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Thursday, January 10, 2013

My dream wishes for the Cyberpunk 2077 game...


The thread at the top of the new Cyberpunk 2077 forums asks a simple question... "What do you want from your dream Cyberpunk 2077 game?"

What I want, what I dream about, is ....

1. 3rd person perspective as default. By all means give us a first person perspective option, but the default should be 3rd person. When its done the other way around, like in the Fallout games, the character just looks goofy when they move, especially when they run or strafe. Plus, 3rd person allows me to see my awesome character.


2. Character Customization on par with Saints Row 2. (Gender, race, body type, face customization, tattoos, scars, layered clothing with many choices). Let me create my own character, a unique character, and do no limit my choices. The world of Cyberpunk is a melting pot of races and cultures. If you plan to include voices, limit it to two, one male, one female, speaking without discernable accent. If variety in voices is necessary, give us a tool to change the pitch of the voices.

2b) Customization differences by zone. For instance, in most of the city you would have standard options. Normal and edge wear clothes, but in Nomad areas the clothing would be leathers and football pads, the mad max/Fallout look. In a Corporate Section the clothing stores would offer suits and high end fashion.

2c) In addition to character appearance, it would be necessary to give us options that reflect the Roles. Solo's, Nomads, Medtechs, Fixers, etc... Roles should merely provide bonuses to certain skills. Players should be able to choose a Primary Role, but should be able to assign points to all the others as they see fit, as well as to skills. In addition, the Primary Role chosen should have an effect on how the story unfolds. The missions of the game remain the same, only for people with different roles, the order in which they come, and the objectives of the mission itself changes. For instance, if you are playing a Netrunner, one mission might have you trying to infiltrate a drug deal, using your hacking skills to record the entire thing for black mail. But if you are playing a Cop, your objective is to arrest the main dealer. Or if you are playing a Solo, your job is to protect the dealer from the cops who bust in. Or if you are playing a Nomad, you are the getaway driver for the dealer. The missions are all the same, but why you are there and what you are doing would change depending on your role and choices within the game. That way, even though the missions are exactly the same in subsequent play-thrus, it will always feel unique. Imagine how interesting this could get in a co-op style game?

2d) I also kind of like the idea that the Primary Role you choose might determine where you start the game... say if you are a Solo, you first appear at the airport, coming back from a job. If you are a Cop, you appear at the precinct. If you are a Nomad, you first appear outside the city and have to drive in...

2e) An OPTIONAL lifepath would also be nice, a randomly generated history for your character that may influence the way some NPC's react with you, maybe have an enemy that keeps randomly spawning and coming after you in the game, creates an event or encounter in the game, or maybe opens up options to your early.

2f) how awesome it would be if at various stages of the game, you could save a "character sheet" to the hard drive (if playing on a console), then transfer it to your PC and print it off. Or even be able to do it in reverse, take your favorite character, and input his stats and skills and lifepath in the game... maybe as a bonus that unlocks after you have beaten the game. That way you could truly merge the video game and the Pen and Paper game. .


3. Cybernetic options, several types of limbs, eyes, tech hair, glow tattoos, etc.... These should be cosmetic choices, and each one should give you at least the option of changing its colors. Any benefits cyber gives you, like being stronger, running faster, jumping higher, etc... should be a separate thing... and should work whether you have visible cyber or not.... because hey, just like the chick in the video, some of us real-skin our cyber sometimes. This way it won't eat up system limitations, and its an easy way to give us cake and let us eat it too.


4. It's a near future open world/sandbox game. There needs to be a decent assortment of vehicles, bikes, cars, trucks, boats, aircraft (especially Aerodynes), that we can drive, keep, and customize. This, like the character customization, is one of those things that will keep me playing a game long after I have completed every thing else. Getting the vehicles I want, looking just the way I want them. And one small request... please for the love of god, give us a tool to arrange the garage ourselves... just a simple "move up/down" command would be enough. Above all other vehicles, we need a bad ass recumbent bike, like the one from Akira, and we need a Mad Max type muscle car... for the nomads you see...

4b) Again, customization differences by zone, but for vehicles. For instance, in most of the city you would have the standard vehicle customizations. Things like colors, adding spoilers or different body options,speed/handling upgrades, window tinting, underglow whatever... But in nomad areas you would have those options plus things like adding steel plates, brush bars, barb wire trim... a rusted or dirty paint job. In a corporate section you get armor plating that doesn't change the outward appearance of the vehicle, bulletproof glass, maybe some James Bond gadgets.


5. An explorable world at least the size of San Andreas or Fallout New Vegas, with a huge ass city, and outside the city diverse terrain like San Andreas or RDR. Night City is enormous, but I hate in games where the map is just an island that is all city... there needs to be some desert wasteland at least... Because Nomads need to be represented in the game. Some people claim a bigger map is boring, I do not understand those people and believe something is wrong with them. I don't ever want to get tired of this world. However the world does also need to be explorable, enterable buildings, rooftop access, secret hideouts, all that good stuff.

5b) A proper sandbox is a world you never want to leave, even after the story is done. It must be heavily populated, it must feel alive. It must be more than just an arena to shoot things. The population has to feel like they are more than just pixels on a screen... and make you feel like part of a bigger world.


6. A variety of weapons would also be good, some people like semi auto handguns, others like revolvers. Some people like to go melee, others like to go full on Rambo. Some martial arts would also be cool... hopefully something like Sleeping Dogs.


7. One or more overarching stories as the main driving force of the game, the story should be something we can get emotionally invested in. Cyberpunk needs a story that goes beyond being an excuse for the next killing spree. But beyond that there need to be just a ton of smaller story quests. The game should never feel linear. It should never feel like you are on rail road tracks. The main story lines are always there, but there should be plenty more to keep you busy. And mission replay is a must.

7b) What would really be nice, is if after you beat the game, you could play it again without losing all your stuff. Sure you may not have access to it until you again unlock your various properties, but its all there when you do.

7c) The truth is, there is no hard set in stone way to run Cyberpunk 2020. Some people want to keep it very Gibsonesque. Others want more of an Appleseed or Ghost In The Shell feeling. Some people want Robocop, others want Mad Max. Some people, myself included, want it all. The reality is, Cyberpunk is nothing more than a setting. It's near future, dystopic but not post post apocalyptic, at least not totally. Advanced tech, but with the same old problems we live with every day. It's a world that is wholly relatable if not necessarily believable, and yet somehow foreign and strange all at the same time. That's what you have to capture as far as atmosphere goes.


8. Choices within the story... they don't have to necessarily mean anything mechanically, though its nice when they do... but give us a choice how things proceed. Maybe I want to kill the target, maybe I want to let him live. Either way, its my character, let me have some say in how it unravels. Heck maybe it influences the way people react to me, how much vendors charge and what not... System limitations will definitely factor in to how much of an overall difference my choices make, I understand that... including different dialog options based on choices for everything could be a major hassle... But you should be allowed to play out the character according to the personality you give want for him.

8b)The story shouldn't be some huge save the world thing... it shouldn't even be save the city. It should be more personal, more gutter. Sure you might ascend to that lofty glass and steel tower apartment... but no matter how badass your character is, how wealthy, how much crap he acquires, or what direction you take him, he should still feel like a small but hungry fish in a big pond.


9. Online CO-OP play... 4 players would be perfect, but even with just two it would be fine. To be honest I do NOT want multi-player, it wastes game resources and just never really seems to add anything. There are a ton of Shooters people can multi-play, many even have cyberpunk themes. But not every game needs them. Getting rid of Multi-player altogether to focus on c-op was one of the very few things Saints Row 3 did that I agreed with.


10. these aren't as important, but I would love to see them implemented as well. In no particular order....


10b) Damage induced need for cybernetic replacement on the hardest difficulty level. Not sure how exactly you would go about this... but in most games I have run, few characters start out with much in the way of cyber. Most start with none and many strive to keep it that way. The number one reason people start getting cyber in my games is because they get the meat parts shot up beyond repair. I mean there is always the choice to get cyber at any point if the player chooses, but having a system where limbs are blown off or made "gimpy" sounds pretty good to me.

10c) A complete skyscraper you can explore, assault...ok maybe not the whole thing, but enough of one that feels..chunky. I remember going through the sears tower in Parasite Eve, and loving the idea of it. It didn't really have anything to do with the story or the game, it was just there, and it was awesome.

10d) Garages your co-op partner(s) can enter... because when you customize your rides, you want to show them off. And the ability to trades rides with each other, maybe outfits as well.

11. What I do NOT want in the game... in no particular order...

11a) Technology that is too advanced - especially in terms of personal weapons. Part of what makes the game so gritty is the idea that for the most part, things work almost the same as they do now, it makes the game relatable, while also making it foreign and exotic... and dangerous. In a game like this, the guns should feel familiar. Bullet firing, maybe some special ammo, maybe some minor tweaks... but over all the same. GITS: SAC understood this... even Cowboy Bebop, which had some ridiculous levels of tech involved with space travel, understood this. Lasers existed but were ultra-rare and ultra expensive. Reading through the Firestorm books, detailing the corporate wars, some of the tech got ridiculously overpowered. Now granted, this was for the super high tech, heavily funded 4th Corporate war, and it made sense for that. But overall the 2020 tech level for personal weapons was about perfect. I am just throwing up a reminder that the feel of cyberpunk is a very tenuous thing, and it gets hard to maintain if the day to day tech gets too far advanced... there is a point where it looks less like Cyberpunk, and more like Star Trek. Other than that, as I have said, it makes sense to move the timeline further ahead. It allows the advancements of the tech already present in the game to actually become commonplace, Cybernetics, full conversions... it allows them to exist and have legacy without trying to explain how they got so commonplace in such a very short period of time.

11c) I don't want to play a game like Deus Ex, where I can see cars, I can jump up and down on them, but I can't enter them and drive them around. I don't want to see a huge city, but be confined to 2 blocks of it by a 3 foot high barrier. I don't want to see AV's flying around and not be able to pilot them, take em back to my pad and store em for later use.

11d) I don't want to see anything in the game, be it guns, outfits, vehicles, whatever, that I can't, if I choose, grab for myself. Doesn't mean it has to be easy, hell it can be pretty much suicidal to even try... but the option needs to be there. These things need to be possible, no matter how improbable.

11e) I don't want a game that is just over when the storyline is done. If I can't still run around the world and explore it, I won't even bother to buy the game.

11f) I don't want a save the world game. Because that's not what Cyberpunk 2020 is about. It can be, if you want to run that game. It can be anything if that's what you want to run... but Cyberpunk 2020 is about the streets of the near future... its about trying to claw your way out of the gutter, and hopefully survive long enough to make your mark. And, as the Chrome books, Max Metal, and several other books prove, its also about toys and style.

11g) I absolutely DO NOT WANT aliens, super powers, zombies, fantasy crap, supernatural nonsense, psionics, or jother ust plain goofy shit like freeze rays and chicken guns... This is Cyberpunk, not Shadowrun.

As the owner/author of Datafortress 2020, and the driving force behind the Interlock Unlimited project (a re-write of the original CP2020 rules) I may be expecting more than possibly can be delivered, but I have been waiting for this game for 20 years, and now technology has advanced to the point where all of the above is possible. Any assistance I can give I will be happy too.

I wish I could take a direct role in its development myself, and I have put in my application CDPR, but I am content in the knowledge that at the very least CDPR is listening to us, taking our concerns and dreams into consideration... it seems they understand that this game is as important to us that it turns out right, as it is to them and the Pondsmith's. It's not often you find a game with as loyal a fanbase as Cyberpunk 2020...Its been over ten years since there was a new 2020 release, And yet here we are... chomping at the bit off the merest possibility of what this game could be, and what it could mean for our favorite RPG as well...

Oh, and I want one last thing.... I want Mike Pondsmith to be a major voice in the game, the narrator for the game itself if possible... if not, then some mentor role would be ideal... like your favorite Fixer.

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