Where Are All the People? Cyberpunk 2077’s Crowd AI

Did you see the latest graphics showcase of Cyberpunk 2077? It’s absolutely gorgeous, we highly recommend you check it out.
On that topic, the appearance of Watson’s streets might have shot through the roof (ray tracing for the game is just breathtaking), but…

Where Are All the People?

Cyberpunk 2077 With Rtx Ray Tracing On Night City

Indeed, compared to the 2018 Demo scene we posted in our discussion of the showcase (link is above), the new Watson looks relatively quiet for a massively populated futuristic city.

Did CD Projekt Red do away with impressively dense crowds?

Well, as the developers have assured us many times throughout, they haven’t. Players of Cyberpunk 2077 will get their chance to be completely lost in a crowd many times throughout the experience. That will come with diverse and unique NPC routines and many interesting street encounters and scenes.

The latter is precisely the cause of why dense crowds aren’t present on the screenshot above. Most likely, the scene is unfolding right in the middle of the night.

Cyberpunk 2077‘s Crowds Are Responsive and Dynamic

Cyberpunk 2077‘s crowds will respond to the time of the day, occurring events (basically, people won’t be out if there isn’t much going on), danger level, and even weather. As Philipp Weber said in his Russian community interview, CD Projekt Red wants to have crowds “wherever it makes sense” instead of just overpopulating every corner of Night City.

Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Crowd Density Crowd Reactions

So, expect there to be less people roaming streets in the middle of the night, even if it’s Watson we are talking about. Also, if it’s an unpleasant day: consider storms, fog, rain… or even acid rain in the desolate Badlands — not the best weather for an evening out! Likewise, don’t expect casual crowds of people if you are taking a stroll through Pacifica or another highly dangerous district. (You probably won’t be enjoying your own walk in peace for long, if you do that…)

As far as we understand, NPCs and crowds will have realistic reactions to you doing shocking things in the middle of the day. You can’t go full GTA (that is, impulsively violent) on the peaceful crowd or committing a crime in public. Civilians will run away, police might start chasing you (there is a powerful bounty system in place), and some gangs will be unhappy with your behavior and might start attacking you.

In other words, the crowd won’t be there just for show. You might get completely lost among sheer numbers of people, but that situation would make sense for the location and time of the day. Also, citizens and gang members won’t treat you as an invisible entity should you decide to do something crazy.


Little P.S.:

Philipp also left us with an interesting implication. Apparently, crowds will care about ongoing events and there is a particular place in the story where their presence will play an important role… hm…

I don’t know about you, but a peculiar scene with Johnny Silverhand’s performance from Night City Wire: Episode 2 with him pulling out a gun in front of the crowd of his fans comes to mind.

Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire 2 Johnny Silverhand Points Gun At Crowd


What are your thoughts on the crowd and minor NPC AI in the game?
What do you hope to see to make your gaming experience even more immersive?

Let us know in the comments!

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Mila Grish
Mila Grish

Dedicated contributor at EIP Gaming and a part-time collector of books she will never have time to actually read. Jumps on the newest releases just as quickly as on the uncovered dusty collections from the basement. For her, shiny graphics can never be an excuse to not have a polished player experience or an immersive story.

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