Cyberpunk 2077 was displayed here at E3 in a hands-off, behind-closed-doors demo. Developer CD Projekt Red warned that the game is a work in project before showing about 50 minutes of some actual gameplay. Unfortunately, no photos, videos or even audio recording was allowed.
Cyberpunk 2077 comes to PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on April 16, 2020. Nvidia also announced today that the game will support ray tracing.
In the demo, which took place in the middle of the game, V has been implanted with a biochip that houses the secret to immortality. But a digital ghost named Johnny Silverhand (played by Keanu Reeves) is also on her mind, and V needs the help of the Voodoo Boys, a group of hackers and netrunners with connection to the Haitian Creole community, and their leader, Brigitte, to learn more about it. They’re located in Pacifica, the southern-most point of Night City.
A male version of V is told to meet with the Voodoo Boys in a chapel nearby. It’s packed with Pacifican people. A poor man approaches him. With a Street Kid background, he gets an extra dialogue choice and finds that the poor man is his middleman. He sends V to a butcher shop to ask for Placide.
Pacifica is one of six districts. It was meant to be a tourist area, investors put money into it to make it a rich resort community. Investors pulled funding when the economy became uncertain. Now it’s abandoned by both government and corporations.
In the butcher shop, V’s face is scanned. The demo paused ever so briefly to show V using his eye translation feature to see the words a woman sings in Creole displayed in English before moving to the back of the shop. They sell synthetic meat, as real meat is a luxury.
Placide is in the back. He won’t talk there, so V follows him. Placide’s interest is in the Grand Imperial Mall that was never finished. A rival gang, the Animals, are using it as a hideout.
There’s a thriving electronics black market on the way. V checks out the goods and sees software, including a Daemon to unlock new netrunning abilities. A samurai leather jacket is also on sale, in addition to many other styles. You can equip it at checkout.
Sitting in his office, Placide says there are 30 or more Animals members and that if V takes a job, Placide will send him to Brigitte. Placide wants V to jack into Placide’s hardware, which is risky. Silverhand shows up like a ghost to watch.
Placide scans him, asks about the chip in his head, but V won’t tell. V says he has a bullet in his brain that disabled it. Placide decieds V is good for the job and shows him a van and other military grade gear to protect some tech.
But something strange is going on behind some doors near them. Placide pushes his colleague away. V has a choice in his dialogue tree. That push could've made him grumpy. The demo showed the player choosing not to let it do so.
Placide is now jacked into V’s head, seeing what he sees and hearing what he hears. Silverhand jokes that there are two people in V’s head now. If V does the job he can see Brigitte.
The sun is setting (the game has a day and night cycle). We see V get on a motorbike and turn on the radio. Players can pick different stations. V drives via open-world travel through a darkening city to the Voodoo Boys’ lookout. In other parts of the demo there were fast travel loading screens, but the developer told us that when the game comes out, you'll have the option do the entire thing with open-world travel if you prefer.
Within the dangerous Pacifica district, many things are on fire. V meet’s Placide’s men outside the mall, and they tell him how to get in. They warn him to go quietly, as all has been quiet so far. The only action was some guys leaving for supplies, so the Voodoo Boys are outnumbered.
Meet the Animals and Stealth Mechanics
The Animals love strength and prefer melee combat. They use steroid “juice” to increase muscle growth.
In the demo, we saw a more stealthy approach rather than guns blazing. He looks though car windows and sneaks around the garage. He uses his gun’s sights to look around and slides between boxes.
The Animals make it clear the lookouts haven’t gone unnoticed, and the guys inside are getting antsy. The place is well-guarded. V ducks into the shadows then begins his search for the van.
We see some stealth mechanics. V puts an enemy in a chokehold and send hims down a waste disposal chute with an environmental takedown. You can, however, finish the game without killing anyone, if you prefer.
V uses his scanner and finds he doesn’t have the character attributes to open it with strength. But scanning the camera and hacking lets him use an access point to reach the mall’s network. They do a quick puzzle over the network, matching cameras and other device codes. In the demo, we saw, V only gains basic access.
An enemy netrunner is on the network, so Placide warns V not to use the network if he doesn’t have to. But V shuts off the camera. He then finds the Animals in a boxing gym, training against robots. V hacks a robot to make it stronger, and it punches an Animal so hard it puts a gash in his head. Placide warns him to keep a low profile, but V then overrides the network connected to a weight machine and crushes a lifter.
Next, V goes up an escalator and distracts two enemies by hacking a vending machine and lashing them with a laser whip when they turn around. He collects the cola.
The van is in the distance
But What if We Used Guns?
But before we see the van, CD Project Red chose a “strong solo” female version of V with different attributes and playstyles to see how she would have performed the same mission.
She has no hacking abilities, but is strong. She forces open the door male V was too weak to open. She can’t, however, shut down cameras. She reaches an atrium that is right above the van, then scans it to take a closer look. Sasquatch, the Animals’ leader, is in front of the van. V turns around and punches out an Animal, waking up some nearby enemies in bunks. But she’s a melee fighter and uses a knife and broken bottle to take them out. She leveled up and found a revolver in the room.
Then we saw the attribute tree. The developers playing the demo unlocked in the Handguns II skill to increase revolver damage, then run straight into a firefight. V is done sneaking around.
She takes an Animal by the neck and uses him as a shield, and then ripped a turret off of its legs to use as a gun to fight the gang, some of which appeared to be using super-speed enhancements.
With all of them dead, the van is unprotected.
Back to the Hack
Then, he brought us back to the van as the netrunner, male V. He snuck all the way to the van and used a monowire, a piece of cyberware that can hack people from a distance.
The puzzle for access occurs again, which is enough access to infect him with the Daemon. He connects to the van and Placide sees NetWatch, a government agency in fighting cybercrime is behind everything. The van is gathering data on all of the traffic in Pacifica to keep tabs on the Voodoo Boys, who don’t get along with NetWatch.
The NetWatch agents are in the building, and V hacks a turret to take out Animal members who don’t want him to get to the government rep. V can use the Daemon they bought earlier to shut them down.
What Lies Beyond
The developers switched to strong V one last time and finds Sasquatch. She could be dodged, but V takes her on with a gun, shooting at a weak point in her back. As Sasquatch hits the ground with a hammer, V jumps behind her and shoots as she picks it back up. Once that’s destroyed, Sasquatch’s strength disappears. She grabs and hacks V, and the enemy netrunner starts hacking. Placide tries to stop the hacking and V defeats Sasuatch and kills her, (which they didn’t have to do).
In a cinema connected to the mall, Placide and V are disconnected. A western movie is playing on the screen. V moves through some hallways to the projector rooms and finds the NetWatch netrunner, Bryce Mosley.
Mosley wants to talk to V in private. He offers more money than the Voodoo Boys. V says she wants in with Brigitte. Mosley suggests Placide double-crossed her, Brigitte has been on the net this whole time and that Placide wants to get rid of V. V must decide to either trust either Placide and the Voodoo Boys or NetWatch. V sticks to her plans and connects to Mosley to stop cyber attacks NetWatch are planning on Brigitte.
Then, something goes wrong. V shuts down and reboots. Johnny Silverhand, voiced by Reeves, shows up and informs her that the Voodoo Boys had crossed her. Placide freed Brigitte and fried NetWatch and V, but somehow our hero survived.
V takes a bunch of money that Mosley left behind and leaves the mall. Placide’s goons are outside and agree to take her to Placide. He’s started - V shouldn’t have survived.
At Placide’s hideout, she punches a confused enemy. Brigitte is there with her. She wants to talk one-on-one, and Placide leaves.
Brigitte knows about her biochip and wants to make sure it still works. She promises V a word with Alt Cunningham, the first NetRunner to become a digitized consciousness on the net.
She leads V to the center of the Voodoo Boys’ hideout, through an old train system that has crumbled
Brigitte suggests they can use Silverhand’s part of the chip as bait to summon Alt Cunningham. V jumps in an ice bath, gets jacked into the VooDoo Boys’ network and Johnny Silverhand goes quiet.
V starts to see everything fade. She whimpers as everything goes black. Then, she’s in Cyberspace. It’s fractured, and not everything is visible. Brigitte says it’s a bridge to the deep net, They find the black wall, where no one has returned. If Alt comes through, she will be the first.
The wall gets hit from the other side and starts to shift.
The demo whizzed through its most interesting parts. We didn't see many of the specialized dialogue trees, nor was a lot of time taken to explore Pacifica, which was rich and detailed as V raced through it.
But the customizations to play in the way you want seem extremely promising. The demo, skill tree, clothing, dialog options and skills were only a taste of what's to come. We'll see how the game truly plays next year.
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Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.
This game is so funky. Might be something I have to pick up.Reply