One way to keep a giant gameworld feeling fresh and full of things to do is to create a process whereby the game can generate new content on its own. The other way is to write all of them yourself. CD Projekt Red is going the latter route with Cyberpunk 2077, with every quest and objective hand-crafted by the development team.
Quest design coordinator Philipp Weber fielded a series of questions collected by the CD Projekt Red forums mods. In his answers he discusses a lot of what goes into designing quests for CD Projekt’s games and specifically for Cyberpunk 2077. Weber began quest design as a Witcher 2 modder, and he talks about the process of moving from the modding community into professional game design. There’s a lot to it, and the mods collected some great questions, so the whole thing is well worth a read.
One of the most definitive answers Weber gives in the interview is to the question of whether Cyberpunk 2077 will include so-called “radiant” or procedurally-generated quests.
“Every quest in the game is handcrafted,” he says. “For us, quality is always more important than quantity, and we just couldn’t deliver this quality with modules we assemble in different ways to create these random quests. We don’t just want to keep people busy, but actually give them something to do that’s worth their while.”
It’s an approach that worked fairly well in The Witcher 3, but obviously the suitability of procedural quests and activities is highly dependent on the type of game you’re building. Games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 are stories with beginnings, middles, and ends; while games like Destiny 2 and Monster Hunter: World are more activity centers for players and their friends and thus have systems in place to keep delivering content more or less indefinitely.
What all those games have in common, though, are big spaces to fill up.
“We’re making a big open world RPG of course, so that means that despite our quests being handcrafted, we tried to make a whole lot of them, so players can have fun in the game for many hours,” Weber explained.
Cyberpunk 2077 is coming out April 16, 2020.
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