Back from the dead


Used with permission from CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 is a game about super advanced futuristic technology. Ironically, it turned out to be one of the least technically sound games of the generation.

Ben Schneider, Section Editor of Style and Culture

You have six months to live. Does nothing matter anymore or is every minute now precious? That is the question Cyberpunk 2077 sets out to answer. 

The main character, V, is practically dead and buried in the opening hours of the game after a job gone wrong, but is offered a second chance at life. However, this time the anarchist rockstar, Johnny Silverhand, voiced by Keanu Reeves, is embedded in his conscience. 

Johnny is a virus. The proverbial devil on V’s shoulder, slowly taking over his brain. It is a strange relationship between V and Johnny. They are connected mentally, but neither one of them wants to live this bizarre bicameral lifestyle. 

Even though V knows after six months his body won’t be physically dead, himself as a system of memories will be gone, and all that’s left will be Johnny. 

The premise is captivating, but it is the setting, Night City, a dystopian version of the southern California area, that is easily the strongest aspect of the game. 

Skyscrapers are filled with disturbing advertisements. People walk the streets as these cybernetic abominations. Every car looks right out of Blade Runner. It is all very atmospheric. 

Even with the myriad of technical problems that plagued the game (this may be an understatement, the game was nearly unplayable at launch) the city that was created here is impressive, so much so that just recently Netflix released an anime based on the game called Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

It had everything that the game did right, without all the technical complications players had to go through to get to what made the game actually worth experiencing. The grungy music, the huge city and the creative storytelling. 

This time the story follows David Martinez, a street kid from a very humble background attending a stuffy prep school. It’s a bit derivative at the start, but quickly diverts from any sort of stereotypical high school drama when David acquires an advanced technological implant that can slow down time for a brief moment. It doesn’t sound that cool, but he can get pretty creative in his use of the new implant.  

The show is violent and edgy. When someone is killed, they don’t just die. Blood covers the screen and their disembodied limbs fly in all different directions. 

Night City is such a cold, heartless place where you can trust no one and the fact that anyone can make a real connection here is a miracle. And that’s what Edgerunners is: a miracle. 

I remember when some of the first gameplay trailers of Cyberpunk 2077 came out. It didn’t look real. Everything looked so alive and unique, the hype was unfathomable. 

People were really starting to get burnt out on the same soulless, formulaic open-world games, but Cyberpunk seemed different. It was different. 

Every character, whether in the show or the game, is just trying to get by in a very unforgiving world. It’s a place where how you die is more important than when you die. Not everyone in Night City wants to be a legend, but the ones that do will certainly be remembered. 

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners revived a game that seemed dead and buried after how bad the launch of the game was. You have to understand, this was the most hyped game of 2020 and it was delayed so many times that when it did finally come out people felt robbed. Like they had been lied to, sold an unfinished product. 

But the developers at CD Projekt Red have been working hard in the shadows to try and restore this buggy mess of a game, and finally, after two years and six patches later, the game is kind of not terrible. Patience is a virtue. 

Anime and Cyberpunk is such a perfect combination. With animation, anything is possible. You aren’t held back by outdated hardware and are freely able to paint the exact picture you want. 

And that is exactly what CD Projekt Red and Studio Trigger did with Edgerunners. Created a story that was held up by the unique world around it and showed that no matter how little trust or compassion there is in Night City, real connections can still be made.