There's been the suggestion of multiplayer in CD Projekt Red's new game Cyberpunk 2077 for a while. In 2013, studio head Adam Badowski even told me "we're going to add multiplayer features", although he also said "it will be a story-based RPG experience with amazing single-player playthroughs". Regardless, that was five years ago, and a lot has happened since then.
The only multiplayer CD Projekt Red has developed has been the turn-based kind in Witcher card game Gwent and The Witcher Adventure Game - although there was that Witcher mobile MOBA. It's not unlike the Polish studio to take on something ambitious but why wobble the boat for the sake of a feature The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt did so, so well without?
Fortunately it appears CD Projekt Red feels the same. In a streamed CDPR financial conference today, president and joint-CEO Adam Kiciński suggested, almost beyond a doubt, that Cyberpunk 2077 would be a single-player game.
"First of all, we're going to deliver the players a huge story-driven role-playing game for a single player as was the case with The Witcher 3," he said, via a real-time English language translation. "As a further extension [he could mean expansion] of the game? I don't like to comment, but I'm not saying it's not going to be the case because we already said in the past we wanted our future projects to integrate online components at some point."
Then, again, answering a question about considering a trendy Battle Royale mode for Cyberpunk 2077, he said:
"Well actually we're considering everything and anything but as of today we're not discussing Cyberpunk yet. The first thing we're going to discuss is the immense story-driven roleplay for a single-player without any micro-payments whatsoever, without any hidden things whatsoever, just as was the case for The Witcher 3.
"Even though it's going to be a very different game than The Witcher 3 with no predefined character, a futuristic world... the product character: it's going to be just the same as The Witcher 3 - namely a single-player game purchased for a one-off fee."
I'm not sure he could be any clearer. Frankly, I am relieved.
Kicinski was also asked when CDPR would say something about Cyberpunk 2077, which we suspect will happen at E3.
"I can't announce the announcement, sorry," Kicinski said.
"What about at E3?" He was then asked.
"We haven't announced that yet - we will announce it just before."
To be clear: he is saying CDPR will announce what it is showing at E3 just before E3.
Kicinski was asked about Cyberpunk 2077 being inter-generational, too, by which the questioner meant designed to work on whatever the next generation of PlayStation and Xbox consoles are.
"Well, the next-gen has not happened yet so we can only speculate," he replied. "Technology-wise, Cyberpunk is very advanced. Our technology is ready to interface with future generations. The game is developed in such a way that it can use future, very powerful equipment but I cannot tell you more beyond that today as no future generation of console has been announced."
Which brings us around to the big question of when will Cyberpunk 2077 be released? During the financial presentation Kicisnki said the main two sales drivers for CD Projekt Red this year (ending with the calendar year in December) will be The Witcher 3 and Gwent, which seems to rule a 2018 release out for Cyberpunk 2077 - unless of course Kicinski is simply withholding it.
Spring 2019, then? Assuming Cyberpunk 2077 is revealed at E3, spring 2019 would still be in the confines of a short reveal-to-release timeframe CDPR praised Bethesda and Fallout 4 for. Then again, Cyberpunk 2077 is a big enough deal to stand out in the blockbuster-heavy autumn window too.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been developed over the past six years with the help of Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the original Cyberpunk pen-and-paper role-playing games. And he's an interesting guy, as I found out last summer in Spain when we sat down to talk Cyberpunk 2077, Cyberpunk and everything in between.