Cyberpunk 2077 is not a game for people who love good endings. The phrase "they lived happily ever after" in the dystopian world created Mike Pondsmith and adapted by CD Projekt RED is as alien as lawfulness, honesty or selflessness. One may like it or not, but this is the creators' vision for this universe.
SPOILER WARNING: Magdalena Zych does not describe the events of Cyberpunk 2077 directly, nevertheless we felt that a warning about potential spoilers would be most appropriate here.
And it doesn't look like this will change in the future. As stated in an interview with GamingBolt by screenwriter of Cyberpunk 2077 Magdalena Zych, "in this genre, by definition, there is no room for happy endings." In her opinion CD Projekt RED wants to present in its games a world as close as possible to our reality, where not everything has a happy ending. This enables the story to reach players, evoking stronger reactions in them.
"The thing is, Cyberpunk 2077 is a noir game, and in this genre, by definition, there is no room for happy endings. Is anyone complaining that Casablanca ends badly? These are the rules of the genre. We have always strived for immersion and for our games to give as much illusion of reality as possible, and as we know, not every true story always ends happily.
We also know that every person eventually dies. V has even more variety in this regard; with V, everything just happens in a more intensified way (this is also the case with cyberpunk as a genre) and in a shorter time. But in my opinion, just because the story ends in a grim way doesn't mean it's not worth experiencing. I would say that on the contrary - it hits harder because it is true," explains Zych.
The screenwriter was also asked about what she learned while working on Cyberpunk 2077. Here Zych cited the example of Judy Alvarez and how the creation of this character fell short of fans' expectations. Here's what she said:
"At one point during the development of the game, we had to make a list of factors that influenced the possible finale of the task and all dialogue options. I was responsible for Judy Alvarez's character and her entire storyline, so after compiling this information, I was surprised to see this hellishly long column in the spreadsheet, and then - right after the release - I read in reviews that people expected the story to be more elaborate.
This really surprised me, because I knew how many different choices and factors went into this single plot thread. So I felt like there was a bit of a gap between my views and the audience's expectations."
Zych also admitted that she realized too late what limitations there were in creating these plot threads and choices in the game. The developer explained that it was extremely important for the developers to meet the expectations of the players while staying within a strict framework.
"Later, when I discussed branching narrative with my students at the Warsaw Film School, I realized that people making games have a pretty good idea of features and capabilities, but like to be comfortably ignorant of their limitations. I was definitely guilty of this myself," Zych revealed.
I knew we had a dialogue system unlike any other game; of course there are great AAA RPGs with impressive storylines but no dialogue choices, or games with dialogue choices but without this big interactive world. I was so excited that I wanted to use all these cool features and not think about how the number of lines to be recorded and set up in a scene by movie designers is growing exponentially. Now I would probably try to think more about the limitations and what cool features I can add to create some framework for expectations, because the difference between game enthusiasts and game developers is that the former should remain oblivious to the limitations because it increases immersion, but the latter absolutely have to be aware of them."
Recently, Magdalena Zych also referred to the possible abandonment of Night City as setting in the sequel to Cyberpunk 2077. You can read more about it here.
- Cyberpunk 2077 - official website