While Cyberpunk 2077 is in a much-better place than it was at launch, the game is obviously still missing some major previously planned features. Fans added some of those features into the game via mods, but the core game is still short of a ton of promised content. Interestingly, it sounds like the Phantom Liberty DLC will add some of those missing pieces back to the puzzle.
Leading up to Cyberpunk 2077‘s release, the game’s developers made a big deal about its police system. The plan was for Cyberpunk 2077 to feature a dynamic crime/police system that fit the themes of the game’s universe. On a very basic level, the idea was that the crimes you committed in Cyberpunk 2077 would all be judged based on how and where you commit them. So, if you kill someone in the middle of nowhere, you’d probably be fine. If you killed someone in the middle of a crowded downtown area, though, you’d essentially turn the area around you into a police warzone. From there, the cops were supposed to hunt you down.
The whole thing was supposed to be tied to a GTA-style wanted system that featured some narrative twists. For instance, police were even supposed to be able to take bribes and be influenced by the game’s various major players in different ways that could affect how they treated you. In fact, NPCs and police were even supposed to remember some previous crimes you committed, meaning that you could eventually earn a negative reputation that would be hard to shake.
As you can tell from the language I’m using, none of that came to be. Police are in Cyberpunk 2077, but their presence and actions in relation to your crimes are…odd. Police will come after you, but those occurrences sometimes feel surprisingly random. The game doesn’t keep track of your previous misdeeds via a simple “Wanted” system, and there isn’t even a clear connection between the crimes you commit and how police react to them.
While that was just one of the many features missing from Cyberpunk 2077 at launch, it quickly came to represent the many missing features in the game to some degree. The difference between the police system we were promised and the one we got would have been funny if it wasn’t so sad. In fact, Cyberpunk 2077 then-Quest Director Pawel Sasko tried to joke about the missing feature by saying that Elden Ring and Sonic’s open worlds also didn’t have police chases. Most fans who spent their hard-earned money on the game weren’t laughing.
However, it seems that Phantom Liberty might feature something closer to Cyberpunk 2077‘s intended police system. According to Windows Central’s preview of Phantom Liberty, the DLC will revamp Cyberpunk 2077‘s crime mechanics to incorporate a GTA-like wanted system. If you commit a crime in a particularly crowded area, police will come to investigate it. Stick around, and you will be caught. Leave the scene, and you might get away.
If, however, you decided to commit many crimes in a short period of time, then you will really be in trouble. According to GameSpot, your wanted level will slowly rise for each noticed crime you commit when the police are aware of your activities. They will even eventually summon the MaxTac: a kind of specialized military unit that will relentlessly pursue you until you are dead. The Phantom Liberty team reportedly also said that the police will eventually send boss-like characters after you if you really go on a rampage, but the details of that feature remain unknown at this time.
Mind you, it doesn’t sound like you’ll be incentivized to go on a crime spree. While there might be an achievement for getting your notoriety level high enough, this is a system of consequences rather than one of rewards. There’s also no word on whether you’ll be able to “lose your wanted level” (to borrow a GTA term), but it seems like you’re going to have a hard time shaking the law once they’re on your trail.
Interestingly enough, this is just one of many missing Cyberpunk 2077 features that will seemingly be added to the Phantom Liberty DLC. Based on previews, the DLC will also include enhanced car combat, improved melee combat options, expanded character build possibilities, and even a mechanic that makes your cybernetic implants eventually drive you insane (which you can currently only access in the game via mods). It’s just that the police/crime system was one of Cyberpunk 2077‘s most egregious missing features at launch, and Phantom Liberty seems set to address that shortcoming.
The very good news is that the Cyberpunk 2077 team has now confirmed that the new police system and other core system changes/updates will be made available to everyone. It’s not clear when or how those free updates will roll out, but the plan is to make some of them available to everyone in some way at some time.
However, we also know that some of the content in the DLC will be exclusive to those who purchase the DLC (which will reportedly cost $30). Most notably, everything that happens in Phantom Liberty‘s Dog Town district will be limited to those who purchase the DLC. Frustratingly, we’re not sure exactly which DLC updates existing Cyberpunk 2077 owners can expect to receive for free. For instance, Pawel Sasko (now the game’s Creative Director) told VGC that, “some of the cars from the base game will be updated and weaponized,” but we don’t know which ones. Furthermore, some of the skill tree additions related to the DLC (such as the “Relic” trees) will be limited to the DLC for story reasons. Again, it seems like the idea is to update the base game with things that will improve or impact the base game, but we’re still waiting on more information on exactly how substantial that base game update will be.
In short, it’s going to be very interesting to see what the divide between the DLC and the base game ends up looking like. It seems like current Cyberpunk 2077 owners won’t be left in the cold, but it also sounds like the team is really going to incentivize you to purchase the DLC in order to get a more substantial content update. The question is, “Are you ready to give Cyberpunk 2077 more of your money?”