Cyberpunk 2077 has certainly had a long, strange journey from being totally busted at launch to reasonably playable today. Debates rage on as to whether it can ever deliver on all the pre-launch hype CD Projekt Red generated, but soon the game will get another chance to impress with the one-two punch of a sweeping version 2.0 update and the September 26 launch of its only paid expansion, Phantom Liberty. But which upcoming features are free, and which will require you to shell out for the DLC? We can finally shed some light on that.
That’s because today the game’s official Twitter tweeted a graphic that lays out, in no uncertain terms, which changes will be available as part of the game’s 2.0 update, and which will require buying the Phantom Liberty expansion. As of this writing, the 2.0 update doesn’t have a release date, but it will launch before the $30 Phantom Liberty does on September 26. Generally, the patch looks to be mostly systemic and quality-of-life changes, whereas the expansion is bringing new content on top of those sweeping fixes and tweaks.
So, which new features will you get for free, and which are only in the paid DLC? Read on.
All PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S Cyberpunk 2077 players will enjoy the following new features for free, whenever the 2.0 update hits. (Unfortunately the PS4 and Xbox One received their last major patch with last year’s version 1.6 “Edgerunners” update.)
When we played Phantom Liberty during Summer Game Fest, CD Projekt Red spent time extolling the many coming quality-of-life changes, like a cleaner, more readable UI. But more systemic gameplay changes, including redesigned skill trees and a complete overhaul of the cyberware system, seem like they’ll change the game up in more significant ways.
The redesigned skill trees, based on my time with them in that demo, feel like they’ll help to craft a more defined playstyle for your V. The character I played in the demo was melee-based, with powerful hand-to-hand finishers and the ability to deflect bullets. That’s only one of the planned new skill trees, and it’s unlike anything in the base game right now. Needless to say, you’ll want to respec when the 2.0 update launches.
Just one caveat to note: The new “Relic” skill tree, about which more below, will only be included in the paid expansion.
Now only is your basic character build evolving, but also how you augment it. The revamped Cyberware system allows you to basically put your tech augments into overdrive to make them more powerful, but that will come with drawbacks if you’re not careful. While it won’t quite reach the Cyberpunk: Edgerunners anime’s portrayal of cyberpsychosis, you can expect some more risk and reward in how you augment V after patch 2.0.
In Cyberpunk 2077 you spend a lot of time driving around Night City, but the base game doesn’t let you do much else with all the cars and bikes you collect. The 2.0 update is adding combat sequences—V can fire a sidearm out the window, or operate a turret built into the car—as well as more car chases in the open world. The game already had a few chases, but only in pre-scripted sequences. This new system seems to make them a naturally occurring event within the world.
Cyberpunk 2077 was pretty much a straightforward shooting gallery most of the time, but the 2.0 update aims to make its combat more dynamic by overhauling enemy AI and tactics. This will include things like making enemies better at taking cover and giving them new melee attacks that make them more lethal up close.
The 2.0 update claims it will make the punishment for your crimes more severe than a simple firefight and a possible car chase, with the threat scaling depending on the severity of your crimes. This includes giving cops heavier artiliery to deal with you depending on how bad you’ve been. If you keep racking up violations and reach the maximum “Heat” level (think GTA), you’ll have to face a MaxTac miniboss encounter. If you’ve seen Edgerunners, who already know why that’s very bad news.
Cyberpunk 2077’s original UI is a bit hard to read. It’s stylized to look like a HUD a cybernetic-enhanced mercenary might have, but that’s not exactly easy on our real-life human eyes. The 2.0 update is revamping it to be a bit more sleek, clear, and not as disruptive.
The 2.0 update is also bringing new loot and equipment, as well as changes to the crafting system which lets you make new weapons, clothes, and other items for you to carry around Night City.
While you’re engaging in all that car combat, Cyberpunk 2077 is also getting new radio stations to listen to, which will also include one made up of songs from the community chosen as part of a contest earlier this year.
All that 2.0 update stuff sounds pretty good, but that won’t get you all the new content and features. You’ll have to shell out 30 bucks if you want to enjoy the following new additions to Night City.
The bulk of Phantom Liberty takes place in Dogtown, a new area near Night City’s Pacifica district. You won’t be able to access the new space without buying the expansion, and you also won’t be able to reach it until you reach the Pacifica section of the main game. So be sure to get that out of the way before September 26.
All those systemic changes are fine and well, but the big draw of Phantom Liberty is the spy thriller storyline featuring Luther and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 actor Idris Elba as new character Solomon Reed. Naturally, this will only be available if you buy the expansion.
Alongside the main quest, Dogtown will be home to other quests, fights, and other antics for V to get up to in Phantom Liberty.
With the 2.0 patch’s overhaul to vehicles, naturally Phantom Liberty will be looking to highlight those changes. This will include new missions, including airdrops, which are meant to be endlessly replayable, according to the devs we spoke to at Summer Game Fest. We’ll see about that.
Part of the story in Phantom Liberty centers around a character named Songbird, who claims that she can save V from the Relic in their head that is slowly killing them. Part of this includes unlocking the Relic’s potential, thus opening up a new skill tree that is only upgradable using Relic Points found in Dogtown.
If you weren’t already overwhelmed by all the loot and such you can collect in the base game, Phantom Liberty is giving you more loot to put in your pack. This includes new fashion, so I will be serving lewks throughout Dogtown while doing spy shit.
No car chase or vehicle combat overhaul is complete without mounting an explosive onto the front of your car.
Cyberpunk 2077’s level cap right now is 50, so on top of respeccing your V with the new skill trees, you’ll be able to gain another 10 levels while you fight your way through Phantom Liberty’s new story and quests.
It seems like CD Projekt Red is going all out for Phantom Liberty, which makes sense considering that it’s the game’s only planned expansion for Cyberpunk 2077. The studio is working on a sequel as well, but that game is likely a very, very long way away.