‘We’re competing with ourselves’: CD Projekt Red on its ethos for Cyberpunk 2077’s Phantom Liberty DLC

This DLC has a lot to live up to.

Image via CD Projekt

CD Projekt Red is known for putting out quality DLC. The Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine is considered a must-play by most fans, so the studio has much to live up to with the upcoming Phantom Liberty. This is the one and only expansion for Cyberpunk 2077, and it will only be launching on PC and current-gen consoles, not PS4 and Xbox One, even though the game originally launched on those platforms.

However, CD Projekt Red is well aware of its legacy. “We’re competing with ourselves,” Despoina Anetaki told us, a quest designer at CD Projekt Red. During our talk with her at Summer Game Fest 2023, she told us the team has been focused on crafting an interesting story within the spy-thriller genre, something it doesn’t believe we see in video games very often.

This genre has been woven through more than just the narrative of Phantom Liberty, Anetaki said. “The environment you see around you, all the skills you can use, everything you know” revolves around spy-thriller themes.

On the streets of Dogtown, a once-luxurious development by Pacifica that fell through due to the Corporation Wars, these themes will be present in minor quests and street stories, as well as the main narrative of the DLC. CD Projekt Red “want to do better” with each new project it puts out, and it seems confident it has done that with Phantom Liberty.

A new project means a new star, and for Phantom Liberty, the developer opted for British actor Idris Elba. Most famous from his role on HBO’s The Wire, the DLC sees Elba step into the role of an FIA agent. We’re told that the team always wanted Elba for the role, but they’re keeping tight-lipped on if they’ve got another star in mind for any upcoming games.

And as for how Phantom Liberty will tie into the base game of Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red will leave that for us to figure out. How coy. Guess I’ll have to breach and figure it out myself.

This interview was conducted at Summer Game Fest by Adam Newell.

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Issy van der Velde

Issy loves his video games and his guinea pigs. He’s been writing about games for a few years now, but esports is new to him, so please be nice and treat him like the fragile little baby he is.

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