So I spent some time today looking at the cyberpunk 2077 release material. It looks awesome but I have absolutely no chance of having sufficient hardware to run it on release. Therefore, I might as well let out my pipe dream on what I want the impressively ambitious CD Projekt Red to do.
From the looks of the trailer, the tone seems good. I like the focus on the cyber-psycho squad (I did some research on setting by *acquiring* the old Cyberpunk 2020 books) although I think they shouldn't be the primary focus of the game. What I like is when things are clearly not so great, but it takes some effort to dig into just how messed up the world is. I like Legend of the Legendary Heroes, which starts off seemingly idyllic but starts setting its tone by having one of the nobles kidnap a girl and present her to the king as a gift in the first episode. The second one is what gets carried on into the rest of the series, although it never loses the pretense of being comedic and fun, accentuating the darkness all the more. I guess what I'm saying is that while the cyber psychos should be a major part of the game, playing as a member of the cyber psycho squadron might be a little bit like hitting someone over the head with the tone.
So obviously Cyberpunk should be an open world game. If you played Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you know that you could run around the given area but movement between areas was plot driven. I'm mostly fine with that but it's still a bit of a compromise from a game play perspective. Because HR does this, it can portray a somewhat tighter, more cohesive plot. This isn't the false FF13 "We locked you in a hallway because STORY!!!" bullshit, but something that actually benefited from this focus. Still, that's not something CDPR really needs to worry about. They have experience from the Witcher series that makes it actually beneficial to open things up. I suppose that there should also be a mission structure because duh. Jobs will randomly appear on your log and have to be manually accepted sort of like a job board. These quests will have time limits so you can't accept a quest and just leave it. You'll have rep with the various employers and doing runs for them or against them will affect the rep and thus things like bonuses and quality of the quests the employer will give you. Some of these employers will also be weapon vendors and keeping them happy would be important like X-COM Apocalypse. There would be two types of jobs "business runs" where you do a run primarily for monetary gain and rep with a single employer, and "thrill runs" which primarily rewards rep with the various street factions. The actual gameplay would be like a modernized System Shock with more RPG elements like stats for speed and a neat implant system. Add in some of the better elements of Mirror's Edge's parkour and the gameplay would be extremely interesting.
The plot should be given as a series of missions with multiple mutually exclusive missions being the branch points for the story. There should be a Hitman: Blood Money-esque style to it, where there's a lot under the surface (see tone) but the suggestion that there's more to it should be in the back of the player's head the entire game.
While I'm no game designer, this would be a neat start to a design doc. It would take a lot of play testing as it does have a lot of moving parts, but it would be ambitious and cool.