Why is Cyberpunk 2077’s metro so slow? An investigation

CD Projekt Purple fulfilled a five-year promise final week when it added a totally practical metro system to Cyberpunk 2077. Whereas the characteristic does wonders to make Evening Metropolis really feel extra alive, I used to be stunned to be taught simply how little California’s public transportation infrastructure has improved within the sport’s alternate-reality future.

Cyberpunk 2077 now consists of 5 Evening Metropolis Space Fast Transit (NCART) rail traces servicing 19 stations. Each cease nonetheless capabilities as a quick journey level, however gamers can even use them to hop onto the subway and relocate, in actual time, to different components of town. As motion is restricted whereas on the practice, this is a largely visible expertise, offering of us with a brand new perspective on the sprawling mega-city in addition to restricted alternatives to talk with their fellow riders.

Throughout one journey, I seen a display indicating the practice’s velocity was persistently hovering round 43 mph, which felt awfully gradual for futuristic transportation. The common speeds of modern-day heavy-rail programs in the US vary from the excessive teenagers to the mid-30s, however they’re able to reaching a lot greater maximums. And that’s not even accounting for extra developed public transportation in Japan and China, whose magnetic levitation (maglev) bullet trains zoom by way of main cities at a whole lot of miles per hour.

What the heck.
Picture: CD Projekt Purple

This matches with what the primary Cyberpunk rulebook needed to say about then-future transportation in 1988:

Shock, shock. Opposite to expectations, the 12 months 2000 has not yielded any staggering new developments in transportation. Years of financial strife and civil unrest have discouraged analysis into new methods to journey—in actual fact, the very act of journey has grow to be very restricted. Count on the world of 2013 to be very like the twentieth century—a community of crowded freeways, packed trains, and swarming airports.

A subsequent enlargement, Welcome to Evening Metropolis, signifies light-rail maglev trains with floor speeds of 200 mph existed within the eponymous metropolis way back to 2013, the 12 months the primary Cyberpunk adventures have been set. Each ebook since makes some point out maglev trains as a staple of Evening Metropolis journey, and 2005’s Cyberpunk V3.0 even famous an enchancment of their prime velocity to 300 mph regardless of the obvious destruction of the intercontinental maglev line through the Fourth Company Battle (which passed off from 2021 to 2025 in-universe) between the world’s ruling megacorps.

(And simply to cowl my ass, 1990’s up to date Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook makes it clear that NCART and the light-rail maglev trains are one and the identical.)

It’s right here that Cyberpunk 2077 does one thing intelligent by increasing the results of this battle. Moderately than solely placing rail journey between continents in flux, the sport describes the Fourth Company Battle as debilitating the whole maglev system, as defined by the next database entry:

Maglev trains cruised at excessive speeds by way of tunnels and on the floor because of the arrival of electrodynamic suspension know-how, permitting quick and comfy journey from Evening Metropolis to different cities, together with Kansas Metropolis, St. Louis, Atlanta and Washington D.C. Sadly, this new period of transportation didn’t final lengthy. The social unrest and armed battle of the 4th Company Battle introduced with it an financial disaster that quickly crippled the whole system. Presently inoperational, the deserted Maglev tunnels are utilized by the homeless and varied gangs.

The destruction of the maglev system and the gradual NCART speeds exhibited in-game lead me to imagine the native authorities was pressured to revert to pre-2013 tech to make sure NCART remained operational, a large downgrade from the bullet trains that after transported residents by way of Evening Metropolis and past.

Various futuristic passengers wait patiently in a subway train.

Hurry up and wait.
Picture: CD Projekt Purple

Whereas researching this example, I couldn’t assist however see darkly hilarious parallels between the difficulties dealing with the fictional California depicted in Cyberpunk 2077 and the precise state wherein I dwell.

Regardless of being one of many largest (each by way of land and inhabitants) and richest states within the union, California has lengthy struggled with plans to construct public transportation on par with the bullet trains of japanese Asia. Lots of that is due to politics, as even ostensibly supportive legislators are cautious of spending the billions of {dollars} vital to finish the venture. And let’s face it: Individuals are simply approach too dedicated to their automobiles.

All that stated, there’s one quite simple rationalization for Evening Metropolis metro’s comparatively low velocity: The builders didn’t need NCART rides to occur within the blink of an eye fixed. What good would the long-awaited subway expertise be if gamers didn’t truly, you already know, expertise it?

A visit taken at 300 mph wouldn’t present any time to folks watch Evening Metropolis’s eccentric residents or take within the view of skyscrapers surrounding the bay exterior the practice’s home windows. The whole level of the subway system — and a giant a part of why of us clamored for its inclusion all these years — is to provide gamers new alternatives to role-play and expertise the visible splendor of Cyberpunk 2077’s setting and its over-the-top aesthetics.

I discover it exhausting to fault CD Projekt Purple for taking part in a bit free with established Cyberpunk historical past if it makes for a greater sport ultimately.

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