If you‘ve been wondering "Is Cyberpunk 2077‘s DLC free or paid?", I have the answer for you upfront:
Cyberpunk 2077‘s upcoming Phantom Liberty expansion will be paid DLC, marking the first non-free additional content for the game.
Now let‘s dive deeper into the details on Phantom Liberty, the future of Cyberpunk 2077, and whether you should play the base game now or wait for the expansion. As a games industry analyst and avid RPG fan, I‘ve been following Cyberpunk 2077 closely since its problematic launch. And based on CD Projekt Red‘s redemption arc over the past two years, I‘m optimistic Phantom Liberty can deliver a satisfying epilogue for players‘ time in Night City.
Revisiting Cyberpunk 2077‘s Rocky Beginnings
To appreciate how far Cyberpunk 2077 has come, it‘s worth looking back at how it all began. The hype train leading up to Cyberpunk 2077‘s release rivaled any game in recent memory. CD Projekt Red‘s open-world magnum opus The Witcher 3 showed what the studio could do with deep RPG storytelling and worldbuilding. Applying that pedigree to the beloved Cyberpunk pen and paper setting spawned sky-high expectations.
But as we all know now, things didn‘t go to plan:
- Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed 3 times from its original April 2020 launch window
- When it finally released in December 2020, the game was riddled with glitches and performance issues
- Especially disappointing was the nearly unplayable state on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
- Review process controversies, Sony pulling the PS4 version from their store – the launch was a PR nightmare
It was a rocky start, to put it mildly. But with excellent writing, quests and production values, the framework of something special still peeked through once you looked past the technical shortcomings.
Fast forward to today, and Cyberpunk 2077‘s redemption arc has seen the game reclaimed as a flawed but genuine RPG achievement:
- 15+ patches and hotfixes to fix bugs and optimize performance
- Quality of life refinements like improved driving and UI
- Strong next-gen experience on PS5/Xbox Series X/S
- Restored cut content like vehicle customization
- Free DLC drops like new apartments, weapons, clothing etc
There‘s still more work to be done. But as someone who has played and enjoyed Cyberpunk 2077 in its current form, the difference from launch state is night and day. Time will tell whether Phantom Liberty can stick the landing, but CDPR seems intent on nailing the base experience first before exciting fans with new stories to tell.
What Do We Know About Phantom Liberty‘s Story and Setting?
Let‘s dive into the key details revealed so far about Cyberpunk 2077‘s sole story expansion:
You‘ll Investigate Conspiracies as a Government Spy
Phantom Liberty has been described as a "spy-thriller expansion." The cinematic teaser trailer shows protagonist V teaming up with new character Solomon Reed, an agent for the New United States of America. Together, they appear to be investigating a shadowy faction plotting against the NUSA government.
As a fan of cyberpunk fiction and conspiracy tales, I‘m intrigued by CDPR taking the story in this direction. The expansion presents an opportunity to flesh out one of the many cryptic factions vying for control in Cyberpunk‘s dystopian future setting.
An Entirely New District of Night City to Uncover
While V‘s adventure will still take place in and around Night City, Phantom Liberty will introduce an entirely new district to explore. Previous Cyberpunk 2077 DLC has added new apartments, weapons, and character customization options.
But this will be the first time substantially expanding the actual city itself. As someone who loves urban open world settings, I hope the new district feels as lively, vibrant, and dense as the rest of Night City. More slice of dystopian life to inhale across another 10+ hours would be most welcome!
You‘ll Still Play as V – But Will It Acknowledge Multiple Endings?
CDPR confirmed you will continue your journey as the customizable mercenary V in Phantom Liberty. However, it remains to be seen how the expansion will account for Cyberpunk 2077‘s vastly different endings.
By completing certain side quests, V can potentially live on with the Relic chip removed, go off with the Aldecaldos nomads, let Johnny Silverhand take over their body, or simply die from the chip‘s deterioration.
How will Phantom Liberty handle this variance? I suspect the DLC may establish one ending as officially canon. More intriguingly, it could be set earlier in the main story before V‘s fate is sealed. I‘m excited to have more time with V and Night City, while the multiple endings provide plenty of lore avenue‘s for CDPR‘s Cyberpunk 2077 sequel.
Why Cyberpunk 2077 is Only Getting One Major Expansion
With Night City seeming ripe for numerous expansions, why is CDPR stopping at just Phantom Liberty? According to the developers, keeping future content focused allows resources to be devoted to:
- Cyberpunk 2077‘s standalone multiplayer mode – Still early in development but will be a big project
- Cyberpunk 2077‘s sequel – CDPR wants to regularly release new Cyberpunk games and evolve the franchise
- Other upcoming projects like the new Witcher trilogy, teasers for which should start emerging over the next year
Rather than get bogged down supporting an endless parade of old content, the decision makes sense from a project management perspective. And CDPR has shown with The Witcher 3‘s Blood and Wine expansion they can deliver a 30+ hour send-off DLC.
Personally, I‘m sad we likely won‘t see more Night City stories focused on side characters like River Ward or Judy Alvarez. But I have faith in CDPR‘s proven DLC pedigree to make Phantom Liberty feel like a proper epilogue for V‘s troubled journey across the neon-lit expanse of Night City.
Estimated Length and Content of Phantom Liberty
As CDPR‘s biggest DLC project to date, anticipation is sky-high for what Phantom Liberty has in store. According to the developers, it has a larger budget than any of their previous expansions.
To provide satisfying value as a paid DLC, expert estimates expect Phantom Liberty will offer 15-20+ hours of gameplay. Here are more projected details on the expansion‘s size and content:
|Phantom Liberty Estimates||Detail|
|Length||Around 16+ main story hours, potentially 20-30+ hours for completionists.|
|New Quests||Around 10-15 new main jobs, plus plenty of side content|
|New Characters||5-10 important characters, plus ancillary NPCs|
|New Weapons/Clothing||At least 5 new weapons and 10+ new clothing/styles|
|New District Size||Estimated around 20-30% of original Night City‘s scale|
For comparison, The Witcher 3‘s exceptional Blood and Wine expansion added over 90 new quests and a huge new region. If Phantom Liberty can match or exceed that benchmark, we should be in for a real treat!
Should You Play Cyberpunk 2077 Now or Wait for the DLC?
For new players yet to experience Night City for themselves, should you play Cyberpunk 2077 now or wait for the Phantom Liberty expansion? Here are some pros and cons to help decide:
Play It Now
- Experience the full story at your own pace, without worrying about spoilers down the line
- Take your time really exploring Night City, unlocking skills, and customizing V
- Current version of the game still provides a solid 60+ hour RPG adventure
- Chance to complete multiple playthroughs and endings before the DLC
Wait for the Expansion
- Play the definitive version of Cyberpunk 2077 with improvements and extra content
- Avoid some remaining rough edges or bugs that get further patched
- DLC will likely integrate into main story better playing for first time
- You may get next-gen PS5/Xbox Series X optimization also releasing in 2023
As an avid gamer, my advice would be to play Cyberpunk 2077 now to judge and enjoy it for yourself ahead of the expansion. It‘s an impressive world with stories to tell and immersive quests to complete. Unless you have a big backlog, no need to put off a 50+ hour epic!
Complete your first run in Night City, then come back for a Phantom Liberty replay later with a new character build to see how the DLC integrates into the game. That lets you get the most out of what Cyberpunk 2077 offers currently, while still having the expansion‘s new content and improvements to look forward to.
CDPR Has More Cyberpunk In Store Beyond Phantom Liberty
While Phantom Liberty wraps up V‘s Night City tale, CD Projekt Red has made it clear this cyberpunk world‘s stories are far from over. The developer confirmed they have already started work on Cyberpunk 2077‘s direct sequel.
Set in the same city of Night City but introducing new characters and a fresh story, it has the potential to build on everything great about Cyberpunk 2077‘s world. I for one can‘t wait to see where the narrative goes next.
Additionally, CDPR is working on a separate standalone multiplayer Cyberpunk game. Details remain unknown, but this project has been in development for a while. I‘m curious whether it will take the form of a battle royale or looter shooter, focus on co-op heists, or something entirely different!
Beyond video games, there are also plans for a Cyberpunk anime series, a remake of the original Cyberpunk tabletop game, and much more. After rediscovering its footing, CDPR seems poised to fulfill Cyberpunk 2077‘s promise as the start of an exciting new RPG franchise.
It‘s been a rollercoaster two years since launch for Cyberpunk 2077. But with lessons learned and goodwill regained, I‘m optimistic about the game‘s future.
Phantom Liberty has the chance to provide closure for V‘s arc across the neon-drenched quests and stories of Night City. Beyond that, new Cyberpunk games set in this distinct, vibrant world will continue to build on these foundations.
For new players, I highly recommend giving Cyberpunk 2077 a go now to experience it for yourself before the expansion arrives. As one of the most expansive and detailed urban open worlds ever created, Night City is just too fascinating not to explore.
Strap yourself in – the future of Cyberpunk 2077 looks brighter than ever!