Could this be Cyberpunk 2077's "A Realm Reborn" or "No Man's Sky Next" moment? It's definitely too early to tell, but those of you who still see potential in CDPR's recent embattled RPG might have your hopes answered - if a recent leak turns out to be true instead of hogwash. Posted to 4Chan, as leakers do, a list of details from Cyberpunk 2077's next-gen update and first expansion are making the rounds.
Before release, much was said about Cyberpunk 2077's post-launch content support - nothing concrete, mind - to hype it up. A free DLC track, expansions, and an eventual multiplayer mode. Plans have significantly changed since the major controversy following the game's launch, which saw large amounts of studio resources transferred to patching up the vanilla title.
Multiplayer is effectively cancelled, the free DLC track was delayed and downsized, and there hasn't been a lot of official acknowledgement of the expansions. The game was also slated to get an overhaul for the next-gen consoles, which similarly saw a major delay and has yet to get an official release date - though the last official statement did give a ballpark of Q1 2022.
Now, if a new leak posted to 4Chan turns out to be legit, a lot of light is being shed on just what to expect. 4Chan is a pretty standard platform for game leaks, but the site has seen *way* more fake rumors than actual leaks, so take this all with a healthy dose of skepticism.
The 1.5 Update
Apparently, in light of all the issues with Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red decided to upscale instead of downscale the promised next-gen update. No longer just about visual polish for new hardware, the leak claims that the major 1.5 update has been rebranded as "Samurai Edition" and is essentially a soft relaunch of the entire game.
CDPR might have been inspired by the unexpected and monumental redemption stories that some of the most reviled-at-launch games went through in recent years, and hope to have Cyberpunk 2077 rise like a phoenix out of its ashes. Not unlike the Next update for NMS, it seems that Samurai Edition will be the version of Cyberpunk 2077 that CDPR wanted to/should have released in the first place.
This new update will, if the leak proves true, add a bunch of missing features that were either promised by the devs but eventually cut, or broadly requested by fans since release. Such features include barbershops (and presumably other ways to alter your character's appearance after starting the game), a garage system, an item appearance customization system, an overhauled UI and sweeping improvements to loot and AI.
Packed into this 1.5 update - assumed to be free to all owners of the game - are also some of the free DLC features that ended up missing from the actual free DLC track. New Game +, apartment decoration and customization and a bunch of new missions and weapons.
This update is also allegedly going to include a swath of smaller additions and improvements to just about every facet of the game - small tweaks, adjustments and bits of new content not big enough to call out on their own, but together major enough to make a difference. Think of things like major characters interacting with V more over the phone and such.
Unlike the Samurai Edition update planned to yank Cyberpunk 2077 into the quality tier one would expect from a major AAA title, the actual expansion/s aren't going to be free. Here, the leak speaks of something as major as The Witcher 3's expansions, which also cost money - understandably. Considering the controversy around the game, you're probably going to be hearing grumbling about this though.
Before launch, Cyberpunk 2077 was slated to get two major, paid expansions. Since launch, there's been a lot of uncertain statements and radio silence, but it seems like plans changed a bit behind closed doors - now, one expansion is shaping up to be an alleged certainty, with the second's fate depending on the success and reception of the first.
This first expansion will, according to the leak, open up a huge new area in Pacifica called the Combat Zone, which is described as even more dangerous and dilapidated than any of the areas we've already seen - the leak compares it to areas from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. The location sees constant, active gang warfare between two new and particularly brutal gangs, The Bozos and Slaughterhouse, rocking clown and fascist aesthetics, respectively.
It seems that aside of a war-torn district with two awful gangs, this first expansion is also going to introduce Cyberpunk 2077's attempt to catch lightning in a bottle twice, with a Gwent-esque mini game. Aside of being straight up a card game, the leak claims this mini game will also involve battles between holographic monster avatars. It's like Pokémon, except they swear.
There's no release or pricing information among the leaked details.
CD Projekt Red will announce all this, and more, as part of a big livestream in February - or so the leak claims. It's also clear that the company isn't willing to cut losses and abandon the Cyberpunk universe, as additional content is in the works - namely an anime series from Studio Trigger called Cyberpunk 2077: Edgerunners, also allegedly to be revealed at this livestream.
This all sound well and good, but it's going to take a lot of hard work from CDPR to reclaim the goodwill they lost - if they can at all. Much of the harm to their public image wasn't even caused by the issues in the game, but by how the studio and their leadership handled the resultant controversy - and we don't know if any amount of patches and content can fix that. Hopefully Cyberpunk 2077 will become another one of gaming's redemption stories, rather than stay a dud.
Don't forget though - it's entirely possible that nothing in this leak is actually true.