MKAU Interviews: John Mamais – CD Projekt RED Cyberpunk 2077

Thanks to the amazing people over at Bandai Namco, this year at PAX Australia, we had the pleasure to sit down and talk to John Mamais from CD Projekt RED about their upcoming game, Cyberpunk 2077.

Simon Hayward:
So, how do you want to start? Well, first question was: “How do you think you guys evolved since The Witcher series going to Cyberpunk 2077?

John Mamais:   
How has the studio evolved?

Simon Hayward:            
Yeah.

John Mamais:   
Well, we grew a lot bigger. On The Witcher 3, I think Max was 180, maybe? I don’t remember the exact number, but it was less than 200, and more than 150, and now it’s more than 400 people working on the project. So, it’s evolved a lot… the team has grown bigger, and has become more mature, and more skilled in some ways, right? And we pulled in a lot more sophisticated talent from outside the studio. So, there’s a lot more talent.

It was already pretty talented for Witcher 3, if I can say so. Not me, but now it’s really through the roof.

Simon Hayward:            
Well, with The Witcher series you guys have always given us quality, and lots of content as well. As it moves to Cyberpunk 2077, are we expecting the same kind of high level of quality in content?

John Mamais:   
It’s very rich in terms of content and there’s a lot of it. A whole hell of a lot of it. More in many respects than in Witcher 3.

Simon Hayward:            
Well considering how vast Night City is, will we be able to just jump straight in, or are we set in somewhat of a path at least at start?

John Mamais:   
Yeah, you need to have a kind of integrated tutorial feeling in the beginning to get people acquainted with the game so they can pick it up. In the beginning it will be probably slower going in but it’s still going to be pretty exciting. A good experience obviously.

Simon Hayward:            
So after that, will Night City be just pretty much all access?

John Mamais:   
I don’t know how we’re controlling entering… I think you can go anywhere in Night City, but it could be a little bit too dangerous in some areas. So you probably don’t want to go in there.

Simon Hayward:            
Yeah. Going back into… conveniently enough, it’s being released in 2020. The second in the RPG edition was named 2020. It’s that kind of a tap on that?

John Mamais:   
It’s funny, you sent the questions ahead of time didn’t you?

Simon Hayward:            
Yeah I did.

John Mamais:   
And you’re going through them perfectly without looking at your notes or anything. You’ve got a good memory, man. No, it’s just convenience. It’s coincidence. We wanted to bring it out earlier. You know, we started working on it a long time ago. Then we had stopped and then we started working on… Everybody went to work on the Witcher and then we circled back and the dates have shifted around. It was never… maybe someone realised how cool it would be and that was the plan all along. But as far as most of the team do it, and as far as I knew, it wasn’t always intended for 2020.

Simon Hayward:            
But it makes sense.

John Mamais:   
It makes really good sense. I fits somehow.

Simon Hayward:            
Yeah, it was kind of like just perfect timing. You could say. We have the character played by… was it Johnny Silverhand.

John Mamais:   
Keanu Reeves.

Simon Hayward:            
Yes. He’s really integral in the universe of Cyberpunk. Will we be seeing any other integral characters from Cyberpunk universe.

John Mamais:   
Yeah.

Simon Hayward:            
Haha.. Nothing!! Don’t want to give too much away?

John Mamais:   
I can’t, I can’t really give it. But yeah, there’s other characters, especially ones connected with John Silverhand.

Simon Hayward:            
Going back to also Johnny Silverhand with his band, Samurai, I’ve seen two of the songs have been released already.

John Mamais:   
Yeah. I had this question before. If there’s going to be more?

Simon Hayward:            
Yeah.

John Mamais:   
I’m 95% sure there’s going to be more. I don’t know what they are, but yeah, I’m pretty sure there are. I asked the music director yesterday, but didn’t respond to me yet. So I’m not sure how many of the songs are going to be in there, Unfortunately. Yes. A bit of information I don’t have. But I think it’s a safe assumption to say, “Yes, there will be.” And I hope that’s good.

Simon Hayward:            
Yeah. Considering in The Witcher Ciri does make a hint of Cyberpunk universe in Witcher 3. Will we be seeing possibly a Ciri?

John Mamais:   
Ciri or Geralt cameos? I can’t say. I don’t think so, but I can’t say.

Simon Hayward:            
Divulge.

John Mamais:   
…”Yes” or “no.” Maybe. As far as I know it, we’re not saying… I don’t know how to answer that. It’s impossible to answer. To my knowledge, no. But I don’t know much.

Simon Hayward:            
With the variety of classes in the RPG….

John Mamais:   
Yeah.

Simon Hayward:            
We’ve got two available, which is the Samurai and Techie.

John Mamais:   
So it’s Solo and Netrunner. And, what’s the other one? Stealth.

Simon Hayward:        
Yeah.

John Mamais:   
Is that what it’s called?

Simon Hayward:        
I think, yeah. Will other classes be available as well?

John Mamais:   
You don’t really pick a class in the game, right…

Simon Hayward:         
Because it’s free flowing.

John Mamais:   
Yeah, I don’t know who named it, the Fluid Class System. It’s just whatever kind of thing. It’s the way to describe it, I guess, because you can mix the skills depending on how you want to play. But those are the three kinds of classes, skill sets that you’re mixing from.

So as a player character, there won’t be any other additional… There might be some elements of other classes from Cyberpunk, but not as prominent as those three.

Simon Hayward:            
So pretty much you just get to have fun with whatever?

John Mamais:   
Yeah, the other kinds of classes that were in the old books, they might appear in the world as those characters are NPCs. Like, Johnny’s there, he’s a Rockerboy.

Simon Hayward:   
With your characters, with modifications done in the game, will that affect the visual aspect of your character as well?

John Mamais:            
Fuck yeah, I’m sure. Yeah.

You’ll see your character, right? Because it’s a first person perspective, but you do see them in the menu though. So in that that sense, yeah.

Simon Hayward:   
Will you have kind of a house or a home base or something where he can just start off, where you’re going to go back to?

John Mamais:            
Yeah, there’s a home base, but it’s not something that you can develop. Right. It’s just a place to go.

Simon Hayward:            
Will there be any romance options?

John Mamais:   
Do you mean sex or do you mean boyfriend, girlfriend?

Simon Hayward:             
Oh, just anything.

John Mamais:   
Yeah. Yeah, definitely having those things in there… It’s a mature game. So it happens… In real life when you’re a grown up, hopefully if you’re lucky, that’s the kind of stuff you do, right?

Simon Hayward:            
How many weapons will be available?

John Mamais:   
I don’t know the total count… It’s a lot of weapons, a lot of different types of weapons too. Handguns and shotguns and SMGs and rifles and there’s a lot of different kinds of those kinds of weapons. Dozens, I think, be safe, safe number.

And there’s also melee weapons things like Katanas and hammers. And then there’s like cybernetic stuff. It’s a big list.

Simon Hayward:            
What is the expected run-time?

John Mamais:   
The Play time?

Simon Hayward:            
Yeah.

John Mamais:   
Don’t know yet. Actually I should know by know, Right? There’s a lot of things going in. The UIs, the elements of the UI are going in. The play-balancing is happening, the open-world stuff’s finishing. So all this content… so we still haven’t really established… There’s different play times, too. It depends on what kind of class you play and which path you take of the many paths you take through the game. And how you play is very important.

I’m kind of talking around the answer, but we don’t know yet. But it’s, but it’s going to be really big. As rich or richer in content than the Witcher 3.

Simon Hayward:            
Talking about the story-line. I’m a side-quest kind of guy. I love just going off doing side missions. So how many can we expect?

John Mamais:
Do you want a number of how many side missions?

Simon Hayward:
No, well I’m not going to ask for an exact number.

John Mamais:   
Yeah, because I don’t know. But it’s a lot. So yeah, and they’re really important to the team. The team likes doing the side-quest stuff too. It gives them more freedom to have fun. You’re not constrained so much by the main story-line when you have side-quests. So the designers really go to town on those sides. So yeah, they’re going to be there and they’re going to be cool.

Simon Hayward:            
Side-quests for me are always great because of what they can incorporate… You can put a bit of lore in without compromising the main story-line. Add Easter eggs in and just do generally anything that you want.

Simon Hayward:            
We’ve got a big name, Keanu Reeves on it. Are we possibly going to see anyone else that we’ve may know?

John Mamais:   
You mean like celebrities or something?  Yeah. Maybe. I can’t talk about that. I don’t think so.

Simon Hayward:            
You don’t think so?

John Mamais:   
No. But I’m not sure.

Simon Hayward:            
Not sure? I’m not getting much out of you…

John Mamais:   
You shouldn’t be, right?

Simon Hayward:            
No, no shouldn’t be, no.

John Mamais:   
It’s like, I didn’t know until after it happened about Keanu. So, probably maybe there’s stuff that’s happening that I don’t know about unfortunately, but I think Keanu’s going to do a pretty good job carrying.

Simon Hayward:            
Oh yeah, carrying the whole bit. I think that might be it. I don’t think I can think of anymore questions from the ones, because I had a lot more but I filtered them down.

John Mamais:   
Okay, cool.

Simon Hayward:            
Cool.

John Mamais:   
Thank you very much.

Simon Hayward:            
No worries. Thank you so much.

John Mamais:   
All right.  See ya.

Simon Hayward:            
See ya.

Again, a HUGE thanks to Bandai Namco for giving us this amazing opportunity. If you’d like to watch the full interview you can by checking out the video below.

 

Simon Hayward

Written by: Simon Hayward

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