From The Witcher 3 to Cyberpunk 2077

Come November 19th, we’re going to finally be able to live out our futuristic fantasies in the form of Cyberpunk 2077, with no fears of further delays. Having been confirmed Gold status back on October 5th, we can finally unclench our bumcheeks scared of having to wait even longer and reclench them with heightened anticipation. I wanted to take a look at the journey of CD Projekt Red, from The Witcher 3 to Cyberpunk 2077, and look at how they became such a beloved company in the gaming community.

Why are CD Projekt Red one of the most exalted developers of the modern era, and how did they gain this elevated status? I think it boils down to the amount of care they put in to their titles. The release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt propelled the company to new heights, due to its incredible story, characters and depth. Obviously a lot of the credit has to go to the creator of The Witcher series Andrzej Sapkowski as none of this would exist without him, but I would argue that CD Projekt Red are responsible for how wide spread The Witcher series has become. I highly doubt there would have been a Netflix series created if they hadn’t made such a successful game franchise. Before we talk about Cyberpunk 2077, let’s look a bit more at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt & DLC

Their pro consumer focused way of delivering products is perhaps one of the main reasons they are so esteemed. The Witcher 3 only saw two paid DLC’s brought out post release, costing around £19.99 if you bought the season pass. The two DLC packs, Hearts of stone and Blood and wine were kind of groundbreaking at the time. To this day they are still some of the best DLC money can buy. Their were also minor DLCs like different armours or extra questlines added to the game for completely free. What’s not to love about that?

Hearts of stone, whilst populating an unused part of the original map was relatively short but the story was incredible. For me the Master of Mirrors, otherwise known as Gaunter O’Dimm is one of the most interesting villains I’ve ever come across in an RPG. There were some incredible quests, one of the most memorable ones had a wraith that was obsessed with spoons. You’ll find out why when playing, but it’s understandable ’cause who doesn’t love a good spoon? There’s a lot on offer from Hearts of Stone and I haven’t even mentioned the character Olgierd von Everec.

Then there’s the second DLC – Blood and Wine. Possibly the best DLC ever released, no joke. If you consider the price tag of the season pass both of the DLC packs cost £10 each, and that price is almost criminal for the quality of content you got here. I think, and most people would probably agree, Blood and Wine could have been released as a standalone title.

We follow Geralt as he travels to a completely new continent Toussaint, sprawling with vineyards, villas and luscious open greenery. Bringing a completely new colour pallet and almost Mediterranean vibe, this contrast to the original war torn setting makes you feel like you’re playing a different game. He travels here tasked with solving a string of murders believed to have been carried out by a sentient monster. A whole story based on vampires both lesser and higher is fascinating. The introduction of Regis, one of Geralts’ old friends is also one of the highlights of the expansion. He’s extremely intriguing, I only wish we could have had more dialogue opportunities with him. The main villain of this story is Dettlaff, a higher vampire with prior connections to Regis, which adds an interesting dynamic.

Then of course there is the base game, everyone knows how good it is. There are some people that don’t like it as with most things in life, I think mainly due to the combat being simple and repetitive. I would recommend playing through on Death March difficulty, it definitely adds an excitement to the combat with the higher risk of death. I will say that when I first started playing I gave up when you’re trying to find Dandelion because it just took too long. Only to return to the game a few months later and finish it. On that note why did the show choose to keep the name Jaskier? I much prefer Dandelion. Anywho…

I could probably bang on about The Witcher 3 for the rest of eternity given the chance, having completed it three times, but I’ll spare you for now as this article is about CDPR as a whole and Cyberpunk 2077.

The business model

The kind of business model they used on the The Witcher 3 is a diamond in the rough, we as gamers had grown used to game companies hiding everything behind paywalls, it had become the norm. One would hope that CDPR have helped to turn a new leaf in the industry, where microtransactions are minimilised and DLC is of noteworthy quality, but that’s probably just me being blindly optimistic. CDPR however have announced and clarified that there’ll be no microtransactions in the singleplayer section of the game. I’m still surprised that they’re opting to release a multiplayer section post release, but we can expect to see microtransactions in the MP.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 was announced seven years ago (how time flies),  and finally releases next month. It’s had its fair share of set backs, having been delayed twice now and some people view that as a grievance. I think most appreciate the honesty of the dev’s to not release a game they’re not happy with. This practice is something others can learn from. How many games have been released completely broken or just straight up buggy? I’ve refunded some games in the past that I otherwise wanted to play just because they were poorly optimised.

Lets not beat around the bush here, Cyberpunk 2077 looks incredible. For CDPR to go from making one of the best third person RPGs ever to possibly one of the best first person RPGs ever (and on a different engine, cough Bethesda cough) is something to admire. Apart from occasionally having my excitement piqued when new details are announced, I’ve tried to keep everything I’ve watched of it to a bare minimum so I go in relatively blind. Having said that, leading up to this article I watched a few Night City Wire episodes and even one of the Deep Dive videos from a year ago I hadn’t seen before.

It’s looking to be a near perfect role playing experience. Being able to choose the origin of your character and customise it, being able to choose your playstyle and not being limited to a certain class, and having multiple choices in every quest that actually have consequences. It’s similar in RPG category I would say to Fallout: New Vegas. You have the basic origin of your character, but you can mould it however you want. Choices matter, whether it be which faction you help or who you decide to kill. When RPGs are crafted this way instead of let’s say, Fallout 4, where you’re forced to play as a dad who’s sole purpose is to cry over their dead spouse (that no-one cares about) and find their child (that also no-one cares about) are just made for better gaming experiences. Especially if the story is told as poorly as in Fallout 4.

After watching these videos I have full faith in CDPR to release a polished and fully finished game that I can’t wait to experience. Here’s a trailer that seemingly spoils a lot of the plot, but is actually only taken from the prologue. Just the prologue!

Worries and reassurance?

Having gushed over it I will admit one concern, I remember seeing some gameplay of hand to hand combat that looked clunky AF. The best way to describe it is that it looked like The Witcher combat but in first person, if you’ve played The Witcher 3 you should understand my concerns. That was a while ago though, and we all know how much a game can change between the stages of it being in Alpha and finally going Gold.

Yet with our past experience of CDPR I can only imagine what kind of treats we’ll be in for post release. If it follows in the same vein as as The Witcher 3 we can expect at least two expansive stories that are, let’s be honest, meticulously crafted. I can’t wait to tear it up through Night City! But of course let’s not get carried away with ourselves, and hope that the base game is as good as we hope.

What path do you think you’ll choose for your character? Street Kid, Nomad or Corporate?
All three of them look interesting, but I think I’m leaning more towards corporate for my first experience. We look forward to hearing more about your first experience in Night City when Cyberpunk 2077 releases on November 19 – pre-order here!

All images used are directly from CDProjekt Red.

For more news, reviews and features from us, check out Ready Player Gone.

Marshall Burrows
Lead Editor @ Ready Player Gone.


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