In Cyberpunk 2077, I like to think I'm actually a detective of sorts. Sure, I'm technically a gun for hire, working for fixers to build my street cred and pocket more Eurodollars. But isn't that the beauty of open-world RPGs? If you want to be something, well heck, you can be. Happily for me, too, there are plenty of memorable gigs out there that allow me feel like I'm a stealthy investigator venturing into the seedy underbelly of Night City to get my hands on some contraband, install some malware to halt dirty dealings, or occasionally take out a less than reputable individual committing nasty crimes. Maybe I'm not the most upstanding secret agent there ever was, but some of the gigs have let me live out this little fantasy in CD Projekt Red's take on the neon-tinted Cyberpunk world.
If I'm being real here, I guess I've always been looking for another detective experience that measures up to my all-time favorite: LA Noire. I'm not saying Cyberpunk 2077 holds a candle to Rockstar's '40s crime thriller in terms of putting me in the polished shoes of a bonafide detective – after all, Cyberpunk was never trying to be that kind of game – but in my heart of hearts, I hope the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty expansion might just fill that hole in my life, if even just a little bit.
While news recently confirmed we're set to learn more about it in June, we still don't know all that much about the DLC that will round out V's adventure. What we do know is that it promises to take us on an "impossible mission of espionage and survival" in a "spy-thriller" experience. And if doing gigs has left me with anything, it's that the words "espionage" and "spy" as descriptors are very exciting indeed.
The expansion will see us meet Solomon Reed, aka Idris Elba, in a new district in Night City named Dogtown. "Politicians, military 'runners, intelligence operatives… All the rotten fish in one fuckin' barrel, this Dogtown" - yep, Keanu— I mean, Johnny Silverhand, really sells this new locale in the lastest trailer. Sounds like there's a spot of corruption here (what else is new), with some big players in the mix. And with V pledging an oath to the NUSA in the first teaser, and Johnny lamenting our trust in people, I wonder just what role we'll have to play and who's side, if any, we're actually on in this new area.
Surely, though, that means there will be plenty to spy out, right? Of course, there's not a huge amount to go on beyond what's been teased, but with espionage at play, I want some stealthy missions, with the chance to do some infiltrating, intelligence gathering, and maybe even opportunities for sabotage not unlike we experience in some of the gigs in the core experience.
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Still, with my affinity for LA Noire, I would absolutely love to do some good old fashioned detective work, too. Searching for clues, questioning sources, visiting crime scenes, and getting some answers? It truly cannot be beat. We got a little taste of the private investigator's life during one of the story missions with NCPD's River Ward, and the setting of Night City – which is rife with crime – sets the perfect backdrop for that kind of work. But as a spy-thriller, I don't expect Phantom Liberty to follow suit, and I reckon it'll be far more action-oriented than all that. Still, I can't help wondering what we'll get up to and how we'll do it when it comes to the espionage aspect of the expansion.
It might be foolish to try and fill the void LA Noire left behind with Cyberpunk 2077 of all games, or to hinge my hopes so high on the expansion. But with Rockstar busy working on GTA 6, it's just as wild to imagine we'll see a sequel to LA Noire anytime soon (even if rumors are always circulating). Still, I can go on dreaming. In the meantime, though, I've been enjoying hanging up Cole's trilby hat to do some gigs in Night City that let me pretend I'm as close to Cyberpunk's equivalent of a PI. And the prospect of a story-driven spy-thriller with Elba will no doubt pull me right back into this fantasy in some way whenever it arrives.
The Phantom Liberty DLC is just one of many projects in the works from the studio. See what else in store with our guide to all of the upcoming CD Projekt Red games.