its origins, while quite a bit was also spoke about the world of the Witcher and its influences. One section however, mentioned that fans can expect Cyberpunk 2077’s immersion to be greatly improved even from the Witcher 3.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a game in development by CD Projekt Red as is based upon the previous pen and paper RPG called Cyberpunk 2020. The setting is described as a world “in which advanced technologies have become both; the salvation and the curse of humanity” according to the game’s blog. The title will include a single player as well as a potential multiplayer component.
While still an RPG, the Witcher series can’t quite be called a “Western” or “Japanese” style game. It’s in a class of its own, jokingly referred to as a EERPG by Iwinski:
In the United States, we talk about “Western” role-playing games and Japanese role-playing games. But your studio, CD Projekt Red, is based in Poland. And The Witcher 3 doesn’t fit neatly into either category.
Eastern European RPGs? EERPGs? Let’s invent it. It’s official now.
I guess I’m also thinking of Ukrainian games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro 2033, which feel thematically similar to The Witcher games. Is there a post-communist style of video game?
The fact that we come from post-communist countries definitely adds something to our games. I wouldn’t say it’s a crucial, defining factor. But it shaped our nations in a certain way – I would say more our thinking.
In The Witcher, I think it more comes from our history and folk tales, because that’s what Andrzej Sapkowski was inspired by. He’s taking a lot of Eastern European folk tales – and Western ones as well – and deconstructing them and then rebuilding them. And then we add our layers of history. For the first time in an RPG, we have depicted medieval, rural Poland – the local architecture and structures. If I’m going to a museum of a 200-year-old Polish village, which I did a couple years ago, I see similar things that I see in certain parts of The Witcher. For me, it’s important. For an American player, they say, “Wow, it looks cool.” They won’t know where it comes from.
It’s interesting to see just how the Witcher series was created lore wise. They built up a world created upon real history and folklore in a way that made it an immersive, living place. In a sense, the world of the Witcher series was its own character. The only question is, how will they do that with Cyberpunk 2077’s immersion. The game is set in the future, therefore can’t quite use history and folklore like the Witcher series. Whatever it ends up being, the setting will most definitely take its rightful place as a character somehow. In the hands of CD Projekt Red fans can hope to expect the same level of detail if not better in Cyberpunk 2077’s immersion as there was in the Witcher 3.
Going from The Witcher to The Witcher 2 to The Witcher 3, each game is more ambitious and more sophisticated.
Witcher 1 is very much – I don’t like this word, but let’s use it – a hardcore RPG, with a hard interface, with a lot of tough mechanics. I think it’s a deep game on the story level, but still, if I were to have to play it from the beginning right now, I would probably have a hard time. Because I expect something else.
And so with The Witcher 2, we wanted to make it more cinematic. Having said that, when we shipped it, the PC version was extremely difficult, to put it lightly. I still remember one of the reviews in the U.S. where the journalist died in the prologue 50 times. And I was like, “Hmmm, I think we should rebalance it.” It was a lesson learned.
With The Witcher 3, we really paid a lot of attention to immersion. This is really what we expect from games these days. Where we come from, Poland and Eastern Europe – and Germany, in a certain way as well – players have had always had a certain tolerance for hardcoreness, for clunkiness in interface. Let’s say you have a game and you have to play with your hands crossed. “That’s fine, I’m a tough guy. I’m smart. I’ll play like that.” And then, after you play like that for six hours, you think playing like that is cool.
While in the U.S., which we had to learn the hard way, it’s: “If it’s like that, then I’m not playing it; see you, thanks.” It’s like the way the country is constructed. It’s user friendly. It’s easily approachable. I totally agree with that, but it was a long way to get to this understanding. When I sit right now and watch a TV series or play a game, I have limited time. I have a family. I have three kids. I don’t have time to learn the world for 10 hours in order to have another 20 hours of fun. I’m not talking about simplifying things. I’m talking about smart introductions and flawless immersion. That’s what we are very much after in games. And I think Witcher 3 was a very important step in this direction. The commercial success proves it.
Will we see a similar leap with Cyberpunk 2077?
We definitely hope so, but we never want to brag about things before we have something to show.
Making a game that is approachable but immersive sounds like quite the daunting task. Something that’s easy to pick up and play right away without having to learn how the controls work for hours sounds like a difficult task as well when fitting that into a way that feels natural to the player. That being said, CD Projekt Red did quite well with the Witcher 3, so it won’t come as a surprise if they outdo themselves with Cyberpunk 2077. It’s always a good thing to see a company like this take every bit of knowledge on the success they had in a previous game, and apply it to the next in an effort to truly improve it. It brings respect and loyalty from fans as well as a thirst for more. If its any indication from Iwinski, it sounds as though Cyberpunk 2077’s immersion and gameplay will be beyond anything players have ever experienced.
Lastly, Iwinski expressed a small bit interest VR, which would fit in to the theme of Cyberpunk 2077’s immersion improvements. Though it is also worth noting that right now the current VR tech isn’t quite to the level players could hope for playing a title like Cyberpunk.
Do you have any interest in virtual reality?
We are observing with interest. We are telling stories. If VR can help us, we’ll definitely consider it. But right now, I’m personally looking for something really substantial as an experience. Why did I pre-order the Switch? Not because I want the Switch. Because I want Zelda. And also, I’m probably not a very good case, because I get nausea very fast.
Do you agree with Iwinski? Will Cyberpunk 2077’s immersion be as good as CD Projekt Red hopes? Let us know in the comments section below. As always don’t forget to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter for 24/7 coverage of all things gaming and entertainment.
Chris Calles1052 Posts
Known as "Stash" or Yippee Calles. He's a student of everything, avid adrenaline junkie, and creator of random things. When he's not delving into a game, book, or movie - He's out teaching himself new things or taking part in some pretty epic adventures. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.