It is one of the most anticipated PC games in years – and the question on so many gamers’ lips is when is Cyberpunk 2077 coming out? This much-vaunted game finally arrives in mid-November, it looks stunning, and the noise from those who’ve had a chance to experience it hands-on has been almost universally positive.
If you haven’t been paying attention, you could be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the amount of content that’s flying around in the build-up. Let’s cut through all of that and establish how we got here, why this is such a big deal, and where Cyberpunk fits into our guide to the best PCs for any given budget.
Why is Cyberpunk so hyped?
Rarely is a game so eagerly anticipated as Cyberpunk 2077. But then rarely is a video-game company so beloved as CD Projekt RED. The original Witcher, launched back in 2007, was an unlikely cult hit. With its use of the creaking Aurora engine and dark, morally ambiguous fantasy work, it sold more than a million copies and endeared gamers to a company that explicitly steered clear of DRM, in-game purchases and other anti-consumer practices.
When The Witcher 3 landed in 2015, the company went from being an obscure Polish outfit to a globe-conquering titan. So, when they say they’re going to bring us something amazing, we pay attention. It’s a testament to the trust that the company has generated that the company’s Good Old Games store page is emblazoned with the words ‘100% of your money goes to CD Projekt Group’. Few other companies could use this as an actual selling point without being laughed at.
The original Cyberpunk trailer actually arrived back in January 2013, and was more of a concept teaser than anything solid. It promised that the game would come ‘when it’s ready’. Seven years later, it’s finally going to arrive, having been delayed twice.
How long will Cyberpunk 2077 be?
The Witcher 3 was a very, very long game – too long, in the opinion of CD Projekt. Despite the commercial success of the game, only a minority of gamers actually made it all the way through to the very end – which is a shame.
To avoid this problem this time around, the company has decided to keep things a little more succinct. So, if it takes around 50 hours to get through the main story in The Witcher 3, then we might expect Cyberpunk to weigh in at anything from 30 to 40. However, there’s a complicating factor here in the form of side quests and replayability, which might effectively make numbers like these meaningless.
What is Cyberpunk 2077?
Cyberpunk 2077 is based on the same world as the tabletop game, Cyberpunk, created by Mike Pondsmith back in the 1980s. To distinguish it from the broader genre, the game is generally referred to by the name of its second edition, Cyberpunk 2020 (which couldn’t be more appropriate). Pondsmith has collaborated very closely with the developer, so we can be fairly sure the game will be faithful to his creation.
Details of the plot of Cyberpunk 2077 are sketchy, and most gamers prefer to avoid learning the details of the opening act – although the CGI trailer that unveiled Keanu Reeves’s involvement provided some story details. You play the role of V (whose gender you can choose at the outset).
There are three different background stories to play through, which presumably provide some replayability. That the branching happens right at the start is an advantage, because it means that you won’t need to play through the same hour or so at the start of the game before you get to the branched-out stuff.
What Type of Game is Cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk is, by all accounts, a new breed of game. It’s an RPG, first and foremost, with progression built around the post-humanist augmentation element. You can choose your gender and background like in Mass Effect. It puts players in a first-person perspective (a decision which prompted a few raised eyebrows among fans of the Witcher series), and it involves shooting, but it isn’t a shooter in the strictest sense.
You’ll see Borderlands-style numbers flying off adversaries when you land a shot. So, it’s a bit like Deus Ex, then? No, it’s not – it’s open world, and incredibly brash and colourful. Punky, you might say. Comparisons have been drawn with Grand Theft Auto V.
Given that the game involves driving, shooting, and crime, in an urban setting, this seems reasonable – but there’s clearly quite a lot of daylight between the two titles. Regardless, if Cyberpunk even comes close to GTA’s commercial success, then CD Projekt’s shareholders are going to be very happy indeed.
Given all of this, we can’t simply refer to our guide to which PCs suit which game when we’re making performance recommendations – although some of the general rules we’ve established will surely apply. The way that assets are streamed as you make your way around the city will surely make a significant difference, and a few choice upgrades might provide significant bang for your buck.
What systems will Cyberpunk 2077 be on?
Is Cyberpunk 2077 cross-platform? The answer appears to be yes. You’ll be able to pick up Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One, PS4, PC and Google’s Stadia. Consequently, you’ll also be able to play it on the next-gen systems (and if you own a copy for a current-gen system, you’ll also own a copy of the next-gen one, should you decide to upgrade later.) But if you’re the proud owner of a Switch or a Mac, you’re out of luck.
We’re probably biased, but we’re going to say you’ll need a high-end PC to get the best from the game (despite the company’s implausibly optimistic recommended specs). An RTX-compatible card will ensure you’re able to take advantage of a quartet of game-changing ray-traced effects.
We’ll look at the PC-specific technical stuff in greater detail before the game lands; in the meantime, you can check out our Cyberpunk-ready gaming systems.