Fans of Cyberpunk 2077 are no strangers to waiting, having had to go through a major trial of patience ever since the game was announced for the first time almost a decade ago.
CD Projekt Red's first departure from the popular and acclaimed The Witcher series is shaping up to be an even bigger splash than Wild Hunt with all the hype that it has generated over the years with trailers and press releases. It's also suffered its share of delays, but will finally launch on the 19th of November, 2020 - provided all goes well.
While the origins of the Cyberpunk universe date back to 1988, the story of Cyberpunk 2077 specifically begins in May, 2012.
This is when CD Projekt Red, hot off the success of The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings catapulting them into the AAA spotlight, announced that they had entered a partnership with original creator Mike Pondsmith and acquired the license for a Cyberpunk video game project. A little less than a year later, in January 2013, the very first teaser trailer was shared with the world and the game's title - Cyberpunk 2077 - was revealed.
Though there was very, very little to go on, this was already enough to kick up significant hype around the project. The trailer itself was a full 3D "fly by" of a frozen frame where a "cyberpsycho", a cybernetically enhanced individual suffering from a side effect called cyberpsychosis, apparently massacred a number of civilians before being stopped by a MAX-TAC Psychosquad. One MAX-TAC operative is holding a gun to her head in preparation for execution. The trailer topped headlines for days following, and immediately sparked speculation among fans about the game.
In essence, this trailer was more meant for professionals in the game development industry rather than eventual customers. CDPR wasn't quite ready to begin development proper due to another colossal project on their plate - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - but due to the workings of AAA development cycles, it was important to attract talent somehow. After the 2013 teaser, a very long period of near-total radio silence followed, with only the occasional "what happened to Cyberpunk 2077?" op-eds breaking up slow news days.
As work was being finished up on The Witcher 3, the initial pre-production Cyberpunk team consisting of 50 developers ballooned and development picked up pace significantly in 2016. Though we learned little in terms of concrete game info, some tidbits slid through. Thanks to some public legal documents regarding subsidies paid by the Polish Government to help fund the game, it was revealed that a new generation of the RED Engine will be powering Cyberpunk 2077, and the increase of the project's scope led to CDPR opening a new studio to assist development.
It wasn't until E3 2018 that anything of real substance was given to the starving masses. Initially only announced for PC, the E3 trailer finally giving us an idea of what to expect confirmed Xbox and PlayStation versions as well. During the event, the press was shown a preliminary gameplay demo behind closed doors, which was revealed to the public at Gamescom in the same year. At this point, we finally had a pretty clear picture of what kind of world, aesthetic and gameplay to expect from the upcoming RPG.
Things got even more heated in 2019. At E3, CD Projekt Red revealed their secret weapon: Keanu Reeves.
Reeves would play iconic Cyberpunk character Johnny Silverhand in a starring role. Everyone loved the reveal, it spawned at least two popular memes, and almost overshadowed the additional gameplay trailer and insight into V's three possible backgrounds the developers also unveiled, though we still don't know too much about the story. This was also our first source of a tentative release date, aiming at April 2020. Ha.
Cyberpunk 2077's release date was eventually delayed to September 17, with the main reasoning being additional time required for polish and tweaking. Then the COVID-19 pandemic started, forcing another delay to November 19, which is the current release date, and we hope the final one.
With E3 and other gaming events in 2020 cancelled due to the outbreak, CDPR moved online and started revealing further info and details about the game via 'Night City Wire' livestreams. At this point, we have several gameplay trailers, a number of in-depth articles written by journalists given several hours to actually play the game as well as a hoard of screenshots and concept art.
As for additional media alongside the game, there is a lot being launched this year and in the next few to flesh out the world. Cyberpunk RED, a prequel tabletop RPG and the comic series Trauma Team by Dark Horse is being released, giving us different points of view through which we can experience the Cyberpunk universe. There's also an anime in development by Studio Trigger - Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is slated for a 2022 release on Netflix.
Cyberpunk 2077 is also launching on the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, and all players who buy the game on the current generation consoles will be able to get the upgraded port for free on their respective system. The initial release of the game this November will be a strictly single player affair, but a multiplayer mode is set to launch sometime in 2021.