As part of today’s Night City Wire presentation, CD Projekt RED sat down with senior level designer Miles Tost to get some insights into the geography of Night City, the area that players will explore in Cyberpunk 2077. Fans of the TTRPG who picked up Night City Sourcebook back when it first came out in the early 90s aren’t going to be able to rely on those early maps. For one thing, there was that pesky tactical nuke that ruined the City Center. For another, it’s been almost sixty years since the events of Cyberpunk 2020, so the landscape will have undoubtedly changed.
With that said, Tost echoed the sentiment that Night City is itself a character in the game, not merely a setting. “We wanted to make a city that is very, very believable,” he said. “The word ‘immersion’ gets thrown around a lot, but really, we wanted you to be able to dive into it and feel like this is a real place.” The developers started by looking at the real world geography of where Night City is supposed to be. The TTRPG puts the fictional town of Del Coronado (Night City’s progenitor) somewhere on the central California coast, so probably near the real world city of San Luis Obispo, but well south of San Jose or San Francisco.
What CD Projekt RED did next was to section the city off into six districts, rather different than the neighborhoods originally envisioned for the TTRPG, though Tost did state that some of them were based of the original lore. Tost stated, “Each of these districts, in turn, we divided into further sub-districts which we further characterized using the more grand theme of the larger district.” Even more impressive is the possibility that you (as a player) will be able to point interesting locales out to friends much the same way you’d point them to a cool restaurant or merchant out in the real world, just by giving out street names and neighborhoods. Since every street is named in Night City, you’re going to be able learn to get around much like you would in your own hometown.
Of course, it’s not just virtual urban planning. There’s a lot of small scale work involved as well, bespoke placement of all sorts of objects such as piles of garbage or fireplace barrels. “I think this is a small detail, but the philosophy that we have with these kind of things is that many, many small things contribute to the sum of it,” said Tost.
We’ll see just how big (and bad) Night City is on November 19 when Cyberpunk 2077 releases.