Since being announced in 2012, the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 video game will finally launch on December 10.
It’s a massive open-world game, and getting around will require a car or motorcycle.
Business Insider spoke with Paweł Breshke Czyżewski, a senior vehicle concept designer at CD Projekt Red, and learned that the team behind the cars used a lot of real-life aspects when designing them for the game.
Since being announced in May 2012 – and after multiple delays – December 10 will finally see the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most anticipated video games in recent memory. And there will be cars in it. Good cars.
An action-filled, open-world role-playing game, Cyberpunk was created by Polish video-game developer CD Projekt Red. It’s the same company behind the wildly popular and award-winning The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Except instead of riding around medieval forests on a horse named Roach, Cyberpunk is set in the dystopian and futuristic megalopolis, Night City. There are six regions to visit, so in order to traverse the expansive map – as well as engage in races – you’ll need some wheels that can be stored in your in-game garage.
Fans have been waiting for the game’s release for eight years. To say that it’s been hyped is an understatement; it promises to be one of the greatest role-playing-games ever made, with slick graphics and an expansive, beautifully rendered world for players to explore. Players’ choices in the game affect its storyline and outcome. As a result, there will be several endings to the game depending on past decisions made.
Console and PC gamers alike can rejoice, because the it will be available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, and PC.
Like everything else in the game – from the weapons, the fashions, the people, to the technology – the cars and motorcycles found in Cyberpunk will all exhibit incredible detail and design.
And the primary guiding aesthetic? “Retro-futurism sums up our designs very well,” Paweł Breshke Czyżewski, a senior vehicle concept designer at CD Projekt Red, told Business Insider. “Our vehicles have details that make reference to futurism but they are not so intrusive. Instead, they feel like a logical part of the world.
“We didn’t want that kind of out-of-this-world futurism, which includes small spaceships in place of cars.”
This is why the cars in Cyberpunk will still be recognizable as cars; they’ll have four wheels, a steering wheel, a speedometer, a gearbox. But they’ll also have futuristic twists, such as the inclusion of sonar, lidar, mirrors with built-in monitors, and large, screen-filled dashboards that display extremely detailed information.
There will also be self-driving and autonomous options, but those “remain reserved for selected luxury models only the richest can afford,” Czyżewski said. Kind of like how things are now!
That idea of class differences is further manifested in how the cars look. “The majority of cheap vehicles are asymmetrical and have devices in the form of lidars or lights attached clunkily to the body – the result of car owners making DIY ‘improvements’ out of necessity,” Czyżewski said.
To square with the dystopian future of 2077, the cars will also have roof-mounted license plates. Czyżewski said that small details such as these reflect the effort the team put into making the cars feel like they truly belong in the Cyberpunk world. The license plates, for example, are so air-bound police who use autonomous vehicles can easily identify them from above.
Driving in Night City
Driving in Night City will “feel believable,” Czyżewski said, but he insisted that the team did not set out to make a driving simulator like iRacing or the Forza Motorsport series. Cyberpunk will have tanks, heavy-duty trucks, cars, and motorcycles available to players and each will feel unique in their handling and control. Each vehicle will have its own story.
“We wanted players to have full control over handling regardless of vehicle class and have a different experience driving each type,” Czyżewski said. “For example, you’ll be able to feel that an SUV is more heavy and clunky to drive, while a sporty coupe is much faster, more precise, and more responsive.”
The catalog of cars
Though Czyżewski declined to answer how many cars and bikes will be featured in the game, it seems like there will be a lot. One of the game’s coolest inclusions will be the 1977 Porsche 930 Turbo – one of the most iconic and coveted 911 models for car enthusiasts. The car will be 100 years old in Cyberpunk 2077, and supposedly it is the only car in the game that’ll be based on a real car.
The 930 Turbo is especially fitting, as it hails from the 1980s – the start of Cyberpunk’s history. It is, as an emailed press release claims, “a link between the Cyberpunk universe in 2077 and our world today.” Everything, from the body to the interior and the engine, has been completely reproduced on a 1:1 scale.
Adapted – much like all the other cars – to suit the game’s reality, the Porsche has a front-mounted lidar attachment, electronic mirrors, interior monitors, and sensors that can be used to identify those air-bound police vehicles. It wears a red-and-white stripe along its side, a nod to the Porsche 911 RSR Le Mans endurance race car.
The 930 Turbo will be closely connected to one of Cyberpunk’s main characters: Johnny Silverhand, who is modeled after and portrayed by none other than Keanu Reeves.
Other vehicles include the Quadra Turbo-R, which was featured in a game trailer from 2018’s E3 conference. It looks like a wedge-shaped, mid-engine car with exposed air intakes and a manual transmission (!).
Recreating for a virtual world
Replicating the cars virtually was a long and painstaking process.
The team drew inspiration from various places, including real automotive design trends from the past couple of decades and other cyberpunk media, but put special effort into ensuring that the cars would always be identifiable as ones from Cyberpunk 2077.
“We had the idea of retro-futurism to guide us, as well as the aesthetic and styles that make up Night City,” Czyżewski said. “When it came to taking inspiration from manufactured cars – and concept cars – we’d focus more on smaller elements and themes, adapting them, blending them, or putting our own twist on them in some of our cars.
“So, when we look at other cyberpunk influences, from Blade Runner, for instance, we weren’t necessarily taking that style and putting it into our game, but more figuring out how to design our cars in such a way that, one day, they can stand alone as iconic cyberpunk style cars that are distinctly ours.”
Judging from the game’s trailers and demos, textures appear to be a big part of the immersive world. After the team finishes researching and compiling a database of both real and concept cars that would inspire the cars in the game, they build a conceptual 3D model that includes the crucial details like the lidar, license plates, and sonar.
After that, a designer transforms the vehicle into something that’ll be later on used in the game. This is the step where the model is finished with all its appropriate internal parts. Reflections in the bodywork have to be checked over to make sure they look right.
Then come the chassis, the lights, and animations relating to entry, exit, destruction, and steering.
But to truly make the cars sound real, a specialized audio team used high-tech microphones and recording equipment to grab sound bytes of real engines, exhausts, and other internal parts (including the opening and closing of windows).
The fourth episode of the game’s video blog, “Night City Wire,” shows that the team rented out a race track and hired a professional race car driver to have them drive the cars around, hard, so they could pick up the full spectrum of sound. They recorded everything from muscle cars, off-road cars, drift cars, highly tuned V6s, to the V10 exhaust note from the Lexus LFA, one of the greatest-sounding cars ever made.
Mechanics from a rally team were hired to help place microphones in places that aren’t easily reached, such as in the engine bay and in the exhaust.
Thus, even though the game is set in 2077, the cars will still retain internal-combustion engines and sound the way they do today. So don’t be surprised when you hear a familiar noise coming out of a completely unfamiliar virtual car.
Squaring with the now
It’s undeniable that today’s automotive landscape is in a state of flux. Autonomous driving and electric cars are but some of the technology rapidly expanding to fill the space. We’re now forced to think, more than ever, about cars and their lasting impact on the environment and urban spaces.
When designing a futuristic game, set in a megalopolis and with a heavy reliance on cars, this reality cannot be ignored.
“It’s obvious that the automotive industry is changing, and it has to change – it’s inevitable,” Czyżewski said. “Currently, we are in the middle of the greatest revolution in the automotive world and everything has an impact on it, from the economy to climate change. Similar to the real world, such aspects affect how vehicles look and function in Cyberpunk 2077.”
It’s hard to say where the future of cars will take us. Perhaps, Czyżewski guessed, everything will be AI-controlled and private car ownership will end. Instead, everyone will rely on public transportation that’s handled by local municipalities.
Or, Czyżewski suggested, there might not be any public transportation at all, either because everyone will work remotely or because cities “will be so intelligently built that you could walk everywhere and vehicles would be used only to get out of the city.”
“In such a scenario, cars we know today would exist only as a toy for the rich and there will be huge squares with roads especially built for them, where they will be able to feel the power of these classics,” Czyżewski said.
Cars are inherently political. They always have been and forever will be. Everything about them – from their manufacturing, price points, design, what technologies they offer, who they are for, fuel-economy standards – are actions and reactions based on the world around them. They do not exist in a vacuum.
When creating and designing cars and motorcycles for Cyberpunk 2077, Czyżewski and his team kept this powerfully in mind.
“We had to consider exactly how Night City functions, and what kind of transport different residents would need,” he said. “We also wanted cars to reflect Night City’s history, which is outlined by four art styles in the game: Kitsch, Entropism, Neomilitarism, and Neokitsch.”
These styles are omnipresent, as evidenced in “cars, clothes, guns, [and] implants,” according to this Cyberpunk 2077 YouTube video.
Among the four, Entropism is the oldest and focuses on “necessity over style,” according to Games Atlas.
“This lifestyle was born when the Fourth Corporate War broke out,” according to the website. “Vast and deep crises forced people to find ways to survive by any means necessary. Entropism represents the look of poverty that derives from humans grappling with and struggling against technology and its unforgiving advance.”
Flashiness, bold colors, and eccentric makeup characterize Kitsch. “As society began to recover after the stock market crash, people looked for ways to brighten up the grey world they became accustomed to. Kitsch was a popular counter-cultural movement against the austerity of Entropism,” Games Atlas says.
Neomilitarism is born from “global conflict” and “corporations jockeying for power,” according to Games Atlas. Its entry on the website shows people dressed in cutthroat black outfits along with a car apparently called the “Chevillon Thrax” – a Rolls-Royce-esque limousine fit for a dystopian war zone.
And finally, Neokitsch is for the obscenely wealthy and out-of-touch.
“Neokitsch is for celebrities, braindance stars, business magnates, heirs to corporate fortunes, and corporate executives,” says Games Atlas. “They abandoned the cold, deadly elegance of Neomilitarism and returned to the roots of Kitsch, but gave it a fresh, new look. This is the look of the ultra-rich appropriating the surface-level aesthetic of Kitsch without acknowledging its cultural motivation, warping it into a statement of abject wealth.”
“Cars that were manufactured in each era are a reflection of design philosophies and production realities of said era,” Czyżewski elaborated. “So, Entropism cars are noticeably less elegant in their design and feature poorer quality materials because Night City was in a particularly rough state during that time.
“Neokitsch cars, on the other hand, are ultra-luxurious and reflect the immeasurable wealth of those who flaunt this style – a minuscule percentage of the population.”
These ideas were no doubt inspired by real-world situations, such as how the oil crisis in the 1970s crumbled the US domestic car market and accelerated sales from Japanese and European automakers, or how celebrities own multimillion-dollar vehicle collections while the average American drives a 12-year-old car.
Though it is a fictional game set nearly 60 years in the future, Cyberpunk 2077 does appear to address the social and class anxieties that very real societies struggle with today. It’s clearly reflected in the choice of cars and their role in Night City.
The game even goes as far as to suggest that there will still be a reliance on fossil fuels decades from now – a future that may very well be our own, even if skyrocketing EV stock prices might have us convinced otherwise.
But as for how we get around in Night City? Cars are the main attraction.
Read the original article on Business Insider