CD Projekt Red shouldn’t waste Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City

When it comes to open world video games, we’ve been all over the world and multiverse, from the relatively small towns of Skyrim to the vastness of Los Santos and Assassin’s Creed’s take on Paris. One of the biggest games in the space, however, has to take a page from one of the most compact games. That is, as CD Projekt Red looks to the future of the Cyberpunk series, it should be like a dragon – formerly known as Yakuza in Western territories – and its highly detailed world Kamurocho.

Sega and its team at RGG Studios have been developing the series since the original release in the early 2000s. They looked at Tokyo’s red light district, Kabukicho, and brought it to life in amazing detail – if you know the map of Kamorucho well enough, you can literally navigate your way around Kabukicho. Including the original Like a Dragon series, its spin-off games, and the two Judgment games, there are at least 15 games that take place primarily or partially in Kamurocho.

CD Projekt Red announced Cyberpunk 2077 in 2012, and then unveiled the game — or something like it — in 2018. The game was finally released in 2020 and received its massive 2.0 update in 2023. When you look at the game. As a result of the game, it is easy to see where a lot of time has been spent. Night City and its hinterlands are the most expansive and detailed areas you can explore in a video game. In terms of first-person games, Cyberpunk makes its later siblings like Fallout and Elder Scrolls look small in comparison. When it comes to third-person games, the only time we see relatively large and detailed cities is when we look at Assassin’s Creed’s version of Paris and GTA V’s Los Santos.

night city

The CD Projekt Red team has clearly spent a lot of time developing Night City. Even after two games of Cyberpunk 2077 — one at launch and one after Phantom Liberty — totaling over 200 hours, I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of Night City. It wasn’t until I started completing all the NCPD Scanner Hustles in the game that I felt like I was indeed Exploring the night city these miniature distractions take you to the deepest and darkest parts of the city and give you an excuse to see what’s behind and beneath the city’s towering skyscrapers. you know what? There is There are a ton of things.

This is where the two games meet: RGG Studios has reused Kamurocho, changing its look and feel, but keeping its structure. As a longtime fan of the show, I feel like I’ve been able to watch this small area in Tokyo evolve and change as if it were a real place. We go back every few years and a few things have changed. Some shops are different. Maybe a skyscraper exploded. A building that once housed a thriving yakuza business has locked its doors. It allowed me to develop a real and ongoing relationship with the city, and I want CD Projekt Red to do exactly the same with Night City.

Efficiency

Kamurocho
Kamurocho

First of all, it’s just a smart use of resources. With a place the team spent so much time building, why use it just once?

For all the custom areas in the first game, there are entire city blocks that you just walk through to get to something important. You might meet a few of them on foot early on, but after that, it’s all driving and fast travel. In the night city, most of the work has been done. The city is there, why should we visit it only once?

While that’s not the only place the franchise takes us, Night City is definitely a huge center of this universe, just as Los Angeles is in 2024. We Must Eventually we’ll go back, even if it’s not where we spend all our time. What will the city look like after the election of Jefferson Perles as mayor? How will Arasaka, a major tenant in the city, change the night city once its new CEO is installed – which changes depending on which way you go? Or if we go back to the past, to the distant future of 2024, what does Night City look like when it is only 30 years old?

There are countless stories that CD Projekt Red could explore in Night City, or other developers could explore, Fallout: New Vegas. Why go through all the work of building a new and different place all over again when so much of this current place is ready for further development?

Thanks for the memories

night citynight city
night city

As you explore Night City with a new character, you’ll remember the places you visited as V within a new story. I blew up a car with Carrie Eurodyne at this bus stop! Read my Misty Tarot here!

It’s part of what makes Kamurocho such an important place for Like a Dragon fans. As Kiryu, Majima or Ichiban, we have made countless memories. We remember when Majima came out of the manhole on Tenkaichi Street. We remember the time when Kiryu spoke in a commercial on the corner of a Smile Burger. Or the time he literally ordered everything on Conroy’s menu.

While some may cry the idea of ​​reusing an existing map as “lazy”, Like a Dragon fans know that revisiting a city like this transforms it from a mere backdrop to a living, evolving place. . You don’t have to shoehorn in recurring characters when they’ve already been there. You’ve also earned emotional moments with your players just by placing important story moments in the city. Who wouldn’t want an excuse to revisit the rooftop of Mysty’s Esoterica to see what kind of memorial is there for Jackie Wells? Who isn’t going to visit the afterlife and order a drink called V?

Of course, we want to go somewhere else, and Games Like a Dragon does just that. We’ve spent time in Okinawa, Osaka, Nagano, Yokohama, and other places throughout the series, and those locations have also grown over time. In Cyberpunk 2077, for example, we get a glimpse of a very different East Coast in one ending. We refer to cities like Tokyo, countries like Brazil. These will be fun to discover! But Night City should serve as the center of the cyberpunk universe: a place we return to again and again.

More. now. please

KamurochoKamurocho
Kamurocho

There is a greedy element to this as well. We have to wait more than eight years for the Cyberpunk game. Between the 2012 announcement and the 2023 update, we got Yakuza 5, 6, 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2, Like a Dragon, The Man Who Erased Name, and Isshin.

The video game market is increasingly showing that long development cycles in big games are unsustainable. Cyberpunk 2077 itself was a victim of this incident. Developers inside He knew that the game was not readyBut between continuing development costs and pressure from investors (and executives eager to please those investors), CD Projekt Red released the game too soon. However, now CD Projekt Red has a popular IP created in Cyberpunk 2077. It has a great sandbox in Night City.

Instead of giving us another eight years to bring us the next game, it should focus on telling new stories about new characters in a familiar and evolving setting.

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