Today, November 17, a special episode of CD Projekt Red’s Night City Wire aired on Twitch and YouTube to reveal a ten minutes long gameplay footage from Xbox One X and Xbox Series X. The fantastic visuals aside, there are a lot if interesting and some brand new elements to be discussed from this clip. Let’s take a deep dive and go through them!
The visual fidelity on the new consoles is easily noticeable
The fact that Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed with another 21 days for a new release date on December 10 meant that CD Projekt Red had additional time to tweak what many rumors claim to be a key issue and leading reason for the delay – performance problems on the current consoles.
In the new ten minutes long gameplay demo we see interchangeable scenes and moments from female V’s perspective on the old gen and the now current (or new if you prefer) gen console Xbox Series X.
There was one shot around the middle of the video in which V is walking on a rainy wet street corner and the reflections of lights and other elements in the water puddles were so clearly different between the old and the new console that if you are still in doubt if purchasing the new hardware is worth it for Cyberpunk 2077, this scene alone should help you make a decision faster!
Night City truly is alive. No, really alive!
We’ve heard them talk about that. We’ve seen bits of the city in previous legal and not so legal gameplay demos. The one today absolutely demonstrates how vibrant, unique and real Night City is.
No matter where you walk, there are shops around, which all (or most of them) seemed accessible and available for exploration. There are people talking about their own problems as you pass by. There are also live updates as you walk around. Colleagues, partners and other job and mission related NPCs will phone you directly to talk to you. You are not going to have to read a silly quest log to find the details. It’s all happening right in front of your eyes.
The UI is not as minimalistic as I expected
The UI of Cyberpunk 2077 is beautiful and very fitting for the game’s genre and style, but it is a little bit too clunky and intrusive at times.
In the top right you have your standard mini-map. It has an additional feature alerting you when you are in a “danger” zone or in other words a restricted area.
The mini-map also shows other alerts as you walk or drive near them. It also shows you your “correct” pathway or direction if you have a place you need to reach. It’s marked with a yellow dashed line, when available.
The middle right is your current mission and its objective, which updates in real time, of course.
Below that is your arsenal. It shows your currently equipped gun and a few other indicators, which I cannot firmly name what each one is for yet.
On the bottom left there are four slots. The two smaller ones have a mobile phone and a car on them, which probably means they are shortcuts for calling someone or calling for your vehicle. The two bigger ones are what I assume consumables slots, which are empty in the screenshot above.
If that is the case, then I expect we will be able to hide them, just like we were able to do that with the shortcut hints in The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt.
In this screenshot above you can see the green element below the mini-map. This is the signal that you are safe in this area. If it’s red and it says something of the sorts of “restricted area”, don’t leave V hanging there while you go make a cup of coffee, please.
Also on the image above you can spot in the lower left corner two of the quick slots deactivated (red). You can’t call your vehicle while inside the bar. D’OH!
In this scene V was talking to the girls from the Lizzie’s Bar gang and that in front was Mox herself.
While driving the UI changes slightly. In the image above V is driving and just entering Little China, as shown by a notification on the middle left of the screen.
When you have a destination to reach, you also get a small pointer on your screen showing you the direction and distance. In the image above that pointer is on the left side, just above the notification that you are entering Little China.
At the bottom left instead of the quick action buttons there is a speedometer, showing how fast V is driving. On the right, just above the gun element there are two quick action shortcuts notifying you how to change the radio station and camera position. In case you forgot or didn’t know – Cyberpunk 2077 allows you to drive both from first-person and third-person perspective.
Not long ago we learned that the devs went ahead and removed/modified a large portion of the cinematic cutscenes in which V appears in third person. Remember the one where V is in her apartment and checking out the weather on the window overlay screen? That’s no longer available.
The explanation for that was that the devs want to keep the immersion that this is you and things are happening to you. Watching V from third person perspective breaks the immersion level, they thought. Pity. I personally liked these scenes we saw in earlier demos and trailers.
Camera movement and character actions are so smooth
I think it was clearly visible that the framerate on the new console was not very high. It’s hard to tell from watching a low resolution Twitch clip or a YouTube video, but during a few of the fight scenes I had a feeling the frames dropped significantly.
Despite the potential framerate drops (for consoles low framerate is to be expected, and not considered a minus, but a limitation of the hardware most likely) the gameplay felt very cool. V moves very gracefully and the camera movement as she was walking and driving around Night City’s districts, was incredibly smooth.
The low quality of the video on YouTube doesn’t do it justice, but you can clearly see the draw distance. CD Projekt Red managed to fix one of the biggest issues they had with The Witcher 3 – the draw distance. You can see well ahead of you in Night City.
How you receive important updates and notifications
The life around you doesn’t stop because you want to drive carelessly around in Night City. From time to time your contacts, job-givers and colleagues will contact you to tell you they have something for you or need your assistance.
In the case of the image above you see Wakako Okada contacting you asking to go speak to her personally about settling your accounts for a what seems to be a previous job you have done for her. As we remember from Night City Wire episode 2 (when she first appeared as a character) Wakako is affiliated with the Tiger Claws Gang – one of the biggest and most serious gangs in the city.
V describes Wakako in this scene as “the lady of Westbrook estate”, which further signifies Wakako’s importance and connections. She is indeed one of the Fixers V will work with.
During this gameplay segment V was listening to a popular music track that CDPR released on their YouTube channel not long ago – “Hole in the Sun” by Point Break Candy.
Keanu and Johnny are so hard to tell apart
Keanu Reeves, who plays the rockerboy legend in the Cyberpunk universe is, what I would descibe 100% himself in the game. Johnny looks, speaks and behaves exactly like Keanu.
In a few scenes we see V talking to Johnny Silverhand, Keanu’s voice is so very distinctive and real, it made me feel like the real person himself is in Johnny’s place. I am not sure if this is purely fantastic or poor implementation yet.
From what we saw in today’s gameplay demo, Johnny is very involved in V’s activities. He often appears out of nowhere (in a very cool fashion) and assists V, gives her ideas or provokes her with witty commentaries.
Johnny is not a side character in this game. He is a central figure, just like V, like Night City and like… you!
“Way I see it, only thing waiting for you here is getting off or getting offed. Place your bets.” This is pure classic already.
Keanu’s unique and very specific pronunciation and diction is spilling through every word Johnny says and it makes you feel a true connection. It could, of course, be because I am a big Keanu fan ever since his Speed and Matrix performances, but it could also be because he was meant to be Johnny and Johnny was meant for him. They do seem like a perfect mix. Despite that little comment I made earlier.
Visual chaos reigns during combat
Combat moments and scenes in Cyberpunk 2077 feel well placed and designed, but the screen real estate gets a bit overcrowded when all of the pop-up damage numbers start flying out of the target’s body.
In this case V is shooting some guy and on top of each bullet’s damage number, we also get text notifying us of a headshot. Cool. But also not very cool.
Things tend to get a bit messy with all of this information on the screen, I feel. I will have to get my hands on the game to be able to truly judge that decision properly, but it seems a bit too much while watching this new gameplay as well as the older ones.
The splash animations are fine. I am ok even with the giant reticle that you aim through. This is part of the realism. However, I am a little confused as to why CD Projekt Red opted to give you these flying numbers and add text to the special ones as well. I am sure it will be optional tweak and if you don’t like it, you should be able to turn it off or at least lower the size of the text pop-ups.
In the end it doesn’t bother me that much, but if it’s total immersion we are after, the UI as a whole and especially the numbers flying are disturbing. I love them and the animation they pop out with, but I will also try the game without them as I have a feeling it will be the better option.
Hell yeah! V shot a grenade in the air! During combat one of the opponents threw a grenade towards V and she exploded it mid-air with her pistol. Damn cool! Also notice the additional icons on top of the defeated enemies on the floor. Most likely signifying loot is available on these bodies.
You get a special achievement for defeating or incapacitating an enemy who throws a grenade for you. The typical green Xbox pop-up in the bottom middle of the screen will tell you that after you have earned it.
So, yeah. When your hands are too shaky to hold a gun (too much adrenaline, V?) just pull out a cool cold blade and do what you see on the image above. I do not mind the total mess on the screen in this case at all.
Sound and music were from another world
The sound was absolutely mind-blowing. I can only imagine it in its pure form, not compressed through the YouTube filters.
Both the sound effects and the music playing in the background were very good. The super-low wall-shacking bass during the conversation with Mox in Lizzie’s bar was very very noticeable and life-like. Kind of like what I remember from these old weird clubs I used to visit as a teenager in the 90s.
In this scene I noticed something a little frustrating. V’s and this punk’s voice over actors did a perfect job, but the animators dropped the ball a little bit. This punk’s face was stone-cold and expressionless. Something I personally see for the first time in any Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay video. So far every character was animated very well.
The braindance scene was an amazing moment to watch and live through. The sound effects and the music playing were perfectly describing the atmosphere. If you close your eyes and not watch the person being dragged and chained, but just listened to that scene, you’d totally get what is happening and how that person feels right now.
Mini-map gets blocked
It seemed like there is a mechanism or a mechanic in the game that allows someone to block V’s mini-map.
At one point during the gameplay demo V was walking on the streets and a strange sound played suddenly. Then the minimap disappeared and turned all empty dark blue.
A few steps later V emerged on what looked like to be a main street and the map appeared back on in full detail.
I can’t tell if this is a mechanic, because it didn’t seem to affect V in this case, nor was it part of the mission. But how cool would it be if this is just a local gang lord or his pupils doing it as they perform their own shady activities and V just happened to walk nearby at that time. It could have been a bug as well…
Watch the whole gameplay video here
This was a Night City Wire Special. The next official episode of the web show will air live on November 19, in just two days! Don’t miss it. And if you do, they will have it recorded. I will have a full analysis and possible dissection, if there are things to dissect, shortly after it ends!
For more Cyberpunk 2077, sign up to get Notifications when VULKK.com posts a new article and not miss a thing! Also check out the previous coverage of the game I have done!