Cyberpunk 2077- Phantom Liberty

Game Description: Phantom Liberty is an action packed, spy-thriller expansion to Cyberpunk 2077, offering a complex story, a new district to discover, a powerful new skill tree, fresh gigs and side quests.

Platform: PS5/Xbox Series X/S/PC        Genre: First Person/RPG
Role: Senior Level Designer                    Date: Sept 2020 – Sept 2021

During the development we were incharge of delivering key locations for the new main missions as well as the open world. I was in charge of the level design for both Quest: Paradise & Escape (The mission shown in the video) While working on Escape quite a few LDs worked and developed it to the finish line. First was that of Senior LD Kendal Husband, Myself, and Senior LD Michal Palka. Both were a pleasure to work with and designers which I highly rate.

When I took over Escape, it was due to Kendal leaving the company, but he had blocked out some areas that we could use/alter which was that of the Skybridge and the boss area (Which at the time was the parking lot) But other areas still need to be designed, and due to the size of the mission we decided to split up the locations of the mission between myself and Palka. 

The first area I focused on was the escape route out of the burning mall. We really wanted the player to go through as much of the expansion area in the opening two missions, so we needed the player & president to leave through a different side of the mall than how V had entered. Because the route to Myers was so action-orientated, I decided I wanted to slow it down by having more traversal challenges for the player, as not only were we leaving through another side, but it would also reflect that in the style of gameplay.

In the final release, this section may be much shorter than I had designed but it did keep a really important aspect of this opening section which was having bonding between the player and Myers through gameplay.

Our players are risking their lives to save someone they really do not know and you could argue is doing a really bad job in their position too (Night City is hardly an example of a true utopian city) With this we wanted to build moments of the player needing Myer’s help as well as us recusing her, this way a deeper bond could be formed. Which you will see throughout the rest of the mission with Myers and V, needing each other to pass through multiple doors.

At the time, we only had discussions on if we were going to be able to improve vehicle combat. So I had planned a small route for the player to have Mayers take the wheel and players shoot out of the car like the base game. The route had some slight altercations with the update to the new combat style.

Paradise did not seem to make it into the final game, but it was slightly different from other missions in the expansion, as we would add new locations in the existing areas. This held its own challenges, as we had to make sure it would:
1) Give us enough space to create areas fit for the narrative service
2) Performance, if the new areas were placed in a dense area, it would kill the experience for the player.

Focusing on Songbird and her struggles with her daughter was at the heart and soul of this mission. Players had to first find Songbird, and then convince her to turn herself in vs. going on a killing spree for the loss of time without her daughter. We were accompanied by another spy (Who was cut later in development in the level) Again all of this mission was cut, so None of this ended up being cannon for the universe.

These locations we chose in NightCity: 

Once the release of Cyberpunk 2077 had passed, an aspect that we the team wanted to improve was that of our blockouts, a way to do this was our colour coding.
Purple = Scene Location
Blue = Cover
Orange = Device
Yellow = Main Route
Green = Side Path

Alongside the main missions, each designer was in charge of their own sub-district of Dog Town. We had to manage the feel of the district by communicating with the environment artist to make sure the player felt the difference between each area. The two of us would then sync with Narrative to make sure we knew more about our district so we could understand what to best populate our area with that would sell that theme.

Luckily for me, the area was quite an affluent space, which allowed for more of the lavish buildings, but it also never fully finished construction, which provided some great routes. As LDs were in charge of making sure that Dog Town could be explored both by vehicle and on foot, so traversal paths were both clear and functional. We also had to plan elements such as locations of combat events, shops, and loot boxes. Thinking about how we could manage the distance between each of these while encouraging exploration between each and planning for any overlap between districts with other LDs.

One way we populated the open world was through creating Gigs. I worked on Badge Brothers aka Spy in the Jungle. I really wanted to make this space feel memorable, I decided that the best way to do this was to make the contents of the museum far more memorable. Throughout the player’s time in Night City, you hear about other countries or areas of the world, which inspired me to show how sadly the world of CP would have lost a lot of animals which made me focus on showing animals in the first section to then have dinosaurs in the final area, with holograms on top to make it more Cyberpunk. I really believe this helps give its own feeling and stand out within the world of Dog Town.