One of the many faults of video games these days is that elite monsters or soldiers that players that engage in combat can become “bullet sponges.” Bullet sponges mean that these enemies can take on a lot of hits and would not flinch even though it is clear they are damaged. Cyberpunk 2077 will not have that kind of feature.
CD Projekt RED Senior Gameplay Designer Pawel Kapala recently talked with VG247 about how elite enemies will behave in a fight and how realistic they are.
According to Kapala, normal NPCs that players meet on the street will have different rarities with them and they are mostly goons. As players level up, they will be easier to kill and fast to engage. They are still deadly though and can deal a lot of damage, which is why players need to move around and use cover if needed.
Elite enemies will have more armor, but they will still react to the attacks players will deal on them. They want their enemies to be different and let them behave like how real people react to attacks. Here is Kapala’s explanation:
Some of the NPCs will be more armoured, or more, how do I say? Some of the NPCs would be, like at officer level, so they’re more elite enemies that deal even more damage, and they take a little bit more punishment. However, what we opted to do there is that, we basically ensure that hit reactions on our NPCs are always played. This is a big problem in most of the games that I played that have bullet sponges – that basically you don’t see any type of reaction on the NPC as you’re hitting him. It feels like you’re literally shooting a sponge, like there’s nothing there. And we never want to have that. So, we will still play hit reactions on those NPCs. You will still see that they’re getting hurt. They will stumble, they will fall from your gunfire.
Honestly, this can be exploited, which means players can stun their enemies before they would unleash an attack that deals a lot of damage. They could also still fire at enemies even though they have stumbled, but it should be realistic as well that they could not aim well since they flinched after they received your attacks. We will have to wait and see what CD Projekt RED does with this mechanic.
Cyberpunk 2077 will launch on Nov. 19 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 version will be available sometime in the holiday season.