If you’ve been paying any attention to E3, you probably already know that CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 received a surprise Trailer after five years of relative silence about the project. That’s a long time to leave people to project all of their hopes and dreams onto it, and I’ve seen some criticism that the game has taken a turn for the “Disney,” which is no doubt referring to the new trailer’s colorfulness and how many scenes take place during the daytime. With that in mind, I thought it might be worth going over the two trailers that have released for the game thus far to compare, contrast, and figure out if the tone of the game has actually changed or if it’s an illusion caused by the different background music and time of day.
Here’s the new trailer
The first thing you’ll notice is the narrator, which may very well be the voice of playable Character “V.” Character creation is confirmed by the text that flashes at the very end (along with a DRM-free PC release and other things they assure will be handled like they were for The Witcher 3), though there are jacket-related hints that several of the characters shown are potential player characters, which suggests that a female character option will also be available. Most of the footage here takes place during the day, which seems to be detractors’ main sticking point; it’s worth pointing out that Night City is named after a person and not because it’s shrouded in perpetual darkness, though “sunny” and the overall genre of lowercase-cyberpunk have traditionally been at odds. Still, Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk is quite a bit different than something like Blade Runner, and many of the capital-Cyberpunk die-hards insist that this is an accurate portrayal of Cyberpunk 2020, though the world has clearly gone through decades of developments between 2020 and 2077.
And now, the 2013 teaser
The main difference in this teaser trailer is that it centers around a single incident (someone who indulged in body modification to the point where they lost their humanity and went “cyberpsycho”) rather than jumping around a bunch of disparate scenarios, and for that reason takes place entirely at night. The music is also much more emotional than the steady, almost emotionless beat in the newer trailer. Apart from blade lady’s victims, she and the MAX-TAC agents are the only real characters here. Honestly, my first reaction to the newer trailer was surprise and confusion, and I think a large part of the reason for that has to do with how many characters there are. Half a decade of seeing only a small handful of characters makes it easy to forget that they’re just pieces of a much larger and more varied picture.
A fun little experiment
There are so many differences between the two trailers that the only way to really tell whether the overall tone has changed is to focus on the darker scenes exclusively set to the music of the teaser trailer. I extracted the few nighttime scenes and pasted them together (which only resulted in a 20 second clip), then slapped on the old music. There are subtle differences, but these are somewhat explainable by the teaser being pre-rendered while the new trailer is rendered in-engine. The nighttime still looks to have a heavy focus on blues and greens, and Mike Pondsmith himself appears to have confirmed day/night cycles and weather algorithms on Twitter, so it’s likely that we’ll be seeing some rainy nights and and bad weather days, too.
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