Cyberpunk 2077: Sex, violence, cybernetics, and other things to know about the long-awaited game
The most hotly anticipated game of the year is out today — an open-world, action-adventure story set in a grim science-fiction megalopolis. It's called Cyberpunk 2077.
You play as V (who can be either male or female), a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality.
A follow up from Polish developers CD Projekt Red to the popular fantasy adventure game The Witcher (which became a Netflix series starring Henry Cavill), to say expectations are high is a major understatement.
The new game features graphic sex, ultra violence and cybernetic implants. And Keanu Reeves.
Cyberpunk 2077 is being released progressively around the world today. Australian console gamers (who play on the Xbox and Playstation) got their hands on it at midnight local time, while Australian PC gamers had to wait until midnight GMT, which is 11am EDST.
If it lives up to even a fraction of the hype, Cyberpunk 2077's Night City is likely to become their virtual address for quite some time.
To help the non-gamers understand, here are six things to know about Cyberpunk 2077:1. It's a pretty big deal
In recent days leading up to the game's release, more people in Australia have been Googling "Cyberpunk 2077" than "coronavirus".
Alex Walker, editor of Australian gaming website Kotaku, reckons Cyberpunk 2077 is the most anticipated game of 2020 "by some considerable distance".
With the The Witcher III selling more than 50 million copies worldwide, Walker compared the hype around CD Projekt Red's latest release to a new Grand Theft Auto game or movie blockbusters like Avengers Endgame and Black Panther.
"Developer CD Projekt Red's track record is one of the best in the business, which definitely helps," he said.
"But Cyberpunk 2077's strength is that combination of a lot of things people want from a blockbuster video game — scale, cutting-edge graphics, a background of crafting complex, intriguing characters and stories, and a vibrant, engaging virtual world that serves as perfect escapism from the hell that 2020 has been."2. It's pretty big, period
Early reports have suggested the game world is ridiculously huge and detailed. Walker described the developer's approach as "more is more".
The setting — Night City — is supposed to be vast, with the main storyline complemented by an untold number of side missions.
The English language version reportedly has 73,789 lines of dialogue and the script was longer than the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books.
"I finished Cyberpunk 2077 in 40 hours, which covered most of the major side missions and a fair amount of cruising around Night City, but left a lot of smaller tasks undone," said one review.
"Every neighbourhood is packed with jobs to discover, conversations to overhear, and random crimes to stop."
In his review, Walker said he spent 40 hours playing through the game but he barely felt like he scratched the surface.
Basically, don't expect to see the gamers in your life much over the Christmas break.2. People have been waiting for a long time
Cyberpunk 2077 was first announced back in 2012 and a teaser trailer was put out the following year.
In 2019, CD Projekt Red announced the game finally would be released in April 2020. Then that was pushed back to September. And then November.
When they announced they were pushing it back to December 10, the developers got death threats that prompted appeals for calm on Twitter.
In order to finally deliver, CD Projekt Red forced their developers to "crunch" — an industry term for mandatory over time — after earlier promising they wouldn't.3. Keanu Reeves is in it (and so is Grimes)
As previously mentioned, Cyberpunk 2077 stars Keanu Reeves, who plays the digital ghost of a assault rifle-wielding rockstar called Johnny Silverhand.
And it's no mere cameo: he spent weeks recording lines and motion-capture movements, and is the second-most-prominent character in the game after the protagonist.
It's not the first time Reeves has been in a cyberpunk story: he starred in the 1995 film Johnny Mnemonic, based on a William Gibson story of the same name; The Matrix was also heavily influenced by cyberpunk (Gibson used the term the "matrix" to described the internet in Neuromancer).
Canadian musician Grimes also makes an appearance in Cyberpunk 2077 as cybernetic pop star Lizzy Wizzy, along with her baby daddy, Elon Musk, who has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the background of a scene.4. It's based on a game from the '80s
The term "cyberpunk" was first used as the title of a short story in 1980 and the genre's roots go back to the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and '70s.
Philip K Dick published Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was the inspiration for the film Bladerunner, in 1968.
But the father of the genre was William Gibson, credited with coining the term "cyberspace" in a novelette. His influential 1984 book Neuromancer defined many of the tropes — including "netrunning". He is cyberpunk's Tolkien, if you will.
Mike Pondsmith built on Gibson's vision to create the role-playing game Cyberpunk, which was first published by R Talsorian Games in 1988.
Pondsmith said he loved the cyberpunk genre's "combination of dystopian society with a lot of technology with this really great overlayer of almost film-noir".
Cyberpunk 2077 is set in Pondsmith's world and he was a consultant on the game.5. It's not suitable for children
The Australian Classification Board has given Cyberpunk 2077 an R18+ rating with "high impact themes, sex, violence and references to sexual violence".
It includes depictions of sex, nudity and violence, and also a reference to someone having been sexually assaulted.
The player can engage the services of sex workers and cut scenes "include brief wide-angled depictions of full frontal female nudity, with sounds of sexual pleasure emanating from characters until they implicitly climax".
Of course, a big part of the game involves doing harm to a wide variety of people and things with a diverse range of hand-held and ranged weaponry.
"Bursts of gunfire are accompanied by generous blood mists and sprays, and may also result in the severing of limbs and, in some cases, decapitations," the ACB said in its report.
"The most impactful violence occurs if the player chooses to inflict post-mortem damage on NPC [non-player character] corpses."
Incidentally, according to the Classification Board's annual report they received "several compliments and expressions of thanks" in relation to the classification the board gave the game.6. Take care if you suffer seizures
Before the game was released to the public, there was at least one report of the game causing seizures.
Game reviewer Liana Ruppert, who has suffered them from games before, said she had "one major seizure" and felt "close" to another several times while playing the game.
Ruppert said the game not only featured a lot of neon flashing lights, and glitchy effects due to the setting, but one section involves using an in-game brain interface featuring a "rapid onslaught of white and red blinking LED".
She said it was much like the device neurologists use in real life to trigger a seizure for diagnostic purposes.
CD Projekt Red thanked Ruppert on Twitter.
"We’re working on adding a separate warning in the game, aside from the one that exists in the EULA [end-user licensing agreement]. Regarding a more permanent solution, Dev team is currently exploring that and will be implementing it as soon as possible."