For the better part of the last decade, CD Projekt Red has been one of the most beloved studios in the AAA genre, with back-to-back hits in The Witcher franchise and the recently-released Cyberpunk 2077.
Although not without its set of issues, Cyberpunk 2077 is an exceptionally ambitious RPG with a refreshing take on the open-world formula. There has been a certain trend among open-world titles, with an obsession with "bigger equals better" shining through in spades.
However, Cyberpunk 2077's approach to the map of its open world varies quite vastly from that seen in even the studio's previous title, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
So far, CD Projekt Red hasn't revealed specific numbers as to the size of the map but has made elusions to it being slightly smaller than that of The Witcher 3 in terms of pure size.
Cyberpunk 2077 vs The Witcher 3: Map comparison
#1 Difference in tone and architecture
Cyberpunk 2077's futuristic and dystopian Night City is in complete contrast to The Witcher 3's medieval setting in The Continent. Apart from the obvious sophistication of architecture, the world of Night City seeks to reflect a cityscape that is borderline unhealthy and barely sustainable.
As a result, Night City can almost feel suffocating at times, with densely populated areas and buildings almost merging into one another. Skyscrapers dominate the downtown areas, and places such as Pacifica truly reflect the bleak dystopian outlook of Cyberpunk 2077.
Having said that, there are areas such as the Badlands which are considerably more open, with wide free spaces to roam about in.
First and foremost, the map of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, although an open-world setting, isn't a cohesive map that combines different areas.
Instead, the main locations of the game, Velen, Novigrad, the Royal Palace in Vizima and Skellige, form the majority of the map and are separated by loading screens.
The map is fleshed out further with the addition of new areas in the DLCs, Blood & Wine and Hearts of Stone.
The player can travel to these areas through Fast Travel and can explore these open worlds to their hearts' content. The areas are vast and are sprinkled with all sorts of fascinating detail.
The time period in which The Witcher 3 is set does not require strict roadways and can afford to include vast stretches of land with no buildings or architecture in sight. As a result, The Witcher 3 can afford to expand the map size by allowing for more open spaces such as fields and valleys.
Night City truly comes to life indoors as Cyberpunk 2077 has a strong focus on fleshing out the interiors of the city. CDPR devs continued to stress, ahead of launch, that Night City not only stretches horizontally but vertically as well.
This means Cyberpunk 2077's interiors also contain plenty of interesting detail and are explorable, much like the outdoors.
While horizontally, the map might be a bit smaller than that of The Witcher 3, if interiors are taken into consideration (which they should be), then the scale and size of Cyberpunk 2077 eclipse The Witcher 3 by leaps and bounds.