I spoke with Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith at E3, who told me that CD Projekt Red definitely wasn’t the first video game company to try and license Cyberpunk from him.
“Since the day I did Cyberpunk, we’ve had people option it for video games.” Pondsmith said with a laugh. “I think we were up to six or seven, including a lot of fairly big titled names.” Pondsmith wouldn’t elaborate on who those companies were, but did explain why they ultimately went with CDPR.
“A lot of [the other offers] were like ‘okay, we’re going to take this and we’re going to reskin it to whatever we’re currently doing, and we’re going to call it Cyberpunk.’ We’d walk out of the deal and go ‘yeah, I dunno, that didn’t feel good.’”
But that wasn’t the case for CDPR. “The CDPR guys approached us and they were fans. So they knew the property and the loved it, and they honestly probably knew more about it than I know about it.”
Pondsmith called CDPR’s enthusiasm and experience with the source material “the tipping point” in making a Cyberpunk game, and that it was incredibly important to get “people who know the material and cared.”
When CDPR first reached out, Pondsmith admitted that he was dubious about whether or not they could do it. “In the end, [we picked CDPR because] they love the material and they’re damn good at what they do.”
Pondsmith also went so far as to joke around saying that if we didn’t have a company of his own to run, he would apply for a job there. “As a studio runs,” Pondsmith explained “it’s one of the best running studios I’ve come across, and I’ve worked in a bunch and known a bunch.”
“What I like is the determination to make the best product… I’m willing to wait to see good product, because if it’s bad you can’t take it back.”
For more Cyberpunk 2077, read my first-hand impressions here, some more gameplay details here, or about CD Projekt’s response to the first-person backlash here.
You can preorder Cyberpunk 2077 today on Amazon.
Tom Marks is IGN’s PC Editor and pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.