Don’t expect Cyberpunk 2077’s uber-detailed conversations to immediately set a new standard for RPGs

Cyberpunk 2077’s very detailed and immersive conversation mechanics are one of the game’s biggest strengths, but don’t expect them to immediately become industry standard going forwards.

We all love being able to take a break from exploring Night City to relax or have a natter with a friend, something the latest update CD Projekt has delivered has only made easier – thanks to its metro system and romance hangouts. That said, as outlined by a couple of developers, we might not see too many other studios be able to deliver something similar in the near future.

In response to one Twitter user suggesting: “If there’s one thing RPGs in the future should copy from Cyberpunk 2077, it’s the amount of detail put into the conversations”, a number of developers have noted that this might not be feasible for a lot of studios due to what’s required to bring such a system to life.

“2077 absolutely deserves praise for its conversations, but it’s important to note how many resources, both in time and money, went into developing this system,” responded Pentiment director Josh Sawyer, while Cyberpunk quest director Pawel Sasko noted that it took “a herculean effort from lots of departments to make [the game] work and feel like this”.

“They are insanely expensive, both in terms of how long they take to build & maintain but also the resources that need to go into them,” added CDPR franchise and lore designer Patrick Mills. Likening this discussion to the discourse around Baldur’s Gate 3 potentially setting a new standard for the genre, he added: “scenes like this are simply out of reach for many [studios].”

Mills went on to explain that “building a game with so few cuts is extremely demanding on stuff that isn’t just cinematics”, due to the fact it means less chances to quickly do things like resetting scenes and moving actors or the player around.

The developer added that he had to convince a director to allow him to add in one of the game’s few cuts – which occurs after visiting the Red Queen’s Race during the mission ‘I Fought the Law’ – as he didn’t have enough “dialogue budget” left to fill a five minute ride with River Ward, which would otherwise feel like a bit of a pacing-killer.

If you enjoyed playing through Cyberpunk 2077’s Phaanntom Liberty expansion, make sure to check out our recent interview with some of the sound designers who helped to bring its iconic Chimera chase to life.

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