Cyberpunk’s latest Night City Wire event was easily its meatiest yet. It covered a wide array of topics, including Cyberpunk 2077’s soundtrack, the bonus in-game goodies players can expect to see, the title’s special facial animation technology (which we’ve covered in the past), and two separate sections dedicated to the legendary actor Keanu Reeves’ role in the game.
Like we said, it was a meaty event, and it’d be difficult to cover all of the intricacies here. Still, we’ll go over some of the more important content here, starting with the phenomenal 5-minute gameplay trailer you can see above. It shows off a few different aspects of the game, ranging from combat and hacking to conversations and character customization.
It’s a broad-strokes overview-style trailer in the vein of a pre-release Rockstar gameplay walkthrough. This means it cycles through short segments of gameplay while a narrator describes Cyberpunk 2077’s setting, unique features, and the player’s role in the game; her words often syncing up with what’s happening on screen.
It’s a high production value affair, and the game looks nothing short of gorgeous throughout the trailer. We assume it’s running on a high-end PC, but as we saw recently, Cyberpunk 2077 still looks great on consoles, too (even if the framerate doesn’t necessarily match).
As we mentioned a moment ago, Night City Wire 5 dedicates plenty of time to talk about Keanu Reeves, one of Cyberpunk 2077’s most surprising casting decisions, first revealed back in 2019.
There’s one Behind the Scenes video in which Reeves discusses his interest in the project and his experience with motion capture, and a second story trailer that reveals more about his on-screen character, “Rockerboy” Johnny Silverhand — a well-known figure in Cyberpunk lore. In the former, Reeves talks about the difficulties of performing voice work for a game as complex and branching as Cyberpunk 2077.
“You almost get to play one moment of a decision with three different behavioral attitudes,” he says in the video. “So that was fun, you know. Johnny’s either a dick, or he’s happy, or he’s trying to convince.”
In the latter, we get a glimpse of Johnny Silverhand’s attitude and personality. He seems like a bit of a snarky jerk, to say the least, but then again, Night City isn’t exactly a nice place, so that sort of demeanor probably comes in handy.
One of the stand-out reveals during this NCW episode was Cyberpunk 2077’s use of “JALI” facial animation technology. This tech, which we’ve covered in the past, allows the developers to create appropriate facial animations and lip-syncing for every single fully-localized language.
That means that, if you’re a native Japanese speaker and you play Cyberpunk 2077 in your home tongue, the lip movements will fit what’s being said on screen.
This is quite different from how many other game devs handle localization. Typically, a game is recorded and animated for one language, and then the others are just dubbed over after the fact. This AI-based, semi-automated process seems like a much better approach, though we’re sure it will have a few bugs on launch day.
Cyberpunk 2077 releases on December 10 for the general public, but journalists have been granted the opportunity to get a second round of hands-on time (not review copies — yet) with the game recently, so you can expect to see their impressions go live sometime soon.