Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Release Date Revealed In Gripping Gameplay Trailer
If you're a casual gamer, or simply someone who doesn't really follow gaming news, you might be surprised at the hype around Cyberpunk 2077's upcoming Phantom Liberty expansion. After all, the game launched in a sorry state, and while it sold briskly, buzz around the title was fairly negative at launch. Well, that's been two years ago now, and it's almost an entirely different game at this point. We live in a world where a game launched poorly is no longer necessarily "forever bad," and indeed, Cyberpunk 2077 is pretty alright these days.
The interesting part is that, with the launch of the expansion, Phantom Liberty, it's about to become an even-more different game. Along with a new trailer released at Summer Game Fest last week (embedded below), CD Projekt Red's Pawel Sasko has been doing the interview circuit and said some pretty fascinating things about the content coming along with the new DLC.
First, let's talk about the DLC itself. Phantom Liberty is going to add a huge pile of story content, with "almost as much Johnny Silverhand" as in the base game, plus Idris Elba as a central character in what the company describes as a "spy thriller". The story will apparently revolve around finding a cure for the lethal brain-eating condition main character V acquires as part of the base game's main story. It adds a new area to the game, known as Dog Town, and has the usual assortment of new equipment, side-quests, and so on.
Arguably the changes coming to the game system itself are more interesting than the add-on content, though. You see, Cyberpunk 2077 is a big game, but in a lot of ways it was a mechanically-uninteresting action RPG. You had extensive perk trees tied to your base stats, but almost all of these perks were simply tweaks to your numbers. Another 2% damage here or 5% mitigation here isn't interesting or exciting, which is why most players went with hacking builds where you earned real new abilities upon leveling up.
That's no longer going to be the case with the Phantom Liberty update. Instead, all of the skill trees are being totally reworked to focus on providing the player with new abilities in gameplay. This can be as simple as using weapons from vehicles—oh yeah, that's a thing now—or as improbable as blocking bullets with melee weapons.
That's not the only major overhaul coming to Cyberpunk 2077 with the expansion, either. Sasko says that the company has "redone the whole loop and progression of the game," and that the difficulty curve is totally different. He says there are "very few systems" in the game that haven't been changed or updated, and remarks that even the UI has been "greatly updated."
Other known changes coming with the update are revamped and revised NPC AI, totally reworked damage scaling including major changes to armor that emphasize defensive cyberware, a whole melee system rework, more involved stealth finishers, a new cyberware limit forcing players to prioritize a bit more, a complete driving and vehicle physics rework, new dynamic vehicular combat including weaponized vehicles, and probably even more that hasn't been mentioned yet.
Along with talking about all the gameplay changes in the expansion, CD Projekt Red also released updated PC system requirements for the game. These take into account all of the updates that the engine has had since its launch, like the demanding RT Overdrive mode as well as all of the optimizations made to get the game running on low-spec hardware like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Unsurprisingly, the low-end requirements are actually quite low: a Core i7-6700 and a GeForce GTX 1060 6GB card will apparently get you in at the ground floor, although you will need at least 6GB of video RAM—and that only gets you 1080p30. The "recommended" settings are quite a bit higher, though, particularly in terms of CPU horsepower, while folks who want to play on Ultra settings will need seriously stout hardware: up to a Core i9-12900 or Ryzen 9 7900X paired with a GeForce RTX 4080 for the RT Overdrive fully path-traced mode.
Don't get too excited yet, though—while some of these changes will likely be coming in a game patch before the DLC releases, the actual expansion doesn't launch until September 26th. If you're confident you'll dig it, you can pre-order Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty at all of the usual places.