Welcome to the future. As 2077’s ‘worst place to live in America’, Night City doesn’t have a lot to tout on its tourism manifesto. Overrun by corps, corruption, crime and cruelty, this imaginary dystopian metropolis isn’t too far-flung from the retro-futuristic world of Bladerunner and classic sci-fi novels from authors like Philip K. Dick. Fictional it may be, but traverse Night City in-game and you’ll quickly uncover its peculiar and intoxicating LA/San Francisco hybrid.
Within this teeming city of wrongdoing, the future is yours for the taking – along with an icon from the past. A classic Porsche 911 Turbo is your ride of choice, as the only branded and playable in-game car. Unlock the achievement, and you’ll be at the helm of the vehicle owned by Johnny Silverhand, a legendary rock star in the game. Even 100 years after entering the car scene – in Cyberpunk 2077 world, of course – the 911 continues its reign of cool.
As one of the integral creative minds behind this car, and the rest of Cyberpunk 2077’s fleet, its senior vehicle artist, Jakub Przybolewski – who works at the Warsaw-based studio, CD PROJEKT RED, who made it – unravels the process involved in concepting and designing the vehicles scattered throughout the game.
What was the inspiration for the Porsche designs in the game?
“Very early on in the Porsche design process, we knew that the ultra-futuristic look wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted to avoid going too far into sci-fi aesthetics and ensure vehicles in Night City felt like they belonged there. We looked at car designs from the 1980s and 1990s, as cars manufactured during that time had a very minimalist look – doing so much without overdoing anything. They’re simple, easy to recognise, and carry a timeless look. For the world of 2077, this was a perfect place to start.”
How was the game’s striking aesthetic reflected in the Porsche design for Cyberpunk 2077?
“We created four art styles which related to different eras of Night City’s past and present. Kitsch is colourful, plastic-heavy, and has a focus on catching attention. Entropism reflects a period where manufacturing materials were in short supply, items were designed out of necessity, and there was no room for style. Neomilitarism is sleek and minimalist, blending high-end megacorporation design with military precision and functionality. Neokitsch defines the ultra-rich. It’s luxurious, more high-quality in style when compared to Kitsch, but maintains its bright and braggadocious nature. This allowed us to focus on design philosophies for what cars would look like, how they might drive, and where they would be found within the city itself. This helped to hone certain directions, but equally influential was our shared vision of what a car made in this alternate future should look like.”
There are few cars as iconic as the Porsche 911 Turbo, with its timeless silhouette, eye-catching spoiler, and wide body – and the model from 1977 is a true legend
What was it about the 930 Turbo that made it the perfect fit for Johnny Silverhand’s character?
“With Johnny Silverhand’s powerful Rockerboy personality, we knew he needed to have a car that, when you looked at it, you thought, “Oh, of course that’s Johnny’s car!”. It didn’t take us long to pick out this model. Johnny’s a throwback in the world of 2077. He’s from a different era, has an alternative outlook, and is an icon in his own right. There are few cars as iconic as the Porsche 911 Turbo, with its timeless silhouette, eye-catching spoiler, and wide body – and the model from 1977 is a true legend. Johnny and the 911 Turbo feel like an unbeatable team. He’s a one-of-a-kind entity, and his car – which maintains its original look, but with modifications suited to 2077 – fits him like a glove.”
How did you make the cars look, feel and sound so realistic?
“Our main goal was to make every individual car feel unique, and like they truly belonged in Night City. For instance, cars that are from the Entropism era might deliberately be less responsive when it comes to handling when compared to the high-end supercars of Neokitsch. Each car had to have a functional engine, suspension, door opening mechanisms and so on. We could then look at each model and think about what its character should be. The aim was for players to be able to recognise cars from different eras and manufacturers, as well as develop a taste for the types they favoured. You might fall in love with the look and near-unpredictable feel of the Mai Mai, or only ever drive the higher-end vehicles that handle like a dream. We also used real-world car design to inform different aspects, like our audio team capturing as many possible unique sounds from cars of today. All that attention to detail allowed our imagination and creativity to bolster the research and legwork – and vice versa – providing us with something very distinct, yet very cohesive and believable.”
When did you first fall in love with car design?
“Cars have always been my passion – they represent freedom and unlimited possibilities. Cars drive change, take us to new places, and allow us to discover something new. Creating game vehicles is a chance for me to take that passion further. In the real world, you have to contend with many limitations, but within a virtual one we are free from the confines of reality and can make wilder ideas work, both visually as well as mechanically.”
Has creating these cars fulfilled a life ambition?
“Cyberpunk 2077 has been the most ambitious project of my career so far. What we’ve done with Porsche design in the game, and through our recreation the 911 Turbo, is something I’m very proud of. There’s a definite balance between letting your creativity go too far and being too rigid with what ‘should work’. Our ability to find that balance and fill Night City with so many different and unique-looking cars is a direct result of that.”