Cyberpunk 2077

Know the most important inspirations that CD Projekt had during its development

Cyberpunk 2077

A few days ago, Cyberpunk 2077 was finally released, one of the most eagerly awaited videogames of the whole of 2020, and is currently one of the main trends in this field. This first-person RPG developed by CD Projekt (renowned for the saga of The Witcher) takes its players into an incredibly huge open futuristic world full of possibilities and elements to interact with, which can even make your players get lost among all that Night City has to offer.

Although this videogame had a rather controversial premiere due to its various bugs and glitches that affect its gameplay (especially in its console version), Cyberpunk 2077 is still a great game that still has possibilities to be fixed and improved.

This colossal RPG is the adaptation of the board game called Cyberpunk 2020 (curiously based on the same year in which the videogame was released) and as its name indicates, it has a setting that exudes a cyberpunk style, which is a sub-genre that is characterized by reflecting dystopian representations of the future where advanced technology is combined with a society in constant decline. This sub-genre has allowed the creation of interesting fictional worlds with complex approaches that have been able to stand out in all types of media apart from videogames.

Cyberpunk 2077 has an extraordinary story that could be considered one of the best seen in a videogame of its kind, which has been achieved thanks to all the inspirations that this game has taken. In fact, CD Projekt mentions that the makers of the history and world of Cyberpunk 2077 had to examine many important works in the subgenre cyberpunk in order to create an outstanding product (this work was also done in the development of The Witcher), which belong to all kinds of media such as books, films, comics, graphic-novels, animes and mangas. That said, the following are the most important inspirations and references that CD Projekt has taken when developing Cyberpunk 2077. 

The films of Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell and other works with a cyberpunk theme

One of the most outstanding inspirations that Cyberpunk 2077 has taken has been without a doubt the films of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, which are very representative and transcendental works within the cyberpunk subgenre. In fact, almost any good current story with a cyberpunk theme takes as a reference to the mentioned science fiction movies.

Blade Runner is a film released in 1982 that is currently considered a cult film and also one of the best science fiction films. This film is based on Philip K. Dick’s book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? What stands out most about this film is its extremely profound story (although it is quite different from the book) and also for its setting, which magnificently represents a futuristic city full of social problems and where the androids (called replicants) are almost equivalent to a human being, but are disadvantaged by them.

Cyberpunk 2077 has a world and a society quite similar to the one presented by Blade Runner and even has references and Easter eggs related to that movie. For example: In one of the main missions of the game, called “M’ap Tann Pèlen” players will have to visit an abandoned hotel in Pacifica with the name of Batty’s Hotel, which refers to the character Replicant of Roy Batty. In addition, on the roof of a building you can find this Replicant sitting on the floor with few clothes while it rains.

While Ghost in the Shell is a manga drawn and written by Masamune Shirow (released in 1989) which is also set in a futuristic world with a clear cyberpunk theme where advanced technology is part of everyday life through cyborgs and artificial intelligence (focusing more on the latter), which makes the line between a human and an artificial simulation quite blurred. Ghost in the Shell is characterized by addressing issues focused on the identity of the human being and the particulars of his existence.

However, the Cyberpunk 2077 metropolis is based more on what can be seen in the animated films of Ghost in the Shell, which more clearly represent the design that their world possesses. In addition, many elements in the main story of this videogame are also quite inspired by Masamune Shirow’s work, especially in the topics related to artificial intelligences, the union of several consciousness’s in one body (which is presented in both works), and conflicts about the identity of the human being.

In Cyberpunk 2077 you can find a small and curious wink to this manga/anime franchise when you call Judy, as in doing so you will see the icon of a friendly ghost emerging from a shell.

Having said that, other important movies in the cyberpunk genre that this CD Projekt Red videogame has taken as inspiration have been Robocop, Terminator, Matrix, Max Headroom’s series, among others.

Other videogames that CD Projekt Red took as inspiration for the gameplay of its RPG

As it is common in the development of a videogame, CD Projekt Red had to be inspired by other games during the development of Cyberpunk 2077, since this company was looking to create something different from what was achieved in The Witcher saga, and this goal has been achieved without a doubt, since Cyberpunk 2077 is a totally different RPG from the previous works of its developer, especially regarding the immersion of the players.

In fact, Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz the director of missions in Cyberpunk 2077 mentioned that when developing the world, the gameplay and missions of this game were taken as inspiration to other similar creations such as The Elder Scrolls, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines and Deus Ex, especially for its futuristic setting (in the case of Deux Ex), the freedom provided by their open worlds and their first-person view.

Tomaszkiewicz also mentioned that his main inspiration is Vampire: The Masquerade because it is a game that I enjoy a lot and also because he considers it a perfect example of a first person RPG with an open world.

The Elder Scrolls saga was another important game for the development of Cyberpunk 2077, specifically for its gameplay and the possibilities it offers. The mission director also explained that the first Deux Ex had a great impact on him as a developer and as a player when he first tried it out many years ago. The features of Deux Ex that inspired the gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077 were the possibility of being able to complete the missions in various ways, a story where the decisions of the players are important for its development and even details such as being able to enter buildings in different places.

Having said that, it is clear that the aim of CD Projekt was always to create one of the most immersive RPGs for players, which has undoubtedly been achieved in Cyberpunk 2077 despite the fact that the game still needs to be improved in many aspects. Although we must also mention the enormous ambitions that the Polish company had with this videogame.

These were some of the most important references and inspirations that CD Projekt has taken when developing the popular Cyberpunk 2077, taking into account that this videogame really is a huge combination of all kinds of concepts presented in other cyberpunk works, which had also happened with the board game on which it is based Cyberpunk 2020.

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