Cyberpunk 2077 will be CD Projekt Red's first game that is not set in The Witcher series or universe. Before developing the first Witcher game, the company only worked on localizing other developers' games.
A studio that has worked in the same world since their inception is formed and defined by it, so how much of an influence will this past have on Cyberpunk 2077? Let's take a look at what we know so far and see if the near-future RPG is just a reskin, or much more.
We're still a ways away from the launch of Cyberpunk 2077. Delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the developers' desire to polish the game futher before release have pushed launch to December. That said, we already know a lot about the game thanks to gameplay demos, articles and reports about the features, mechanics and storyline.
In short, anyone expecting a simple, flashy and neon-drenched reskin of The Witcher in terms of gameplay and mechanics transplanted into the Cyberpunk universe is in for a shock. On the surface, it would be impossible to tell that the same talent behind Geralt's many adventures crafted the violent streets of Night City. The changes become apparent the moment you start playing the game.
In The Witcher, players step into the ready made and already well worn boots of Geralt of Rivia, protagonist of the novels that gave birth to the franchise. He's a complete, set, well-rounded character that players cannot customize beyond his outfit, and in The Wild Hunt, his hairstyle. At one point you can get a tattoo with quite the story behind it, but we'll leave you to discover how.
In Cyberpunk 2077, you get to create your character. You may select V's gender, alter their appearance, determine their background and have much greater control over their behavior and performance than in Geralt's case. Your choices have immense influence on the story of The Witcher, but ultimately you have little wiggle room regarding the White Wolf's personality.
The next dead giveaway hit when you start playing - the perspective. Every Witcher game is played from a third person perspective, whereas Cyberpunk 2077 adopted a more immersive first-person view, allowing you to explore Night City as seen through the eyes of V.
Combat is another stark difference. While melee weapons are present, Cyberpunk 2077 is primarily a shooter, with firearms being the primary form of weapons present. You can't have a real Cyberpunk experience without cyber samurai and glowing neon swords, but hot lead still enjoys prominence over clashing blades.
Your enemies also won't number monsters and knights - though ruffians are a returning nuisance. Cybernetically enhanced street gangsters, power-armored corporate security and mechanized opponents will stand in your way instead.
While there are some inevitable similarities, due to both being RPGs, the overall feel and atmosphere of the games, both in terms of setting - which is most overt - and gameplay are completely different. Ranging from under-the-hood coding and the mechanics that form the foundation of the entire experience to the smallest surface details, Cyberpunk 2077 is a completely distinct and unique experience - one that the developers are keen on perfecting before they release it to the public.