- Author: Daniel Downey
- Date: September 30, 2020
Cyberpunk 2077 was first announced in 2012, so it should come as a surprise to no one that a number of features and design choices have changed over the 8+ years CP2077 has been in development. Among these changes is the removal of the Techie class as a distinct build path. We’ll dive into why shortly, after a quick overview of what classes look like in Cyberpunk 2077.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking: there are no classes in Cyberpunk 2077! Well, that’s true; you may spec into any attribute you want at any point, and those attributes determine how high you can level your skills (via their use in-game). However, there are ultimately two main builds, or archetypes, available to the player, Solo and Netrunner. The Solo playstyle is up close and personal, with Body being the main attribute for the archetype. The Netrunner build, by contrast, focuses on combat at a distance, and the Hacking attribute, to overcome challenges.
What’s the Difference?
The different approaches that the Solo and Netrunner archetypes might take in a given situation are distinct and separate: a Solo player shoots and punches their way into a guarded compound, while the Netrunner hacks the security system and slips in through a window. So what would Techie do? The concept was that the Techie would use a the spiderbot Flathead and interact with hardware in order to progress through the game. Their focus would be on physical machinery (think engines, cables, and wiring) as opposed to the Netrunner’s focus on digital technology. In our guarded compound scenario, the Techie might use the spiderbot to eliminate the guards, or cut power to the security system by disabling its generator.
Why Techie Was Scrapped
The issue that came up with the Techie as an archetype was that it didn’t have a gameplay style that was notably different from the way a Netrunner would play. A lot of what the Netrunner does, from hacking to long range weaponry, is also done at a distance or involves using tech skills, and Techie also liked to work from afar. There did not seem to be a clear incentive to spec into one playstyle over the other, as they functioned the same way. Hacking into someone’s cyberware and using them to shoot their allies is visually distinct from using a spiderbot to shoot everyone, but in terms of gameplay they are essentially identical activities.
The attempt to create a clear difference between Techie and Netrunner also led to difficulties with level design. Originally, some of the devices in the game were accessible via Flathead (or perhaps other Techie skills), and some with Hacking and Netrunner skills. In a recent interview, Miles Tost discussed how it was difficult to create distinct challenges that could be solved either by a Techie or a Netrunner. He also mentioned the potential frustration or confusion the player might experience when trying to figure out why they could only interact with half of the devices present in a given area.
Netrunner: Master of Tech
Instead, Netrunner now embodies all of the manipulation-from-a-distance skills, and the result should be more fluid and intuitive for the player. If there’s a device in the game that you can interact with, a Netrunner should be able to put it to good use. Flathead will remain in the game, and should make an appearance in some quests and act as a unique game mechanic. Though the Techie class is no more, most of the technically-focused attributes and skills that were associated with it will most likely remain the game (as will the associated perks and skill checks). Crafting is another formerly Techie domain that will still be in Cyberpunk 2077 for players to utilize.
Leveling Up in Night City
We know that there is supposed to be a way to re-spec your character in Cyberpunk 2077; that means players wont have to worry about spending their experience points and then regretting their choices, and that it should be possible to try out both Solo and Netrunner builds in the same playthrough. Hybrid builds will also be a viable option for those of us who like to play a jack-of-all-trades. The importance of player freedom has been brought up numerous times by CDPR, and being able to level up your character any way you choose is a huge piece of choice and expression in any RPG.
Which archetype calls to you most? Will you play a hulking, sledgehammer wielding Solo, or will you stick to the shadows and hit your enemies in the software as a Netrunner? Let us know in the comments!