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In Cyberpunk 2077 'mature doesn't mean just sex and violence'

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One of the trademarks of CD Projekt Red games is that the developer treats those who play their games as mature. As I've explained before, when talking about The Witcher 3, most video games flash boobs and butts with a quick roll in the hay and then call it "mature." For CD Projekt Red, it's not just an insertion of a sex scene that suddenly makes the game mature; it's about the whole world the game builds around the player.

In the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, we can expect that same level of maturity, but with an added level of intellectual engagement.

In a recent interview with Xbox: The Official Magazine, September Issue, CD Projekt Read Quest Designer, Patrick Mills, explained that Cyberpunk 2077 is "an inherently political genre and it’s an inherently political franchise."

A central theme of the Cyberpunk genre is that of high tech and low life, of megacorporations that dominate every level of society, and about the struggle to break that hold. However, Cyberpunk 2077 is more than that; it's not just about futuristic weapons and violence, it's also about the anti-hero, moral ambiguity, the underbelly of humanity, and a nihilistic view on life. It's that theme that CD Projekt Red wants to capture.

We've previously talked about the influence of Cyberpunk/Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith, on the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 as its based on the world he initially created. In his interview, Mills again refers to the depth of Pondsmith's worlds and that it will resound in Cyberpunk 2077.

"The original Cyberpunk 2020 setting, like the setting of The Witcher stories, was a complex critique of the author’s world, and we don’t shy away from that In our games. On the contrary! I think it’s one of the things that sets us apart. Of course, to us, mature doesn't mean just sex and violence."

For me, a "mature" game doesn't shy away from sensitive topics, and it also shouldn't dictate how the player should feel about these topics. It's not about violence or sex, it's about subtle and obvious themes stitched into the fabric of the game. It's about challenging the player to extend him or herself to wander along paths of the mind they've not gone before. It's about tapping into the player's inner dialogue and surfacing those things we don't usually face.

Therefore, a game can have a mature age rating, yet essentially be very immature in its content. The flip side is true as well, a game can have a low age gate, yet be very mature in how it displays its world and engages the player.

"It’s a place that is very critical of the world in which we live, in interesting and complex ways and we hope we can get that across," continues Mills. "Cyberpunk 2077 is about a world where a vanishingly small number of ultra-rich individuals at the top of intractable corporate power structures reign over a disintegrating world where the vast majority of the population lives in an endless cycle of poverty and violence. How different that is from our world depends a lot on your perspective, I suppose.

It's that clashing of perspectives that I hope CD Projekt Red presents to us in a mature way. Of course, "mature" can also include sex and violence, but those actions in itself can be portrayed in a mature or immature way.

Looking at the Witcher franchise, it is clear that CD Projekt Red gradually matured in how they represented these things, and with Witcher 3 they've hit a level of maturity that is a rare thing in video games. It's about treating players as adults on multiple levels - be it sex, violence, morality or ethical issues.

What, in your opinion, means a "mature" game?

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"an inherently political genre"

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