'Cyberpunk 2077' and 6 Other Cyberpunk Games That Dominated at E3 2019
'80s cyberpunk is back.
The E3 2019 show floor featured games that cater to every imaginable taste, from medieval role-playing titles like Monster Hunter World: Iceborne to cartoony, ghost-hunting adventures like Luigi’s Mansion 3. But there was no other style that was better represented than cyberpunk.
At least seven of the major titles that debuted at E3 put their own twist on the sub-genre, which is often characterized by rough and tumble characters using futuristic technology. The cyberpunk craze was a mainstay of the 1980s — think Blade Runner (1982), RoboCop (1987), and Akira (1988) — but it is currently undergoing a revival.
Most of the titles offer distinct twists on how these high-tech punks will get things done. In Cyberpunk 2077, characters are defined by their robotic body modifications, while in Borderlands 3, it’s the futuristic guns being touted by bloodthirsty bandits. As gaming tech gets better, the game studios are better able to cater to those with grittier tastes who want storytelling that’s both realistic and futuristic.
The next 12 months will be defined by a roster of futuristic-yet-dystopian virtual worlds. So ready your controllers — here are seven big cyberpunk titles that will hit shelves soon.
7. E3 2019: Cyberpunk 2077
The most highly anticipated of the new titles is Cyberpunk 2077, a first-person, roleplaying game set in Night City, an impoverished, crime-ridden city in the Free State of California. In the world of Cyberpunk 2077, corporations have taken over and now control all the major institutions, including the government. You play as V, a mercenary outlaw whose future is in the hands of the player.
The game’s defining feature is its customization. Players can pick V’s look, cyberware, skill set, and play style to explore the game’s grungy West Coast setting, with the help of Keanu Reeves, of course.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the next big release for CD Projekt Red, an internal studio with CD Projekt. That’s the same company that brought gamers The Witcher franchise back in 2007.
- Release date: April 16, 2020
- Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
6. E3 2019: Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs: Legion is an open-world action-adventure game set in near-future London. In this setting, drone delivery services and augmented reality glasses are commonplace, but the government has turned into an oppressive surveillance state.
Gamers play as a member of an elite group of hackers tasked with recruiting Londoners to combat the authoritarian regime. But its most unique feature will be the ability to control multiple characters within its setting. Civilians in Legion each have an A.I.-generated backstory, meaning each gamer must complete an entirely unique mission for each NPC they want to recruit.
The game was developed by Ubisoft’s Toronto studio, and Inverse named it the most high-tech game at E3 2019. It’s like a hacker-centric version of Grand Theft Auto with cyberpunk appeal.
- Release date: March 6, 2020
- Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia
5. E3 2019: Astral Chain
Astral Chain is an upcoming Nintendo action game that takes place in a sprawling, futuristic city named The Ark that’s currently under attack by inter-dimensional aliens. Players are given control of two members of The Ark’s police force to fend off the attackers with the help of their shapeshifting robotic companion.
The game was developed by PlatinumGames, the company behind Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101.
- Release date: August 30, 2019
- Available on: Nintendo Switch
4. E3 2019: Outriders
At E3, Square Enix also revealed its next project, Outriders, a post-apocalyptic-meets-cyberpunk shooter. The game’s first trailer showed a dark, mostly razed world inhabited by three unnamed heroes fighting alien or demon monsters.
Not much is known about the game’s story, but it will support one-to-three person co-op missions. The main characters are a trio of gunslingers who also wield supernatural powers.
Outriders is being developed by People Can Fly, the same company that made Gears of War: Judgement and Bulletstorm.
- Release date: Summer 2020
- Available on: PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4
3. E3 2019: Borderlands 3
Seven years after Borderlands 2 was first released, 2K Games will revive the punk-inspired, Mad Max adventure shooter with Borderlands 3. The game will once again throw players into a cutthroat wasteland where they have to survive by collecting bounties and allying with strangers.
The title is awash with colorful characters and souped-up weapons that gamers will encounter while exploring the game’s highly stylized world. Borderlands 3 will lean into the previous games’ art style, which is best described as a punk comic book.
The game is under development at Gearbox Software, which is also known for its work on the Duke Nukem franchise.
- Release date: September 13, 2019
- Available on: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Google Stadia
2. E3 2019: The Outer Worlds
Much like Cyberpunk 2077, The Outer Worlds is yet another sci-fi RPG. In this title, players accidentally wind up on an exoplanet outpost. Like Cyberpunk 2077, the world in The Outer Worlds is also ruled by mega-corporations that have begun terraforming and colonizing other planets.
The Outer Worlds will be akin to the Fallout series, a kind of space western where players have access to futuristic technology but still struggle to survive in uncharted terrain. Its ending will be determined by the choices, allies, and enemies made by gamers.
The game is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the company who made Fallout: New Vegas and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
- Release date: October 25, 2019
- Available on: PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4
1. E3 2019: Bleeding Edge
Finally, Bleeding Edge will bring the cyberpunk aesthetic to the online competitive game. The third-person brawling game will pit two teams of four players against one another in close-quarters melee combat.
Players will pick from a roster of unique heroes they use to complete King-of-the-Hill and delivery-style missions. The game looks like an Overwatch and Borderlands crossover, and it is being developed by Ninja Theory — a Microsoft-owned studio.
An official release date has yet to be announced, but the game’s beta is set to begin this summer.
- Release date: Beta begins on June 27, 2019
- Available on: PC and Xbox One
The ‘80s cyberpunk revival is fully underway.