Cyberpunk 2077 linear story criticisms “justified” says CDPR dev


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Quest director Paweł Sasko, who regularly streams themselves playing the CD Projekt Red open-world game on Twitch while answering fan questions about design, development, expectations, and more.

Sasko was asked by a viewer how he feels about Cyberpunk 2077 being criticised for how linear it is (or more accurately, how linear it was compared to what was presented ahead of release), saying “well I think it’s completely justified.”

Cyberpunk 2077 does have three drastically different opening options, plenty of external quests that impact the main story, branching main quests, and five different endings, all of which are acknowledged by Sasko, who still adds that “players expected more.”

Sasko says that there are enough systems to have two playthroughs that aren’t identical but adds “that’s not enough,” before explaining how they think this came to pass.

There are many things that happened. First of all, players expected more, they expected more because of how The Witcher 3 is built, and I think that Cyberpunk has an insane amount of non-linearity, but I think expectations were higher.

“Second thing is, the expectations were specifically regarding big branches [in the narrative]. And again there are a bunch of big branches in Cyberpunk […] but you are thinking about branches in a different manner.” With Sasko later adding “I think smaller branches were not satisfactory enough.”

The Twitch clip is embedded below, starting at 1:17:15 during the stream.

The example Sasko highlights here is Takamura, explaining how while you have the choice to save his life in the game, the relationship the game helps you build with him almost makes it a non-choice, with most players wanting to save him either way.

“We as devs, we interpret non-linearity [in games] in a much broader fashion than players do. Players just go down to ‘can I make completely different choices and see completely different content?’”

To be absolutely clear, Sasko is not blaming player expectations of Cyberpunk 2077 here, they acknowledge that CD Projekt Red could have done better, but are taking the opportunity to explain how the dev team and players both see the game’s approach to non-linearity differently, and what that meant for the game when it released.

“I think it’s fine, I think it could have been better,
” Sasko says at the end of the discussion. “We do know how to make it better and I would expect more from us.”


Main quest was way too short, specially compared to Witcher 3

You can finish the game in 8h. Sure, there are lots of meaningful sidequests and etc., "branches" so you could do the main quest in different ways (first meet Panam, then meet Goro and etc.)

They aimed too high and underdelivered. Should have focused on a meaty, one way main quest like TW3 instead of trying do do many branches, many life paths and etc. while doing nothing as good as they should.

There's a rumour that they've scraped 90% of the story because Keanu wanted to have a bigger role, so they rewrote the whole main quest. And it feels like it. Sidequests are 80% of the game, when it should be 50%-60% at maximun, prioritizing the main story.
I never finished it. I found the combat to be lackluster (shouldn't have been surprised after TW3) and the main story a tad boring.

Maybe I'll finish it one day.


I still don’t get the point hiring celebrity for video game? Is it for marketing? To me it feels just waste money and resources, which they could have used on actual game itself.
For marketing, of course. Dont you remember how big it was when they announced Keanu?

At least 20% of the copies were sold based on hype for Keanu, I can garantee you

His voice acting was atrocious too.

Well, it's Keanu. You can't expect good acting.

And yet it was still his best acting in more than a decade, imo


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His voice acting was atrocious too.
I like keanu reeves and I like his movies but still it doesn’t mean he would make a good character in video game.

I really wish devs stop using celebrities as characters in video games, to me it really takes me out of the experience.
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Still think the story itself running around "gonna die" and chip malfunction spams is what bothers me.
I would rather prefer he still doing dirty work missions, while have team interactions with his "partners" until late game.


I did main and sides. All of em. About 90 hours total.
Personally I think this game lacks 'quests'
Yep, i have a great time running around as a bad ass topless lady assassin with knife arms, slicing up criminals on the street, like im the major from ghost in the shell or something, but damnit, my bad ass topless lady assasin needs more shit to do!


I think its really hard to get branching storylines rights (as in, completely different stories depending on player choice). Its hard because at that point you're not telling one story, but many, and that way things like core thematics or the type of narrative you're going for can go completely out of wack.

One of the few types of games that manage to do it are romance VNs. It works because each branch focus on a different character, normally one the player got interested in. It can also work with stories set in small scales.

On RPGs, i feel any attempts at creating highly interactive progressions kills the possibility of creating an interesting storyline. You get what i'd call "Story as a mechanic", with its most interesting bits being micro-stories you may stumble upon along the way.
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Narrative linearity is not a criticism to me.

It's not an inherently bad thing.

Narrative depth through branching subplots could have been better, but the overall plot of the game was tight, compelling, and polished. I really enjoyed it.

The main questline should have been longer. It ended way too quickly. But I recognize how rushed the product development was.

Here's to hoping the sequel learns from the mistakes. But linearity in the main questline was not one, imho. I'd much rather take a tight, fully developed, and properly realized linear main questline than a branching mess that's poorly written and largely shit.

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Excited to play it for the third time when the expansion drops. It's an incredible game, for sure in my top 10 of all time, however the choices and the paths are useless indeed, and very linear. As for Keanu acting criticism above, yes, he is not an Oscar contender thats for sure but god damn does he have an incredible charm as Johnny Silver. CDPR knows it, a lot of ppl loved him even with his mediocre acting. Theres two types of average voice acting, its the ones that just suck, bore you and then theres the ones that you'd hear your best friends trying to act. Thats Keanu, he aint the best, but I would love to be his friend, or in this case, Johnnys.
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I just finished/platinumed last saturday and, in the end, it's a ok game. The best path/story/end is, by far, the Panam one, although the Arasaka ressurection in the Devil end is very unexpected.


I get the feeling that most people who complained about the linearity did so because of how static the open world feels in this game. Outside of the story quests, there's barely anything in this game that would make it feel like a believable world. It's all just cardboard cut out scenery with fake dolls materializing wherever the player goes to give you an illusion of lif. But the game should feel like every NPC has their own life and little routines that are completely indifferent to your struggles, and that once you drive away they will just continue about their day.

If that immersive aspect was nailed more accurately and the game would react to player's actions in a more believable way, and allow you to have an impact in an emergent way, then fewer people would complain about linearity of the story.


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I think Cyberpunk has a pretty good degree of non-linearity considering the scope and scale of the production. The writing, world, and characters change in very subtle ways based on the myriad of choices you can make; they're not all big, flashy ones though - which is what I believe he's referring to here.


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I haven’t played it yet, have a GOG copy in my library tho. Is it worth playing multiple times in different roles or is one playthrough enough?
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But the game should feel like every NPC has their own life and little routines that are completely indifferent to your struggles, and that once you drive away they will just continue about their day.
eh, i think they did a good job in that aspect. I'd just walk down the road and would hear people talking about how their neighborhood went cyberpsycho, very rich TV programs that gave glimpses into the world, tons of "aftermatch" scenarios you can randomly find like a group of peple who tried to hack into arasaka and got fried.

One particular powerful moment to me was walking down the canal and seeing two probably lovers sitting side-by-side at the bank, surrounded by trashbags, just watching the stale dirty water in the canal as if they were witnessing something incredibly beautiful and romantic. Such a simple, unassuming scene that most people would overlook, yet speaks volumes about the world of the game.
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My biggest issue is that the life path amounted to very little, when they gave each life path a different opening, it led to the expectation that they would have a huge impact on how the game goes. But in reality other than flavor text there is no difference in how one experiences the game through the difference life path, making it almost completely pointless.

Also hated the prologue directly going to being in the city for some time with a montage transition, the things in the transition should have been part of the game. SO you get to know the gangs, get to know the city, etc.
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In a way the sidequests in CP2077 felt like the one’s in AC Valhalla, just really short side-treks, and they didn’t really fit in with the main story very well. I liked both games anyways.
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i don't think the guy really gets it and it makes me worried about cyberpunk 2079. the linearity of the story was really not the problem of cyberpunk. the core systems just weren't good enough and so was the writing. it honestly felt like a b-movie most of the itme.
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