Cyberpunk 2077's first-person focus is the right choice for CD Projekt Red's upcoming open-world RPG title, according to level designer Max Pears. Cyberpunk 2077 made headlines recently by announcing that almost all of the game would be locked into first-person view, including most of the game's cutscenes. It's a dramatic departure for a studio that made its name on The Witcher series, a critically-acclaimed trilogy of video games that all featured third-person cutscenes where the player could see what their version of Geralt looked like and how he responded to certain cues.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the biggest releases of 2020, a game that has been years in the making and follows The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a title that many believe to be the best western RPG ever created. With expectations high, CD Projekt Red has dabbled in making significant changes to its formula for gameplay. Cyberpunk 2077 character customization will do away with gender choices altogether, allowing for a more diverse representation of players, while its gameplay will feature more variation on combat options than The Witcher thanks to the introduction of tech and stealth options. Despite some Cyberpunk 2077 controversy over the past several months, hopes for the game remain high heading into the last few months of development.
Still, fan response has been divided over the recent revelation regarding perspective in Cyberpunk 2077 - so much so that developers from CD Projekt Red feel the need to reiterate how strongly they believe in the decision. According to level designer Max Pears in an interview with VGC during Tokyo Game Show 2019, a lot of what the studio has planned for Cyberpunk 2077 first-person wouldn't translate as well to a third-person set-up, and would lose some of the "impact." It's for that reason and others that the studio thinks it's heading in the right direction with its Cyberpunk 2077 first-person focus:
"There are clearly some people who are really strong and passionate [about first-person vs. third-person], but we believe that this is the right choice for this game.
Hopefully, when people get the chance to experience it for themselves, they'll understand why we've gone in that direction."
Given the overall quality of the work from CD Projekt Red in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - and even Thronebreaker and Gwent, two spin-offs of that franchise that were released in the interim between Wild Hunt and Cyberpunk 2077 - it's hard to argue that what the studio feels is best for the game will be anything but. So far, gameplay reveals have made good use of first-person in the actual combat and exploration of the world. There will also still likely be some third-person content for those who want to see their character, which seems to be the biggest issue with the decision - when asked if third-person cinematics that have already been seen were changed, Pears said "from my experience, no."
Fans who are upset they won't be able to see their character because of the Cyberpunk 2077 first-person focus have a legitimate qualm. In a game that's so heavily based on player input and customization to create their own experience, a big part of that is actually seeing the character as they grow and progress through the story. With that said, though, it'd be surprising if Cyberpunk 2077 didn't find some clever ways to show off the player character through first-person - we'd expect mirrors, other reflective surfaces, and even the potential to hack other characters' eyesight to feature in some way or another.