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Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty's scariest quest was designed to make you feel like a hobbit having a really bad time

This isn't what first came to mind when I played it, but fair play CD Projekt, I see the vision.

Solomon Reed in Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty.
Image credit: VG247/CD Projekt

Warning: Major Spoilers for Cyberpunk 2077's Phantom Liberty expansion lie ahead.

If you've played through Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty - I'd can defintely reccomend it if you haven't - and chosen to side with the Idris Elba-portrayed Solomon Reed, there's one mission in particular that's probably ended up burned into your brain. It sees you have to run from a giant robat that can pretty much kill you on sight, and as it turns out, one of its major inspirations was Frodo Baggins having just the worst day ever. Yes, that Frodo Baggins, the dude from The Lord of the Rings. Your cybernatically-enhanced super-mercernary, with their guns, katana, and/or mantis blades, was basically playing the part of a pint-sized, but courageous fellow from The Shire. You know what, I see it.
Speaking to IGN at GDC, Paweł Sasko, who served as quest director on the original Cyberpunk and is now working on its sequel as associate game director, touched on the quests inspirations while discussing CD Projekt's general mission design philosophy. Basically, the studio likes to establish a certain theme or genre it wants to mirror of play off with specific stories or sequences, in order to craft ideas that're easy to convey to a team. For example, with that Phantom Liberty quest, dubbed 'Somewhat Damaged', Sasko said: "Entering the Bunker was like entering the [lair] of a monster," with the scene that introduces the killer robot - Cebrerus - taking inspiration from a bit in LOTR that's designed to evoke the same kinds of emotions. "It kind of bears resemblance to the moment when Shelob appears in The Lord of the Rings, when she hangs over you, this looming sort of a shadow," the developer explained. You can certainly see how communicating aspects of the vision like that, in the same way that the expansion's main story as a whole was pitched as Cyberpunk, but through the lens of spy fiction. "This is what we started doing," Sasko explained, "because when you define a genre theme and those guiding principles for your content, it's so much easier to guide your designers about what they're supposed to do." Giant spidery thing menacing a vertically-challenged lad in a movie, terrifying bot stopping you from reaching Songbird as she gets close to blue screening, just two things in a different hat. So, there you go. While there might well be more Lord or the Rings allusions in its future works, CDPR's chief financial officer has recently said that it probably won't be adding microtransactions to its single player titles any time soon.

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