We’re used to seeing next-gen console upgrades that improve visual fidelity or framerates, but it’s so far been rare to see next-gen only features that centre around AI. However, one update to Cyberpunk 2077’s NPCs was deemed too demanding to bring to PS4 and Xbox One.
Cyberpunk 2077’s latest 1.5 patch came with many, many changes for all available platforms – but one next-gen only feature caught the eye. Covered in yesterday’s Cyberpunk announcement stream, CD Projekt Red announced that the game’s crowd reactions had been improved, both for pedestrians and vehicles.
The changes mean that crowds in the game will now react more realistically to your aggressive actions, with NPCs fighting back, running away, or even fighting each other. “It brings up a bit more reactivity and life to the city,” said quest director Paweł Sasko. “The fact that some of the people are actually armed, and they may decide to attack you at the moment when you threaten them in some ways.” In cars, similar reactions can take place, with what the team calls “panic driving”.
The drawback here is that the change could seemingly only be made on PS5, Xbox Series X, PC, and Stadia – with PS4 and Xbox One versions seemingly retaining the original AI.
Speaking to IGN, CD Projekt Red global PR director Radek Grabowski explained that decision, effectively saying that the update to AI was too demanding for the older hardware:
“I can say that with the changes and additions being made via updates to Cyberpunk 2077’s core, the game, which was already technically complex, is becoming more and more so. This growing complexity requires more resources — such as faster internal storage, or more memory of which there is typically a finite amount on consoles. With this in mind, we’ve made the decision to introduce some features only in the next-gen versions when it comes to consoles, in order to keep targeting the delivery of the most optimal and stable gameplay experience on base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hardware.”
Before the release of new-gen consoles, we heard many developers discuss how increased power wouldn’t just assist with better visuals or loading times, but more complex AI interactions. However, with many games still being released as cross-generation titles, we’ve so far not seen the full effect of that.
There are some examples aside from Cyberpunk: NBA 2K21 touted its next-gen only AI, and the developers of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora previously told us that it could not have come to last-gen, in part because of enemy and creature AI.
It will be fascinating to see where Cyberpunk goes from here. While we know that much of the team is working on an expansion rather than the core game, there will almost certainly be further tweaks and improvements. Whether those arrive on all platforms will be a point of great interest.
Source: IGN Video Games All