Cyberpunk 2077 is still a long way off - that E3 demo wasn't even from an alpha version

A holographic model from Cyberpunk 2077.

If Cyberpunk 2077 was far enough along to show a 50-minute chunk of the game at E3 2018, it must be pretty close to done, right? Uh… no. Probably not. The part of Cyberpunk 2077 that CD Projekt Red showed off shouldn't even be considered an alpha version, according to parent company CD Projekt, and that's yet another sign the game has quite a while longer to go. VG24/7 spotted a new interview with the company on Polish business site Bankier, taken from a Warsaw showing of the same behind-closed-doors demo that impressed us and many others at E3 2018.

When Bankier asked CD Projekt president Adam Kiciński if the demo could be considered "alpha" gameplay, he responded, via Google Translate: "No, earlier… Therefore, we're showing the game behind closed doors - this is not the final quality yet." I always take automated translations with a grain of salt, but in this case the message is simple enough that it's workable. And it's not unexpected, given everything else the developers have said about taking their time with this game.

"This is the most polished part of the game we have now, prepared in some sense to show it to people outside the company," CFO Piotr Nielubowicz added at the same event.

Now, what does it actually mean for a game to be pre-alpha? Terms like alpha and beta have been used in game development and the broader software industry for a long time, and their meaning has shifted some with decades of use. Broadly speaking, beta denotes a project that has all of the important features of the final version in place and is ready for extensive testing and tweaking. Alpha means a project that doesn't have all of those features yet, but is nonetheless ready for more limited testing.

It's possible that the game itself is now in alpha, as work on the broader project likely continued while the demo build was split off. But even if that is the case, it wouldn't have been in alpha for very long, and there are likely still several years to go. That's something Cyberpunk tabletop RPG creator Mike Pondsmith also alluded to in an E3 interview with YouTuber YongYea.

"I waited 30 years to get this, it was worth it," Pondsmith said. "You guys can wait a few more years. It will be worth it."

We know one other thing for sure about that Cyberpunk 2077 demo: the high-end PC specs it took to run it. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.