PAX Aus 2019 – Cyberpunk 2077 Interview with John Mamais

At PAX Aus 2019, we had the opportunity to interview John Mamais, the head of the CD Projekt Red studio in Krakow, Poland. Read further as we got to ask John some questions about Cyberpunk 2077.

So John, tell us about yourself and what you do!

I’m the head of the CD Projekt Red house studio, basically in the Krakow studio. There’s two studios in Poland currently working on Cyberpunk. Warsaw has 300 plus people; there’s a lot more people working there, and then we have 100 plus in Krakow working on the game. So my job was to basically manage the studio at Krakow, grill it, manage it, and managing production there as well.


So for those who weren’t at PAX Australia this year, can you tell us what was on display for Cyberpunk 2077?

Yeah, there’s a booth that’s in the Microsoft section that we’re taking part taking part of with our publisher, Bandai Namco. We’ve got some cosplayers there and then we’ve got a gameplay trailer running that is about 15 minutes. There’s also a 45 minute gameplay video being shown, called Deep Dive, which is based in some part of the game. A lot of people have been seeing that.


What is something you’re expecting to see from gamers once they’ve played Cyberpunk 2077 for the first time?

We hope that they get so pulled into the universe that we don’t hear from them for a while. Like, as in getting really sucked into the universe. It’s a single player game and it’s a long game so you should “jack-in” metaphorically speaking. After a couple of more days from now when you come out, you should be amazed. I’m so sure.

Can you tell us more about the character abilities inside Cyberpunk 2077?

It’s an RPG. There is a set like list of attributes that you build up in the game and there’s also a set of skills attached to those attributes. That’s essentially how you’re building your character. You gain experience and then with those experience points you can level up your attributes. And then, you can also get perks along the way, which you can use to level up your skills. There’s a lot of different ways you can play. So you can be a stealthy character or you can be like a solo kind of running gun type character. You could also be like a hacking kind of net runner type or you can even combine them.

The essence of what we’re trying to achieve is a kind of fluid class system in the game. You don’t just pick one class, you kind of mix and match and depending on how you like to play, that’s where you put most of your points.


So since E3, the big talking point was of Keanu Reeves and that he was going to be in the game. What part does he play in Cyberpunk 2077?

It’s kind of spoilerish to talk about it in detail, but he’s in there. He’s in essence, going to be with you in some way throughout the entire game. He is a major character throughout the entire game. But you’ll have to wait and see what his role actually is.

What was it like to work with Keanu Reeves on Cyberpunk 2077?

I didn’t get to work with him directly, but a lot of the guys that I work with have worked with him. And what they say is what you hear about Keanu, that he is genuinely a really cool and nice guy, and that’s what they’re saying about him as well. He’s a pro, so he’s like really a fun to work with in terms of his professionalism. He’s helping us as much as we’re working and using his talent for the game. So it’s a nice working relationship.


So in terms of your excitement for Cyberpunk 2077, what is the most exciting thing for players who don’t know anything about the game that you would want to tell them?

That’s a good question! It’s hard to know what gamers expect. I think since it’s us making the Cyberpunk game, I think what you can be excited about is that it’s going to be the really strong RPG in a really awesome story. So if that’s the kind of thing you’re after and you’re into single player RPGs with strong story, I think this is your cup of tea. So hopefully we’ll deliver that in space.

Thanks John for the interview! Let us know about you’ve seen and what you think of Cyberpunk 2077. The game is set to release on 16 April 2020.