After a series of delays, it’s starting to feel like Cyberpunk 2077 is finally about to release and its pacing looks like it’ll be the game’s biggest challenge. Cyberpunk 2077 promises to be one of the biggest and most richly detailed games ever made, but sometimes bigger isn’t always better.
The vast majority of Cyberpunk 2077 will likely take place within Night City, but it appears that the surrounding badlands will be more than just a barren wasteland without a whole lot going on. Each time CD Projekt Red has shown the game off, it feels like the content being revealed is completely different than what’s already been seen. And that’s without factoring in that the game’s narrative will have three completely different beginnings. It feels impossible to grasp just how big this game is actually going to be, and the number of delays Cyberpunk 2077 has had has only reinforced that thought.
As good as Cyberpunk 2077 looks, there’s a real chance that this title could become the poster child for a game being too much. Expansive open worlds are great and can be incredibly immersive, which makes it easy to get lost in them, but that sentiment can only last for so long. No matter how good a game is, the majority of players will eventually begin to lose interest if it begins to drag. At some point, fatigue generally sets in, and exploring a large open world in a video game feels less like something players are driven to do and more like an obligation. It’s great to have a massive world with a ton of stuff to do, but it’s incredibly difficult to maintain momentum through these experiences.
When players begin Cyberpunk 2077, they’ll be given the option to choose one of three lifepaths for their character. Each of these lifepaths in Cyberpunk 2077 will start the player down a different storyline and there will presumably be a point where the three paths come together to form the primary narrative, and it’s going to be the game’s most pivotal point. It’s very possible that Cyberpunk 2077‘s lifepaths are incredibly detailed and then the story just gets shifted onto a rail and moves forward, making the beginning of the game feel almost irrelevant. It’s going to be incredibly important for CD Projekt Red to not only make it feel like a natural transition, but also start that second phase of the game’s story really strong. A title of this magnitude needs its midpoint to re-energize players in order to maintain momentum.
There’s a reason Cyberpunk 2077 has been the most hyped game of the year. CD Projekt Red is an excellent developer and the concepts shown off for the game are incredibly interesting. If it’s done properly, two players could have completely different experiences with Cyberpunk 2077 depending on how they choose to begin their story, and that’s great in theory, but it isn’t often the case in practice. If Cyberpunk 2077 is going to succeed, it’s going to need proper pacing: making each lifepath feel important and doing so in a way that maintains momentum through an inevitable shift in the story.