CD Projekt Red are no strangers to AAA development but creating something as large and complex as Cyberpunk 2077 meant shifting into higher gear in just about every department, making The Witcher 3 look like a 2D game in comparison.
In an interview with AusGamers, head of CDPR's Krakow studio John Mamais said, "The Witcher is almost like a 2D game in comparison, its world was flat. [With Cyberpunk 2077] you're going up and into huge buildings, so it is a case of vertical and horizontal streaming and hardware speeds impact that. We had to rewrite the tech to support all of that."
That's not to say that The Witcher 3 isn't gorgeous in its own right, and there's no shortage of screenshots to prove this, but Cyberpunk 2077 took everything to another level.
That, of course, required more people but Mamais said they had no way of telling just how many. "We just knew we wanted to have cool cinematics and we knew that we were going to be at least as big as The Witcher 3. We ended up hiring a lot more people than what we needed for The Witcher because the fidelity and overall requirements of 2077 crept up on us", he said.
Speaking of fidelity, Cyberpunk 2077 will be using ray-tracing and Mamais said they started working on it about a year since it wasn't really a thing when they started the development.
"We use ray-tracing for emissive lights to make adverts and the neon lighting you see look amazing. We also use ray-traced ambient occlusion and ray-tracing for the skyline", he said.
Mamais said that CDPR is in the business of making top-notch, AAA and that it's their responsibility to keep pushing the envelope on how good a game can look.
"I think Cyberpunk is going to be a real showpiece in terms of tech. Especially as this generation of consoles is fading out. I think we're going to be that one last, big, exceptional looking title on this current generation of hardware", he concluded.