Cyberpunk 2077 has finally arrived, having been unveiled in 2012, and there’s a good chance it’ll be many people’s first experience jumping into the tabletop RPG universe that it’s based on.
It could also be many players’ first first-person RPG that isn’t developed by Bethesda. Cyberpunk’s mix of realtime combat, character builds, and stealth and hacking mechanics actually put it closer to immersive sims in many ways, and it could lead to more games in the genre.
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Immersive What Now?
Immersive sims, at their core, are intended to emphasise emergent gameplay opportunities. In basic terms, they’re built around the idea that players can affect the world in various ways.
The Elder Scrolls VI: Oblivion, its sequel Skyrim, Bioshock and Fallout 3 and 4 all have many of these traits.
Consider it this way: in Fallout 3, players have the option to destroy or spare Megaton, a town built around a nuclear bomb. If they choose the former, the town is removed from the map, along with all of its characters.
That means if another player didn’t blow it up, they’ll have an entirely different set of quests and interactions in that area.
The genre has undoubtedly slipped out of vogue, with diminishing sales returns in the wake of first-person shooters surging in popularity, but Cyberpunk 2077 offers a fresh opportunity.
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In truth, the genre has been due a revival. In the last console generation, players were treated to the likes of Dishonored 2 and Prey, as well as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
While none offer the incredible scope of Cyberpunk 2077, all are well worth a play – and can be found at massively reduced prices.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided followed up Human Revolution, and while it doesn’t hit the heights of the original game (a pioneer of the genre), Adam Jensens’s cybernetically enhanced drama with a wealth of sneaking, shooting, or hacking choices feels like a clear precursor to Cyberpunk 2077.
While Prey veered into sci-fi horror territory, its mind-bending narrative, coupled with enemies that can take the form of inanimate objects, make it wholly unique.
Finally, Dishonored 2 remains one of the generation’s most underrated titles. With two playable characters with alternate abilities each mission is a sandbox built for slinking through shadows, or slicing through squads of soldiers.
The Case for Reinvention
Cyberpunk has already hit over 1 million concurrent players on Steam, and is likely to reach increasing heights as its community grows.
With the choice-based, immersive sim gameplay being kept alive by such a huge release, it could show publishers that there’s plenty of life left in this type of title.
Here’s hoping it’ll help bring on Dishonored 3….