The latest episode of the Cyberpunk 2077 podcast shed some light on the highly anticipated sequel to the game, internally known as “Orion”. The developers discussed how the new Boston studio is leading the development of the sequel, aiming to delve even deeper into the dystopian world they created. Paweł Sasko, Associate Game Director, expressed his thoughts on the first game’s shortcomings, particularly in addressing issues like the homeless crisis. He mentioned that the team didn’t push the envelope far enough and only scratched the surface of the dystopian elements. With “Orion”, the team hopes to create a more true-to-life experience and explore themes that were not fully realized in the original game.

Dan Hernberg, Acting Executive Producer on the sequel, highlighted the relevance of Cyberpunk’s world to current societal issues like megacorporations, wealth disparity, and exploitation. He emphasized the importance of storytelling in a broken world, where relationships and people are central, but larger themes are also addressed. The team aims to continue exploring these themes in a poignant manner with “Project Orion”, leveraging the dystopian setting to shed light on real-world issues.

One of the concerns raised during the podcast was the “manhole debacle” from the original game, where a Reddit post pointed out inaccuracies in the game’s depiction of manhole covers. While this may seem like a minor fault, it raised questions about the level of detail and realism in gaming. Paweł Sasko referenced this incident and emphasized the importance of creating a lifelike world for the sequel to maintain immersion and authenticity. The team is mindful of cultural differences and aims to address such issues to enhance the overall gaming experience.

Balancing Realism and Artistic Freedom

The discussion around realism in gaming brings into question the balance between hyperrealism and artistic expression. While some believe in the pursuit of high-fidelity graphics, others appreciate a broad range of art styles in the industry. Mark Darrah, Dragon Age producer, expressed concerns about the industry’s shift towards hyperrealism, viewing it as an exhausting and unwinnable race. It’s essential for developers to find a balance between realism and artistic freedom to create engaging and immersive gaming experiences.

While Cyberpunk 2077 may feature fantastical elements like talking vending machines and exploding heads, the developers are considering integrating real-world issues like homelessness into the sequel. Despite the challenges of addressing such topics in a fictional RPG universe, the team aims to incorporate more homeless NPCs to reflect the societal issues present in the real world. By leveraging the cultural sensibilities of their new North American studio, CD Projekt RED hopes to create a more authentic and socially conscious gaming experience with “Orion”.

The development of the Cyberpunk 2077 sequel, internally known as “Orion”, promises to explore deeper themes, enhance realism, and address real-world issues within the context of a dystopian future. By learning from the shortcomings of the original game and leveraging the expertise of their new studio, the developers aim to create a more immersive and socially relevant gaming experience for players. As they continue to push the boundaries of storytelling and world-building, “Project Orion” holds the potential to set new standards in the gaming industry and captivate audiences with its vision of the future.

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