Cyberpunk 2077 Gameplay Debut; Xbox All Access Subscription – LMG 08/18

Cyberpunk 2077 Gameplay Debuts Five Years After Announcement

After five years of silence, Cyberpunk 2077 appeared at Microsoft’s E3 2018 showcase. The new Cyberpunk 2077 trailer showed a new art direction and a giant futuristic city full of crime and neon. Months later in an unexpected stream, CD Projekt Red (CDPR) played 45 minutes of Cyberpunk 2077.

We follow V, the protagonist, through an overcrowded, dirty area of future California. The demo directs viewers to a backseat car meeting for a shady job offer. The offer doesn’t come easy as V must first show her worth and complete a test job.

Choice encompasses the demo. Non-lethal, lethal and greedy approaches give the player the freedom to play, in their view, the best way. An ideal decision-based quest system shouldn’t force any approach. Player decisions should all threaten a unique set of consequences, either immediate or distant.

CDPR games draw attention for their huge worlds, deep quests and memorable characters. Cyberpunk 2077 represents something larger. Cyberpunk 2077 promises the largest, most ambitious game ever set in a cyberpunk/sci-fi world. Despite huge franchises like Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy, few games provide a futuristic open-world.

The recent Deus Ex games, Human Revolution and Mankind Divided, come close to a large, cyberpunk world. Hub-world design allowed the series to pack more detail into each city structure. Most units in apartment complexes let you break into them, and storage units often hid something inside. Players acquiring stealth and hacking abilities saw the largest reward during city exploration. Full frontal, loud assault weapon attacks required endless ammunition and regeneration items. Even if successful, low hacking skill may keep a safe’s items protected. Stealth’s benefits then forced a particular style of play. Even with Deus Ex’s variety of character skills and mission routes, the game felt designed for stealth.

In an article from 2013, I wrote about my endless search for an open-world cyberpunk experience. Five years later, it still does not exist. Since then, more games do use the genre for the foundation of their story. Games like Shadowrun, Satellite Reign and VA-11 HALL-A all use the cyberpunk aesthetic with different mechanics. I found smaller games tend take place in a cyberpunk world, yet larger developers tend to avoid it.

Cyberpunk 2077 swerves game industry trends as it tries to build an RPG in a cyberpunk world. Developers often create stealth RPGs or strategy games borrowing the neon aesthetic. And aside from the Deus Ex franchise, even fewer games explore the themes found in cyberpunk stories. With not even a general release window, hope CDPR completes Cyberpunk 2077 before the year 2077.


Xbox All Access Bundles Console, Xbox Live and Game Pass for a Monthly Subscription

Microsoft continues their subscription service options with Xbox All Access for new console buyers. Xbox All Access provides an Xbox One console, two years of Xbox Live and two years of Xbox Game Pass for a monthly fee.

Buyers can choose the Xbox One S bundle for $21.99 per month, or the Xbox One X bundle for $34.99 per month. After two years, buyers own the consoles. Right now, the deal is United States only.

Both subscription options cost the buyer less over two years as opposed to paying for all the items upfront. The Xbox One S bundle saves buyers over $130, making it a cost-effective option.

All these savings assume retail price, skewing the actual value of this service. Xbox Live and Game Pass see regular sales, so Xbox All Access’ value may vary.

Xbox All Access

This subscription option alleviates the burden of buying expensive hardware upfront. It also prepares the best value package for people unaware of Game Pass or what games to play.

This year Microsoft announced that all Microsoft Studios developed games will also launch on Xbox Game Pass. The news made the service a must own feature, especially since they add new games from many other studios. For September, Quantum Break, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and many more also join the service.

Xbox Game Pass’ success prompted a response from EA, who then announced a similar service called Origin Access Premier. Although expensive and PC only, Premier provides all EA games at launch. This package makes sense for fans of EA sports, Battlefield and BioWare. Origin Access Premier represents the industry’s trend towards providing buyers options. Physical, digital and service based games changed player and developer behaviour.

These subscription services set up Microsoft for their next line Xbox hardware already in development. The acquisition of five new studios, subscription services and hardware options all prepare the platform for a flexible future.