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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Phantom Liberty Looks Like the Cyberpunk 2077 CD Projekt Pitched From the Start

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CD Projekt is launching its Cyberpunk 2077 expansion Phantom Liberty this September, but alongside a chunk of new story content and an extension of the map, it's also revamping a ton of mechanics from the base game.

These changes, which include a completely rebuilt police system, brand new skill trees, and more, look to bring Cyberpunk up to what CD Projekt initially pitched for the game at its famous reveal in 2018.

An update, presumably version 1.7, will launch around the same time as Phantom Liberty (though no earlier than September 9) and include these changes to the base game, though it's currently unclear just how many of them will be free for all Cyberpunk 2077 players and how many will be locked behind the $30 / £25 expansion.

CD Projekt told VGC that "all the core, main systems" of Cyberpunk 2077 have been "redone or updated in a major way", adding that "there are very few systems that we didn't change or update".

This includes how progression and difficulty works in the game. "The difficulty curve is different, the tiers and drops of loot is different, the archetypes of enemies have been redone for more variety," CD Projekt added.

New quest types called Airdrops are also joining the base game, and these are designed to be infinitely replayable. "You'll see red smoke going up in the air and you have to get to that location really quickly," IGN said in our hands-on preview. "There's some really coveted items often at those locations."

Perhaps the biggest change coming is in the "rebuilt from the ground up" police system. As reported by GameSpot, police will investigate crimes on an individual basis, depending on where the player is and what illegal actions they commit.

"We redid the cyberware system and so now there's a capacity meter, and the more cyberware you slot the further you push the edge, and you can run over the edge."


Killing someone in the middle of a desert should result in a slower (or no) response compared to killing someone in Night City, for example. More so, killing someone in a wealthy area of Night City like Corpo Plaza will result in the quickest responses from police.

Different units will also appear depending on the severity of crime and how many the player commits, with the SWAT-like MaxTac showing up at five-stars alongside police bosses.

Kotaku added that police will also use more advanced tactics to hunt down the player, like blocking roads in car chases or t-boning your car.

Speaking of smashing cars together, vehicular combat is another feature coming to Cyberpunk 2077. "Together with Phantom Liberty we’re introducing vehicle combat," CD Projekt told IGN. "You’ll be able to fire guns from you car or bike or use weapons, which are mounted on your car."

On a more individual level, Cyberpunk 2077's character progression is also changing significantly. Armour will no longer be attached to clothing now according to GameSpot, but will instead be built up by installing cyberware.

To stop players just investing in so much cyberware they become invulnerable, CD Projekt has also brought over a Cyberpunk: Edgerunners-inspired cyberpsychosis feature.

"We redid the cyberware system and so now there's a capacity meter, and the more cyberware you slot the further you push the edge," game director Gabe Amatangelo told IGN in a Summer of Gaming interview.

"You can run over the edge and then there's a bit of risk versus reward," he added. "The response of Edgerunners was huge so we wanted to put it in."

Finally, Cyberpunk 2077's perks and skill trees have been rebuilt completely. Instead of the current passive stat bonuses, unlockable abilities feel more like perks that create a unique character build, GameSpot reported.

The Reflex skill tree now grants players access to a mid-air dash, the ability to deflect bullets with a sword, and perform fast and furious finishers, for example.

IGN has reached out to CD Projekt for comment on which of these features will be available in the base game and which are locked behind the paid expansion.

Phantom Liberty launches on September 26 and will also add a whole new ending to the regular Cyberpunk 2077 and includes a clever nod to the original Witcher game.


Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He'll talk about The Witcher all day.

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