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Everything Cyberpunk 2077 Gets Wrong About Subways, According To Experts

Night City, the expansive setting of Cyberpunk 2077, has plenty of ways for players to get around. Walking, driving, and even fast-traveling are all feasible options, and the game’s fast-travel stations are even built into the environment of Night City. Some are designed as metro stations or other areas of public transportation, though according to experts on the subject, these designs don’t line up with Cyberpunk 2077‘s attempt at portraying the future and don’t even make for effective transit stations. There’s a lot of work to be done in order to realistically improve Night City’s subway systems.

Of course, Night City’s public transportation isn’t the only aspect of the game that leaves more to be desired. There are, unfortunately, plenty of areas in which Cyberpunk 2077 falls short of design expectations. The game’s launch in late 2020 was one of the most notorious in recent history, comparable to that of No Man’s Sky in 2016. Cyberpunk 2077 was riddled with bugs upon release and failed to run properly on most consoles even after months of crunch from developers at CD Projekt Red. As of mid-2022, the game is mostly complete and far more functional, though many players still hope that additional DLC will continue to improve some of the more lackluster areas of Cyberpunk 2077. One such area is the game’s buses and subways, which, in their current state, serve as little more than decoration rather than a viable method of transportation like trucks and cars in Cyberpunk 2077.

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Unfortunately, Night City’s subway stations don’t seem to be on the roster any time soon in terms of getting improvements. Rumors were circulating as of early 2022 regarding a potential metro update, one that would restore the game’s cut transit system to full functionality. These rumors were dispelled by a team member from CD Projekt Red shortly thereafter, making it equally unlikely that Cyberpunk 2077‘s current subway stations – which only exist as set pieces for fast-travel kiosks – will ever be updated. That hasn’t stopped people from weighing in on how to improve Cyberpunk 2077 and its transportation methods. Kotaku recently posted transcripts of an interview with Jerome Horne, director of transit leadership development at TransitCenter, who revealed exactly where Cyberpunk 2077‘s subway systems have failed.

For starters, Night City’s transport stations aren’t multimodal. For a city to have an effective transit system, Horne makes a point of stating that it should encompass various forms of transportation. This includes things like bicycles and trolleys. While these don’t strictly seem to exist in the futuristic world of Cyberpunk 2077, there notably aren’t any equivalent systems featured in any of Night City’s subway stations. The designs indicate that Cyberpunk 2077‘s NCART, Night City Area Rapid Transit, is entirely built around buses and subways and virtually nothing else. Given that the design of Night City was one of the more praised aspects of Cyberpunk 2077, this feels like something of a let-down.

There could easily be a futuristic bike exchange going on in Cyberpunk 2077, maybe using motorcycles instead of bicycles, but it’s simply one more detail that slipped through the cracks. As a result, it would realistically be difficult for any citizens of Night City to actually fully rely on public transportation. The fewer options are available, the harder it is to reach specific places, especially when one mode of transit fails such as subway delays, traffic incidents or vehicle crashes in Cyberpunk 2077. According to Horne, the issues that face the construction and upkeep of public transportation were an issue a century ago and will continue to be issues long into the future. A realistically-designed transit system would feature ways to work around these issues, even in a video game like Cyberpunk 2077.

Secondly, a good transit system, according to Horne, should cover most of the city. Stations shouldn’t be situated more than about a quarter-mile apart, making transport between stations easy for those who don’t own cars. Given that driving is such a key gameplay mechanic, it was unlikely that its subway stations would ever have been packed together that closely on Cyberpunk 2077′s large map. However, if designers had opted to do so, it would have given players who dislike driving in video games another option for getting around Night City. In its current state, however, actually living in the world of Cyberpunk 2077 wouldn’t be feasible for those who depend on the subway to get around.

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There are over 100 fast-travel spots in Cyberpunk 2077. However, only a dozen or so of them are located at transit stations. For a city as large as Night City, both in terms of sheer size and population, the coverage doesn’t meet Horne’s standards. While more tightly-packed areas of Night City might see a reasonable distance between subway stations, others at the edges of the game’s map are spread out so far that walking between them takes too long to make it worthwhile. This is especially true for players who want to level up fast in Cyberpunk 2077, and therefore have to prioritize getting between quests quickly.

Horne also notes that the ideal public transportation would be entirely free to ride, something that clearly isn’t the case for Night City. In Cyberpunk 2077, subway stations generally include obvious fare gates for NPCs. That said, Cyberpunk 2077‘s protagonist V can get through entirely for free, though that seems to be an attempt to make things simple for players rather than an effort at world building. One positive aspect of the NCART, according to Horne, is also the fact that subways are instantaneous with no wait between them. However, this also seems to be a case of simplifying game mechanics rather than attempting to design an effective subway system in Cyberpunk 2077.

Given that making genuine subway rides a part of the gameplay experience isn’t a point of focus for CD Projekt Red, improving the world’s transit infrastructure isn’t a high priority, either. There are, at least, mods that add public transportation to Cyberpunk 2077. Even then, Night City’s disappointing lack of appropriate accommodations for users of public transportation remain unresolved. According to Horne, the lack of focus Cyberpunk 2077‘s subway systems received is indicative of the state of public transport in the United States. In terms of hitting all the recommended guidelines, not a single city in America manages to check every box. Cyberpunk 2077, though grounded heavily in the cyberpunk genre as a whole, still takes cues from reality. Evidently, the future Night City’s developers imagined is one in which subway systems still have a long ways to go.

Next: Cyberpunk 2077 Thrives On Its Most Underrated Feature

Source: Kotaku

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