The Daily Grind: Are we due for a good cyberpunk MMO?

Oh, this... keeps my feelings where they were before, really.

I am a generally big fan of the cyberpunk genre, especially when it works in a healthy dose of ’80s aesthetics for that clunky, neon flair. But when it comes to MMORPGs, good cyberpunk titles are extremely few and far between.

I think we have a bit of it in Neocron and Anarchy Online, and of course The Matrix Online was jacked into cyberpunk back when it was running. Now a-days there is a lot of excitement over CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, although we know very little about it other than it’ll have some sort of online functionality.

Are we due for a good cyberpunk MMO? Do you think that there’s a good audience out there for it and that it would appeal to a great number of gamers? For a bonus question, what would you like to see included in such a title?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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I’ll echo others here: we just need a good MMO, regardless of the theme.

The cyberpunk setting is an OK one, I find it vaguely interesting. I played Shadowrun Returns when that released and enjoyed it, though I was a little put off by the 80s nostalgia. The main issues I think a cyberpunk themed MMO would have to address:

1) Depressing colours – so many cyberpunk settings are just really dark and dingey. That’s fine for a short experience but it’s not where people want to live for years on end.

2) Engaging / deep combat – I guess this is a problem for all MMOs, but a cyberpunk setting usually merges guns, melee, tech and magic. Developing a combat system that makes all of them enjoyable will be a real challenge.

3) Non-combat roles – a big part of typical cyberpunk settings is non-combat: hacking stuff, building interesting new tech, corporate espionage etc. MMOs are typically bad at providing non-combat roles.

Joe Seabreeze

We’re due for a good mmo in general. I don’t care what the theme is, as long as it’s fun.

Jeffery Witman

A good SciFi or cyberpunk title is long overdue. We’ve gotten big IPs like STO and SWToR out there, but they’re almost as generic as the fantasy settings of most MMORPGs. Something new and different would be much appreciated. Cyberpunk that can actually do a decent job of melding tech, magic, and still have a compelling atmosphere would be terrific. The anticipation of 2077 is proof enough of a demand for that.


It seems to have flown under most people’s radar, but the 2015 game “Shadowrun Chronicles – Boston Lockdown” is in the MMO ballpark – B2P, shared hub, online co-op (or play solo with NPCs to fill out your party), and I found it solidly enjoyable:
It’s over a year since I last played it, but I remember particularly liking its wardrobe system, as you get a wide variety of interesting options and its one of the few games that doesn’t gender-lock clothing items. I picked it up in a Steam sale partly because it came bundled with a PDF copy of the rulebook for the Shadowrun tabletop RPG :)


I’d love the shit out of a good one. Not holding my breath however.

Some day before I die I’d love to play a truly amazing sci-fi mmorg done right. I’m more into hard sci-fi so seeing it’s unlikely a good Star Wars mmorpg will ever come out that isn’t made to cater to the kiddies, my dream sci-fi mmorpg would likely either be a unified Aliens/Bladerunner universe or The Expanse novel series (and my favorite TV show regardless of sci-fi or not in the history of TV shows).


Hell yes.

Arcanum Zero

I think what the cyberpunk genre needs is a drop-in/drop-out multiplayer squad-based action RPG with co-op AI, procedural mission generation, and persistent characters. I think the Payday 2 model is a great start. Massive multiplayer would just be a waste of resources that could be better spent polishing a more local engine.

While I agree that the MMO genre seems like a great fit for a truly cyberpunk setting, I think that if it got the flavor right it wouldn’t be much fun to play. It would have to be chock full of the kind of meta-PvP that everyone hates in EVE Online.

Everyone hates ninja looters, to the point that most MMO devs have patched the possibility of ninja looting out of their engines. But mistrust, disloyalty, and amoral mercenary business are part and parcel to the concept of cyberpunk. What kind of Disneyfied cyberpunk MMO wouldn’t let you betray your team to another corp for blood money and sneak off with the paydata?

I wouldn’t play that game. Of course, I also wouldn’t play a game that allowed that kind of behavior. I don’t think it’s an accident that we haven’t seen either on the market.


Yes, we need a PvE-only Shadowrun-style MMO with wildly different classes that all have different roles to play in scenarios and missions against super-powerful megacorporations and corrupt governments.

For example, you could have a team that consists of a scout that moves ahead of the group, tagging robot enemies and security systems, setting traps, and identifying safe paths of approach.

There could be a mercenary class that has access to heavy weaponry and armor with skills in demolition.

An assassin class that’s adept at taking down human guards without making a sound.

And a hacker class that has almost no combat skills and isn’t even with the party. They are plugged into a terminal miles away, desperately running through minigames and logic puzzles to disable tagged robots and security systems, disarming traps, opening locked doors, and ultimately stealing the critical data or resources… all while not getting caught by countermeasures.

The idea being that if the scout and the hacker do their jobs, the merc might just need to blow up the vault at the end after the assassin takes out the few guards in the room. However, if it all goes to pot the team might need to fight their way out while the hacker fends off countermeasures trying to identify his location while still helping his team to escape.

Advancement would come in the form of information, money, and allies. Players would be encouraged to have multiple characters — maybe even one of each class — and bring whichever one is best for that particular mission; advancement resources would be shared across the stable of characters. New skills would be learned or improved through a combination of active play and passive “skill point” accrual (like EVE Online).

No PvP. Throw class balance straight out the window and give everyone specific roles instead — strengths and weaknesses that let them play the way they want.


I’d play it!

Bryan Turner

It’s too bad Blizzard gutted their new MMO in favor of a gutted PVP lobby.

Jack Tyme

We need a good Dystopian MMO. Syndicate online anyone?? And yeah we also need a MMO set in a GTA like world. (Real Life) Developers that solely pump out medieval games know very well that most MMO gamers are sick of this genre.

Please don’t suggest for me to play APB lmao. No where near an MMO.

Jeffery Witman

An MMO Fallout would be amazing, but I doubt that will ever be a possibility.