While we were at Lucca Comics & Games this week, we had a chance to chat with Paweł Sasko from CD Projekt Red about Cyberpunk 2077. Sasko was in town to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company, which we will get to in another post this week, where the company took over a building to show off art and historical documents for a couple of games, while also commanding the square you see below. We had a chance to chat for a bit about the game, the TV series, and tried to prod info about The Witcher remake.
BC: So Cyberpunk just released a brand new TV series. How has it been for you seeing that come to fruition and kind of take off on Netflix?
PS: Oh, yes. So together with Netflix release, we have released as well the update for Cyberpunk  called Cyberpunk Edgerunners or Cyberpunk 1.6. Since that time, a lot of players came back to the game. We've seen that over like four weeks we had over a million players every day in the game. So that was like totally insane to see, because the game is almost two years old. So many players want to play it. A lot of people also didn't see the previous updates and like new content and things that we have added or new features we have added to the game. So for a lot of people, it was also in a way a surprise, you know, when they launched the game and they saw all of those things that are there. Because suddenly all of the patches and updates accumulated to this one thing. So I think this is partially the result. Second thing is, you know, I think it shows the power of cross-media in a way, I think the anime is wonderfully written. It's by Bartosz Sztybor, our narrative director who's taking care of the things, especially the comic books. The way he designed like the story for Edgerunners is to introduce you really well into the lore. And I think Edgerunners really shows how powerful it is to go back to the game knowing already all of that context of the story that you have just experienced. You know exactly what it is about, what kind of characters lived there, the esthetics of the of the world and so on. So at the moment when you as a player really like go back to the game, you have so much more context suddenly, so much less explanation is needed and then you see the possibility of all of those stories living there. It just shows how powerful kind of this approaches is.
You touched on the patches and updating the game. What's some of the content from the past calendar year that you're most proud of seeing?
Oh wow. There's so much. There's so much, actually. I think like I would probably point out the biggest things that players really were looking for. And it was, of course, the wardrobe system or the so-called transmog. Basically an option for you to create a lots of different variant clothing sets and apply them. It was a fairly complex feature because it required us to do changes on the side of the RPG game mechanics on the side of the clothing itself, but also on the side of the engineering to make sure that it works stand on the side of UI. Complex process to actually to put it out there. But it shows actually, so many people enjoy it just because the photo mode is so robust, but also popular. So many people taking pictures, so now they can just flip through the clothing said so easily. It's just makes it much, much more enjoyable, you know? So I really like that. But there are also some other bigger pieces of content. Like, for instance, we had that the arcade video game with Roach Race that is also on cell phones for free. If you want to play on your mobile or you know you can play it. So like just a small thing that you can go in in Night City and lplay the arcade mini game. […] There's this strange company called CDP Arcades that writes to you basically after you win it at a certain point so that you can get the rewards. So there's always like some kind of depth to it. But, you know, we also added three completely new gigs so it's supports more of a narrative content. We added completely for new apartment for you as a player to own. So we can basically go to the website in the game and buy any of those apartments or really drive paying a one time fee and get any of those apartments. When designing them, we thought about like actually making it work and fit with the sort of your own roleplaying angle. So when you as a player, you imagine yourself to be like, "Yeah, I'm playing as a street kid," let's say, or "I'm playing as a corpo." There is an apartment designed for that kind of a player, basically. So all of them are like picked in the way to just sit in that kind of mindset because like in most cases, players have some kind of a vision about their character, who that character is, you know, what they like, what they don't, you know, anything. So, so because of that which we try to do this.
And now they have an esthetic to match what they perceive themselves to be.
Yes, exactly. Exactly, exactly. Because all of them are coming from the different art styles that we have used consistent across the game. We added so many new weapons to the game and iconic weapons as well to just like, you know, give players more toys, sort of more tools to play with. So that's also an option. You can also renovate your own apartment, the one in the mega building. You can actually have different have different visual sets, repaint everything and so on. So I think those are like probably my most favorite things because they allow you to roleplay.
Do you have a plan going into year three as to what you're going to add to the game? Or is it more that you're just going to kind of update it here in there and let it speak for itself moving forward.
Right now we're focusing in most on the Phantom Liberty expansion because it's a big expansion and there's lots of work put into thisand we need all hands on deck. You probably saw on our presentation when we presented the updated strategy of the whole group, we have shown that there's 350 developers right now on the expansion alone. So that is our main focus right now and it will be the biggest piece of content and features and everything added actually to the to the game.
About a week ago, the company announced The Witcher Remake is on the way. I'm sure there's not a lot you can talk about, but at this present time, what can you speak to as far as what people can expect for that game?
Well, I mean, there's not much, as you mentioned. We definitely want to make it right, you know, because when you look at The Witcher, it has dated elements of the design. It didn't really age too gracefully when you look at it. So we really need to take our time to properly prepare the game before we'll be able to show anything to our players and talk about it. Definitely lots of work ahead.
I'm a fan of Final Fantasy VII and we saw what Square Enix did with the remake. So looking at that, are you aiming more to take the original and refine and and fix things up? Or are you taking theSquare approach where you'll be making an entirely new game with the content?
I know exactly what you're referring to, but right now it's way too early yet to speak about it. Definitely it's very, very clear for us that which one has lots of like very dated elements of the design that can be upgraded to just make it like play better, you know. But it's it's way too early yet to to speak about details.
What's on the horizon for you guys going into 2023?
The most important thing is obviously the Phantom Liberty expansion, so this is what we are putting, I would say, the most emphasis on. Shipping this one will be will be the most important event and this is what I'm the most looking forward to because you know that's the project I am full hands on.