CDPR, I urge you not to abandon the first-person perspective for the Cyberpunk 2077 sequel
Upon its release in 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 faced numerous issues that hindered its overall performance. The game experienced significant technical probl...
Upon its release in 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 faced numerous issues that hindered its overall performance. The game experienced significant technical problems on last-generation consoles and exhibited bugs on current-generation platforms. Additionally, many of its systems felt incomplete and lacked substantial depth; the skill tree proved underwhelming, and the crafting system proved confusing. The non-playable characters (NPCs) demonstrated limited intelligence, and the game lacked meaningful activities beyond the main and side quests. Most notably, the buildings within the game were primarily superficial, with their interiors inaccessible to players seeking exploration opportunities.
However, there was one aspect that undeniably benefited the game: its first-person perspective. It is somewhat surprising, then, that CD Projekt Red has not definitively stated whether the sequel, codenamed Orion, will maintain that viewpoint. In a recent investor Q&A session, Paweł Sasko, the quest director for Cyberpunk 2077, mentioned that the studio has yet to determine if they will continue with the perspective that characterized our initial journey through Night City.
"The first-person perspective is a fundamental characteristic of Cyberpunk. Our intention was for Cyberpunk to have a distinctive identity and stand out as something unique," Sasko stated. "The first-person perspective played a significant role in shaping this identity for Cyberpunk."
Sasko is correct in his assessment. Despite having played The Witcher 3 extensively, I didn't find myself reflecting on Geralt's adventures much while immersed in Cyberpunk 2077. The first-person perspective played a significant role in setting Cyberpunk apart. However, beyond distinguishing it from other games, the first-person view felt like the ideal choice for Cyberpunk 2077's world. Undoubtedly, certain aspects would work better in third-person. It would allow players to see their character's outfit at all times, eliminating the need to check the menu or find a mirror. Additionally, a third-person perspective would enhance the visibility of the surroundings, making melee combat easier and more gratifying.
However, transitioning to a third-person perspective would result in the loss of several crucial elements. This includes one of the aspects in which Cyberpunk 2077 excels compared to almost any other game: its exceptional shot composition during dialogue scenes. Cyberpunk boasts remarkable lighting, stunning character models infused with expressive animations, and impressively intricate environments.
All of these elements are showcased brilliantly during dialogue sequences, which consistently leave me impressed with the game. I find myself captivated by the intricate details, whether it's the objects scattered over a character's shoulder, the interplay of neon lights on their face and metallic implants, or the overall composition that seamlessly merges everything into a cohesive image. It's truly fantastic, and it would be a mistake to abandon these aspects by transitioning away from the first-person perspective.
Shifting to a third-person perspective would also have a substantial impact on the game's sense of scale. In the first-person view, you can look up from the street and experience the same vertigo you would feel when standing at the base of a skyscraper in the real world. Cyberpunk has always excelled at conveying a properly immense world, and the first-person perspective enhances this sensation more effectively than third-person, which often looks slightly downward instead of upward. It's challenging to look directly upward in third-person, and Cyberpunk is a game that requires you to gaze at the sky and the towering structures reaching towards it to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
The most intriguing aspect of the idea of the game transitioning to a third-person perspective is that it suggests the potential for Orion to shift its focus away from shooting and towards melee combat, platforming, climbing, or any of the numerous activities that are easier to engage in when you can see your character's entire body. During my playthrough of Phantom Liberty, I specialized in a dynamic, movement-oriented playstyle, utilizing abilities such as double jump, dash, and carrying a katana. Consequently, I wouldn't mind if CDPR placed a greater emphasis on empowering acrobatic gameplay. However, on the flip side, Phantom Liberty already executes those elements successfully, and such a drastic change doesn't appear necessary.
As my colleague Rhiannon Bevan mentioned in her article about this news, the fact that CDPR hasn't made a definitive commitment to a specific perspective suggests that Orion is probably in the early stages of development. CDPR has the option to retain the first-person perspective, transition to third-person, or follow Bethesda's approach and allow players to switch between both perspectives. Personally, I hope CDPR decides to stick with the first-person view, but it will likely be four or five years before we have the opportunity to witness it firsthand.