A big part of open-world gaming — and a somewhat negative one at that — has always been this notion of making things "bigger." For example, Rockstar has successively released more and more sprawling maps within each of its new titles. The idea that size matters has plagued the free-roaming genre for years. However, CD Projekt Red intends to examine the open-world game in a far more intricate capacity.
Some fans may find it disheartening to hear that Cyberpunk 2077 will have a map size smaller than The Witcher 3's, but there's no need to gather the torches or raise your pitchforks. It's clear that larger, more sprawling worlds to explore are the most anticipated part of playing free-roaming games, but maybe there's more to Cyberpunk than mindless adventure. In an interview at Gamescom, developer Richard Borzymowski said: "It's basically — you take the world of The Witcher and you squeeze it right in." Since it's supposed to have more of a "humane crunch" than The Witcher, there might be some merit to having a smaller, denser open adventure.
The Witcher 3 player base will remember that while it was a free-roaming game, you still had to "teleport" to different areas on the sprawling map. It wasn't like Red Dead Redemption 2, where the wide-open frontier was accessible at your leisure. For comparison's sake, The Witcher 3 had a map size that was about 3.5 times larger than Skyrim's, which is 39 square kilometers. Grand Theft Auto V also introduced a relatively new concept: underwater detail. Replete with shipwrecks, drowned airplanes, and a secret UFO, GTA V's beautiful world reached even down to the bottom of the seas.
Likewise, CDPR wants to do something very similar in the way of city structure and interior layouts. Borzymowski went on to add: "[Night City] is an integral part of the setting; it's essentially a protagonist if you want to call it that, so it has to be denser."
There will be an intricate variety of sections found throughout the skyscraper-ridden area, all with their own identities and unique interiors. Just look at the teased in-game boss, which despite living in a futuristic society, wields a sledgehammer.
The fact that the DLC won't be cut from the main game also beckons many different replayability options, opening the possibility for more areas well after its April 2020 launch."The game will allow you to enter many buildings, knowing that everything was done by hand, because we believe that quality comes first through manual creation, nothing is procedural in our world. It is in this that the city of Night City will be vast to go, thanks to this verticality," said lead cinematic animator Maciej Pietras on the nature of the open-world in an interview with JeauxActu.
This "verticality" as she calls it plays an important role in breathing life into Night City, giving it that touch of diverse flair and immense realism. It's clear Cyberpunk isn't about having a sprawling metropolis as much as it is about what lies at the center of it all, in between the mean streets and sinister alleyways - the heart and soul of Night City itself.
Skeptical and disheartened fans should heed the notion of interesting and viable locales over unnecessarily huge maps. The sprawling size of Red Dead Redemption 2, with its luscious vistas, buffalo-trodden plains, rolling hills, and gator-infested swamps, doesn't amount to much when there's little else of interest to do than watch the sunset. Cyberpunk will be the next step, a literal self-download into a world offering hours of adventure and enjoyment without the need for an enormous open world.
If Keanu Reeves thinks it's breathtaking, there can't be much of a debate.