Cyberpunk 2077 Lead Quest Designer Paweł Sasko recently sat down with Polish website Spider’s Web to discuss the upcoming CD Projekt Red game.
One of the questions that Spider’s Web asked, as translated via Google Translate, was, “Have you had to change any content in the game, including quests, influenced by recent events in the US and the Black Lives Matter movement?”
Sasko responded, also translated via Google Translate, “The important point is that we already have the game recorded at this stage, actually for a long time.”
He added, “This is the last stage in which we do not change anything in the story we are telling, add nothing or remove anything.”
Sasko then noted, “These events, as you yourself have noticed, took place very recently.”
Sasko would then explain, “The second point is, for us, Cyberpunk and The Witcher are games that show our philosophy as studies. The game we’re working on is a largely entertainment medium, but for us it’s also art – a work that shows our vision.”
He continued, “It is difficult for me to imagine the events that would have to happen for us to suddenly find that we are changing or moving something in order not to touch any specific elements.”
Sasko did indicate that the game already had elements that reference Black Lives Matter, “Anyway, I think you saw elements in the game that touch it, so you could find out for yourself.”
He did add, “For me, the most important thing is that our game is a closed work and it is not a political statement, a political thesis.”
Sasko then went on to detail the diversity of CD Projekt Red, “As a studio, we are such an amalgam of different people who have different approaches to political, religious, spiritual and internal life, also when it comes to sexual orientations or political sympathies.”
He elaborated, “As a studio, we always try to cultivate openness and approach it in such a way that everyone can have a say and that each of these shades can be represented, as long as it is, of course, within the law and reason – so that each player can find here something for yourself and find answers to your own questions.”
Finally, Sasko concluded the question saying, “For me and my team, the game is a work of art and I always stick to it, and I always repeat it to my designers. I don’t feel like I’m producing something, I feel more like painting a picture or making music, stories, movies.”
“This is art to me, and art is the stories we tell the player, and that’s the most important thing to us,” he stated.
Not only did Sasko address Black Lives Matter, but he also went into detail on how character creation will heavily effect the way NPCs interact with the player.
Sasko explained, “It is a complex issue. How the player is perceived in the game depends on how the character was built.”
“How you create your character is influenced by what type of body you have, whether it is male or female, but the voice you choose affects how the characters you meet perceive you and what pronoun they address to you, i.e. how you identify as a character,” he elaborated.
He went on, “We tried to give players the freedom to create their characters. This is why we separate genital choice from body choice and voice choice – so that you as a person can define yourself however you want.”
Sasko then detailed just how important these choices will be, “These choices are of utmost importance to the game. What voice you choose is responsible for how you identify yourself, how in-game characters identify you, and how in-game characters will address each other. What is important is that we approach story-making from the plot side. We look at what is important for a given NPC.”
He then stated, “The characters you meet in the game have their own preferences. It’s not that no matter who you are or what you are, no matter what your body, your voice or your genitals are, you’ll be meeting characters who can fall in love with you and make friends with you.”
“These characters have specific preferences and sometimes they will like you and sometimes they will not. You as the player, by making your choices, will build an individual story with these characters and you can relate with them or not,” he explained.
Finally, he stated, “Thanks to this, you will be able to create your own individual story and relationship with that particular character. Will you develop a friendship or a romantic relationship between you and lead to sex and an intimate, close relationship, it is in your hands.”
Cyberpunk 2077 is expected to be released on November 19, 2020. It will be available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. It is also expected to be available to play on Google Stadia by the end of the year and will also be made available for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in 2021.
What do you make of Sasko’s comments? Do you agree with him?