I agree with the principle that there will be place for improvements (there is a ton for that already with CP), but in my experience the Witcher series declined game after game gameplaywise and whilst everything else went downhill, all they managed to improve was visuals, audio and "cinematic storytelling".
Oh... true, true. Recently I talked with a friend about our past experience with The Witcher games ; he plays mostly for the challenge, while I play for the story (when it's worth it), and my personal RP. He was disappointed in the long run, and he recalled me of why he doesn't want to play again, due to game design matter especially. And I think he is right, I thought the games were greater over time - in my terms - because I played Witcher 1 and 3 and the first one seemed way too linear to me, and stiff gameplay, old-school design, well, I didn't like playing it and I gave up after a few hours.
The irony in this story is that the third opus has terrible game design too (the obsolescence of the equipment is old-school too, and a bad design choice), but I occulted this part in my mind in benefit of enjoying the story, playing the game "my" way and avoiding missions or events that didn't suit my style
Cutting a part of the experience to enjoy the other part to the fullest. Which means that you and my friend were right in that regard.
Now I've said this, I think it doesn't change my expectations for CP77 ; I think it's not gonna be that great but I hope it will suit my style. Finally I could add that I'm curious about the "non-linear" story they spoken, but my hype has gone before I could place better hopes on this feature. Wait and see.