Cyberpunk 2077's cutscene controversy explained, and why it's a dumb thing to be angry about
CD Projekt Red's latest foray into sprawling RPGs, Cyberpunk 2077, might just be the most hyped-up and hotly expected game of 2020. As the studio's successor to 2015's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, that's not a huge surprise, and so far, all the trailers and gameplay footage we've seen has backed up that hype.
Over the last couple of weeks, however, the game has found itself in the middle of some controversy. Luckily for CD Projekt Red, this controversy seems to be the first major issue the game has had so far leading up to its launch, at least from the outside, but no one wants to be in the center of any drama like that. The first bit of scandal came when PC Gamer tweeted out a now-viral story titled "Instead of choosing male or female gender, Cyberpunk 2077 players will select a 'body type' and voice," covering Metro's interview with CD Projekt Red. The latest controversy doesn't have anything to do with character creation, and instead focuses on the game's cutscenes.
In CD Projekt Red's deep dive gameplay livestream on August 30, which showed off more of the upcoming game, it was revealed that Cyberpunk's cutscenes will all be in first person. The internet, naturally, freaked out about it. That's it, that's the whole controversy.
To explain a bit in the defense of those who were offended by this reveal, the game, while entirely first-person as is, is incredibly beautiful. That means that players may want ample opportunities to step back and look at their sexy protagonist, who they've decked out in cool gear and customized to their heart's content. Cutscenes, then, were to be one of those opportunities, and would-be players are angry that they've now been limited in how many times they'll be able to look at their character to reflections and the menu, from what we can tell.
There's at least a little bit of logic to be found in that argument. Sure, you spend hours toying with your character's look, and you want to see your hard work reflected back to you. That makes sense. But that's where the logic stops. It's apparent that CD Projekt Red's goal with this game isn't to have you look in on another character's journey, as the studio did with The Witcher 3 and its Geralt of Rivia. In that game, having everything, and we mean everything, in third person made sense. Geralt has a very apparent and well-defined personality, and you're simply watching him as he stumbles through his own story, which, in turn, is a much larger-than-him plot of extra-planar powers and magic. In Cyberpunk, however, you're supposed to feel as though it's your story.
The personality, then, comes from your imagination, as you insert yourself into the world and play as though you're the one on the cool sci-fi motorbike and not V (that's the name of the protagonist). It makes sense, then, that cutscenes would follow the same logic. It's not just V that's experiencing those moments, it's you, and it should feel like it.
Following that logic, it wouldn't make any sense for the cutscenes to suddenly be in third person, when that would clash with the artistic vision of the rest of the game. Not only that, but it would make even less sense to contradict that style just so the player can satisfy their need to oggle themselves, when you can easily do that on-demand in the menu.
If you disagree with us, and you think the cutscenes should be third-person, let us know in the comments.