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Cyberpunk 2077 Sequel Should Lean More Into the Spy Theme

When the credits of Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty rolled across the screen, I had only one thought: I want more. Not only was the DLC exceptionally well-received by yours truly (my review can be found here), but it can boast excellent reviews across the board. Could this persuade CD Projekt Red to bring back the espionage theme in the Cyberpunk 2077 sequel?

This article zooms in on a few key moments within Phantom Liberty, and therefore contains spoilers.

One thing seems quite clear; we won’t see V again. Despite one of the new endings allowing V to survive the adventure, the majority of the endings are not in favor of the merc. In any case, I believe that if a game has even one ending in which the protagonist meets their end, the sequel shouldn’t bring the character back. It diminishes the impact of that specific ending from the previous game. So as much as I appreciate V (and both voice actors), I don’t need to him/her return. I’m sorry.

Don’t jump yet, V. You’re still needed

One person’s death is another person’s opportunity. And so, V’s flatlining opens the door for a new resident of Night City (yes, I DO wish to see the city return for an extra edition). After Phantom Liberty, I would love to see the new protagonist be part of a secret agency. The gameplay, atmosphere, and especially the writers are well-suited for this, as has been demonstrated.

And of course, we already have quite a few games where we play as agents. Take, for instance, Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid. Aside from the fact that both franchises seem pretty much dead, there is, however, one essential difference compared to Cyberpunk. In Phantom Liberty, it wasn’t just about the action; we could also behave like real spies through dialogue choices. We had to analyze, manipulate, and sometimes even impersonate people.

I had a great time with every mission, side job, and gig in Phantom Liberty, but the absolute best moments for me were the ones where we actually went undercover. For example the mission where we played a game of roulette at the Black Sapphire.

You Know My Name; Infiltrating the Black Sapphire

The mission “You know my name” started off brilliantly. We guided Solomon Reed (Idris Elba) through his obstacles from a distance. The communication between Reed and V made me feel like we were truly engaged in a special, life-or-death operation, with no room for error. Of course, you can mess things up and blast your way in, but it’s the secret, sneaky infiltration that felt really satisfying.

We earn our entrance to the Black Sapphire, and my V treats himself to some complimentary drinks (unfortunately, we can’t order a vodka martini “shaken, not stirred”). Before getting down to business, we are treated to a visually spectacular performance by the star, Lizzy Wizzy.

After that, it’s time for the main course: the meeting with the Cassel twins, Aurore and Aymeric. While playing a game of roulette with someone else’s money (the best way to do it), we have to interrogate the two. Ally Alex instructs V to provoke specific reactions so that we can scan the redheads and assume their identities later.

Cyberpunk 2077 was already immersive, but this Phantom Liberty mission immersed me even further into the neon-colored world. This is due in no small part to the exceptional writing. All the characters involved feel lifelike, and none of them are simply black and white. Our partners all operate in a gray area.

While playing, many questions arise about morality, what is right and what is wrong? There is often no clear-cut answer. This simultaneously makes the many choices V has to make very challenging. I often found myself staring at the dialogue choices for minutes, wondering what on earth I should choose. As if that wasn’t positive enough, it also leads to extra replay value.

What more ingredients could the developer possibly need for the Cyberpunk sequel?

Behavioral Imprints

Once the twins have been successfully scanned, we can then replicate them down to the finest detail. Phantom Liberty introduces the Behavioral Imprint technology, allowing us to adopt the appearance, voice, and overall demeanor of others. So, we continue as either Aymeric or Aurore, depending on whether your V is a woman or a man.

In the crucial Firestarter mission, we are forced to choose between supporting Reed or Songbird. Did I mention those tough decisions already? But before that, we go undercover as the twins. By pressing a button, we bring up an interface in real-time that provides us with information about our fake identity. In this case, I played as a male V, so I had access to details about Aymeric. The interface tells me that he treats his body like a temple. Our enemy, Kurt Hansen, offers us an alcoholic beverage, and naturally, I must decline to avoid suspicion.

This gameplay element is simple but incredibly effective. The list of details about Aymeric’s life is not too long and overwhelming but concise and clear. Hansen is clearly interrogating and testing us, but I navigate through it thanks to the information prepared for us. This part of the mission felt very cool, and I would love to experience more of these situations in the Cyberpunk sequel.

In the mission “We Run this Town,” the technology makes a return, and we step into the shoes of the assassin Aguilar. This time, we don’t subject ourselves to interrogations; instead, we do the intimidating. Aguilar is a notorious killer, and everyone is afraid of him/her (once again, depending on whether your V is a man or a woman). This time, I didn’t feel like a seasoned spy so much as a total badass. The way Aguilar, or rather V, delivers threats in a cold manner gave me a powerful feeling.

Hopefully, the Cyberpunk sequel builds upon the successful theme they established in Phantom Liberty. I want to see much more of this.

Do you also want to see the spy theme return in the Cyberpunk sequel? Or do you think it’s time for something different? Let me know in the comments!

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