CD Projekt studio head Adam Badowski said during an investors presentation today that the sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 is officially underway, but still very, very early in the process.
Phantom Liberty will be the one and only expansion to Cyberpunk 2077, which is both good and bad news: Bad because, now that it’s finally all squared away, we want more Cyberpunk 2077, but good because it means the focus has shifted to the full-scale sequel, announced in October 2022 as Project Orion. But—and really, this should come as no surprise—anyone hoping to get their hands on it anytime soon should probably temper their expectations.
“We decided not to develop any more add-ons for CP2077, but rather to start designing a full sequel to the game under the Project Orion codename,” CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Badowski explained during the presentation. “This project is on the conceptual design level right now, and it’s going to be designed by a team of veterans who were responsible for designing Cyberpunk 2077 and designing Phantom Liberty.”
For now, working on the game is taking place in CD Projekt’s Vancouver and Boston studios—”Team leadership is already there,” Badowski said—and the target for “late in 2024” is to have half the development team working out of the US, and half from Poland.
It took more than eight years from the time Cyberpunk 2077 was announced until it was actually released, and nearly three years beyond that before it became the game that everyone’s now raving about. On one hand, that’s not an entirely unusual length of development time for a big-budget videogame—Grand Theft Auto 5 came out in 2013 and the sequel hasn’t even been properly announced yet—but it does mean that if Orion development requires a similar stretch, we may not be playing it until sometime after 2030. It may not: CD Projekt is switching to Unreal Engine 5 for its future games, which will presumably take some weight off its shoulders on the tech side. But given the inherent unpredictability of game development, maybe it’s best not to think about that too much.
Fortunately for diehard fans, CD Projekt also has big plans for the Cyberpunk 2077 franchise beyond just the next game in the series. “Whenever you consider us, you think of us as game developers,” Chief commercial officer Michał Nowakowski said. “That’s true, but that’s not the full truth. We want to be popular culture developers.”
(Image credit: CD Projekt)
Novakowski said game development will remain at the “core” of CD Projekt, but the studio wants to expand the Cyberpunk 2077 franchise, and its revenue streams, beyond that. The Cyberpunk Edgerunners anime is the most obvious example of that effort, but there’s also been music based on the games, a novel, comic books, and various bits of merchandise.
“We’re going to see even more in the time between the Phantom Liberty release and the Orion project release—the sequel to Cyberpunk 2077,” Nowakowski said.
One of those in-between efforts has already been revealed: CD Projekt also announced today that it’s working with Anonymous Content on a Cyberpunk 2077 “live-action project.” Novakowski said during the presentation that more details on that project will be shared “as they become available.”
CD Projekt also announced today that it has sold more than 100 million copies of its primary games: The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Cyberpunk 2077. Not bad.
(Image credit: CD Projekt)