Cyberpunk 2077's 1.6 patch arrived today, and it brings some changes that would be a bit more exciting if they weren't overdue by about 18 months. Things like the transmog system and being able to edit your looks at the ripperdoc are great, but they also feel like they should have been in Cyberpunk 2077 from the start.
And hey, Keanu Reeves is coming back in some DLC. Cool, cool. But for me the best Cyberpunk news wasn't about what was included in update 1.6 or what will be added in an expansion. It's a single sentence game director Gabe Amatangelo said during the Night City Wire: Edgerunner's Special presentation today. It's about cops and cars.
Back at launch, players pretty quickly noticed that one particular system in the game was severely lacking. It was missing entirely, in fact: the ability for police to respond in a believable way when you committed a crime. If you got a warrant issued and tried to escape in your car, cops would chase you on foot even if their cars were parked right there. You'd never see a cop car pursuing you, ever, you'd only see more cops appear (also on foot) in your path. And even if you shot someone in an elevator or out in the desert with no one else around, you'd quickly find yourself surrounded by police because rather than actually responding to your crime from a believable distance, they'd simply materialize out of thin air a few feet behind you.
I know Cyberpunk 2077 isn't meant to be GTA. I'm sure there's far more to making cops chase you in cars than just typing <police.chase-you.in_cars="true"> into the game's engine. But police who have the ability to teleport yet can't even make a proper U-turn just make the world feel unconvincing, which was really disappointing in a city that clearly had so much detail poured into it. The AI could drive around in set patterns but struggled whenever they had to deviate from them.
It was pretty clear there was a big hunk of videogame missing from this videogame. Teleporting cops were a band-aid stuck on a missing limb. Hell, even in a scripted mission where you're supposed to escape from cops pursuing you in a car, they'd literally vanish the second you stopped looking at them:
Some improvements (opens in new tab) have been made in the meantime, but at long last it sounds like there's some hope on the horizon for an actual solution. While discussing the future of Cyberpunk 2077, Gabe Amatangelo said "a complete overhaul to the cop system as well as vehicle-to-vehicle combat" was in the works. And I might just be reading too much into this, but "vehicle-to-vehicle" combat sounds like it won't just be cops but also other gangs, maybe even just angry citizens, that can chase you around in the open world instead of just during scripted setpieces.
I know it's one throwaway sentence in a 25 minute presentation, but it's more interesting and exciting to me than anything else in today's 1.6 update or the prospect of more Keanu. I think it's because Cyberpunk's bugs didn't bother me as much as the fact that the game simply wasn't finished. I'm less interested in expansions than I am core pieces of Cyberpunk like this working like they should have to begin with. That missing chunk of AI feels like one more piece of the Cyberpunk 2077 puzzle waiting to be clicked into place.
When is this update coming? I don't know and they didn't say. But just the fact that they announced it is good news, another step toward an incomplete game finally becoming whole.