Cyberpunk 2077 was a massive departure for CD Projekt Red. The developer had previously earned plenty of fame for The Witcher 3, but Cyberpunk 2077 offered a completely different style of gameplay, a new setting, and more.
While the game’s shortcomings and positives have been discussed plenty of times over the last few years, the developers have recently joined the conversation.
In a recent GDC panel, Level Designer Miles Tost shared his thoughts on the lessons the team had learned on non-linear level design.
The developer believes that branching paths need to be given more importance and pointed to Arkane’s Dishonored franchise as an excellent example of this kind of non-linearity in games. He stated:
“We need to treat paths as special. This is what creates value in the choices players make.”
While non-linearity was the goal, CD Projekt Red also made a well-crafted experience for players who did not wish to explore multiple options. However, this approach led to many players defaulting to similar playstyles.
The level designer further explained that he had come up with a few rules to make engaging non-linear levels. This includes incentivizing exploration through isolated paths, rewarding exploration in meaningful ways, and more.
As such, the developer has acknowledged that games like Dishonored have managed to reward exploration through their level design.
Cyberpunk 2077 has seen a massive shift in perception over the last year. With constant updates and a phenomenal anime adaptation, players have given the game another chance, and many have found themselves impressed with CD Projekt Red’s latest work.
However, Level Designer Miles Tost and the team have already acknowledged several shortcomings that can be improved in the game. As such, the studio will likely apply recent lessons to the already-announced sequel for an even more impressive release.
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