IGN recently had a conversation with Paweł Mielniczuk, the art director of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, discussing the lessons CD Projekt learned from the game’s 2020 launch and why they decided to revamp it instead of moving on. They also explored the influences that will shape its future, including the development of a sequel code-named Orion.
Mielniczuk admitted it was difficult to anticipate whether Phantom Liberty would resonate with players, but the team was relieved and satisfied when they heard the criticism and feedback. This led to significant efforts and time dedicated to improving the game’s quality, resulting in the updates and enhancements seen in Phantom Liberty and the upcoming 2.0 update. These improvements were not mere initial concepts but instead came from the players’ voices, such as the more user-friendly and effective skill tree. Even better ideas and new features have been constantly considered, with unused ideas being documented and saved for future development in Cyberpunk’s next installment, Orion.
Regarding the change in game engine from REDengine to Unreal Engine 5, Mielniczuk acknowledged that while REDengine was a fantastic and modern engine, it required constant modifications to create new elements during development, causing delays and lengthy processes. The shift to Unreal Engine 5, with the strategic collaboration with Epic Games, aims to alleviate these issues. This decision was partly influenced by the challenges faced during the production of Cyberpunk 2077.
Lastly, Mielniczuk expressed great excitement about the Orion project and how it will enhance the potential of the Cyberpunk franchise. The development for Orion is being transferred to a new studio in North America, birthed from the lessons learned from Cyberpunk 2077 and Phantom Liberty.
TLDR: IGN interviewed Paweł Mielniczuk, the art director of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, who discussed the important lessons learned from the game’s initial launch and why they chose to revamp it instead of moving on. They also highlighted the influence of player feedback and the upcoming sequel, Orion, as well as the switch from REDengine to Unreal Engine 5 and the excitement surrounding the project.