Cyberpunk 2077 disappointed a lot of players when it launched without many of its originally promised features. The quests were incredibly light on dynamic player choices, and advertised features like apartment customization and body augmentations were not in the final game. The gameplay was so lacking in previously expected depth that the company removed the word “RPG” from the game’s store page and official social media. Two days ago, fans noticed that the Steam page for Cyberpunk 2077 added “RPG” back into the description. A question arises: Does the latest large patch justify calling Cyberpunk a role-playing game?
There’s a lot new about the v1.5 patch that accompanies Cyberpunk’s release on next-gen consoles. Skill trees have been rebalanced, enemy AI is smarter than before, Night City feels more alive, you can rent apartments, and it’s now easier for players to substantively change their appearance. Although you still can’t hook up with Keanu Reeves, the patch adds more texting conversations with potential love interests.
Kotaku contacted CD Projekt Red to inquire about the game’s genre change, but a spokesperson declined to comment.
When Cyberpunk 2077 first launched, critics noted that the game was not necessarily an RPG. The world felt barely held together, the story seemed overly scripted, and in general it was more feature-lite than advertised. Many fans are still skeptical about whether or not Cyberpunk can be called an “RPG.” The quality-of-life fixes have been welcome additions, but are they enough to justify the game’s marketing touting an entire genre shift? As you might expect, this set off debates on places like Reddit about the line between “RPG elements” and bona fide “RPG.”
One reason Cyberpunk got lambasted at launch was because players wanted it to be a fully immersive experience in which their choices felt like they mattered. They wanted the science-fiction version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. So far, Cyberpunk’s depth of gameplay feels relatively slight by comparison. It’s slowly improving with patches, but the community is divided over whether the new combat tweaks and cosmetic improvements make it more of a satisfying RPG. Some fans feel that it does. Others are more bullish about RPGs being defined by player choices.
CDPR’s marketing strategy, however, is really not helping matters. Besides the great RPG debate this week, there are also questions about whether or not this 50GB update constitutes “DLC”, as CDPR is calling it. It’s clear that there’s a huge mismatch between what the company wants players to believe and how they feel.