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Don't expect Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 - or any time soon

"We still have a lot of work to do..."

There are whispers and speculation but I can tell you Cyberpunk 2077 will definitely not be at E3 this year. That comes from the horse's mouth: CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski himself.

"It might happen that we will be at E3 and we will show something at E3, but I just want to make it clear it's not Cyberpunk," he told me at Polish conference Digital Dragons recently. "We still have a lot of work to do with Cyberpunk."

I believe what CD Projekt Red will announce at E3 will be the game - or thing - it mentioned in a recent annual report. Under plans for 2016, CDPR mentioned, "A new type of video game format previously unexplored by the studio." That doesn't necessarily mean it's a game and doesn't necessarily mean it's coming out this year. But it could be both.

When I asked Iwinski if it will be this thing at E3 he said, "We will see." When I asked if we'll find out what it is at E3 he said, "Well, hopefully." And when I asked if it had anything to do with The Witcher he said, "Time will tell."

Cyberpunk won't be out before 2017 - something CDPR said in that same annual report - and perhaps it is even further away than that. That may seem surprising, given that it has been in development for a few years now - when I visited the studio in autumn 2013 there were 50 people upstairs already working on it (although I'm sure getting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt out of the door had an impact) - but when you release a game celebrated like Witcher 3 was, perceptions also change.

"When you release a game like The Witcher and create the expansions, the perception is not the pre-Witcher 3 expectation," said Iwinski. "The bar is higher - and it's externally and internally as well.

"I cannot talk about plans but we have to adjust to it and also adjust our own ambitions. Assuming that we could have something out this year, if it will not be better than Witcher 3, people [will say], 'Hmm, wow, why is it not better?' Witcher 3 set a certain bar and we definitely cannot go lower. It's always about improving and making new, pretty stuff, [and] storytelling games and mechanics and what not."

There was a suggestion recently that CD Projekt Red had been able to raise its ambitions with Cyberpunk following the commercial success of The Witcher 3, which propelled the company to record revenues. But Iwinski was reluctant to add momentum to this train of thought.

"This is a tricky part here because we shouldn't really talk about Cyberpunk," said Iwinski, "but I'll give you one reason why. Every single time I say something like this, like 'yes we can invest...' - which is true, essentially - it makes big news. And I think this big news is sort of becoming, first of all, repetitive, and second, maybe a bit too bloated. We are not spinning it into big news, and we really want to expose anything to be perceived like a big ego."

He said he's watched these news stories prompt accusations that CD Projekt Red promises more and more with Cyberpunk but doesn't show anything, which is exactly the opposite of what it apparently wants to do. This has irked Iwinski.

"Right now it's the end of talking about Cyberpunk until we can go out there and show stuff and say, 'Hey, here it is,' because that's how we do games," he said. "There is too much talking about what it possibly could be, and how big, and...

"When we show it, we should show it and explain it. So I'm going to have people not read anything about Cyberpunk probably for the next... time," he added, choosing his words carefully, "whatever the time will be."

Cyberpunk 2077 was announced very early, in May 2012, as a way of driving awareness and talent to the Polish studio - something that was harder pre-Witcher 3. It was announced as a non-linear, mature role-playing game that will offer different player-character classes to choose from. That aspect of the game also opens Cyberpunk to multiplayer, which apparently it will have.

Cyberpunk 2077 will become the primary focus of CD Projekt Red following the 31st May release of second Witcher 3 expansion, Blood and Wine. Our review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine is live now. We loved it.

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