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    Cyberpunk 2077

    Game » consists of 11 releases. Released Dec 10, 2020

    An open-world action role-playing game by CD Projekt RED based on the pen and paper RPG Cyberpunk 2020.

    Moosey's Many Thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077: Part II.

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    MooseyMcMan

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    Edited By MooseyMcMan

    This is Part II of my many thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077! You can read Part I (my thoughts on the technical side of the game, its story, and game play), here!

    Johnny Silverhand here to say it's okay if you just read this blog, but Part I is good too!
    Johnny Silverhand here to say it's okay if you just read this blog, but Part I is good too!

    Or just read on, that's okay too! Also, keep in mind there will be some mild SPOILERS for a couple side mission chains relating to some side characters.

    Here's a subject that I feel came up a fair amount in discussing Cyberpunk 2077: Just how “cyberpunk” is it, actually? Putting aside the fact that it is set in a preexisting world literally called Cyberpunk, and even if that TTRPG didn't originate the term, it probably helped popularize it, I still think it's an interesting question to ask. In terms of its faithfulness to the source material, considering the physical version of the game came with a booklet outlining the history of the world, starting with when it split from the real world in the early 90s, I'd say it's probably pretty true to that source. Again, I've never played the TTRPG version, and I'd guess that most people running that with friends probably put their own spins on little bits here and there, the same way that lots of people do when playing TTRPGs. That's part of the appeal of that style of game, after all.

    Cyberpunk 2077 being an open world AAA huge budget action RPG, of course, means that sort of stuff has to be locked in place. And also given that huge budget, it means that as much as some of the devs may be punk at heart, that doesn't mean it translates to the game being punk.

    Unsurprisingly, I think the game is really hit or miss when it comes to how cyber, punk, and cyberpunk it is. Probably the thing it's most consistent with, is that the game really hates corporations. Basically all the corpo characters are scumbags, and no one else in the game likes the corps, and yet just like in the real world, they run basically everything, and have unchecked power that has meaningful and entirely negative impacts on the lives of everyone and everything they touch (other than the rich profiting off them). So that, the game gets right (though I guess I haven't seen the ex-corpo origin, but considering the “ex” part of it, I doubt it's a positive portrayal). Heck, Johnny's whole thing is that he's obsessed with destroying the corporations, no matter what it takes, and even if his methods were extreme, his rationale wasn't.

    Night City is definitely cool looking.
    Night City is definitely cool looking.

    Something the game is more conflicted on, though, are the cops. Considering that I am writing this in the days after the police stood outside for forty plus minutes and let someone murder children in an elementary school, I'm feeling even worse about the police in general than I usually do, so again, don't @ me (I'm mostly writing about them in game after this paragraph, FYI).

    There are aspects of this game that feel like they were made with how the police really are in mind. There's lines of dialog about how the cops only protect the corps, they're never there when people need them, etc. There's even a couple side gigs about what cops do to the few cops in the system that try to push back, and fix things.

    There's one where a hit was put out on a cop whose investigation was getting too close to uncovering dirt about other cops (that I resolved by convincing the cop to get out of town while she could, though you could probably just shoot her and get paid by the worse cops in question). And another where a cop needed to be rescued from being forced into a mental institution, because again, she was uncovering dirt on other cops. As far as I know, things like this have happened in America. “All Cops are Bastards” doesn't mean that literally every cop is pure evil, it means that in the rare instance where there is someone who tries to push back against the system, the system tries to destroy them to protect itself, no matter what the cost (it means a lot of other things too, I'm simplifying).

    Then there's River Ward, one of the characters V can romance, who is a detective in the NCPD. He's also (I believe) an Indigenous American, and voiced by one to boot (Robbie Daymond, who people may remember from voicing such twinks as Prompto in FFXV, and Akechi in Persona 5/Royal). His missions are optional, I think people could play the game without ever meeting him, but in broad strokes it's not that difficult to guess what happens. He has a case that gets personal, the higher ups suspend him for taking it too far, and V helps him with it.

    There's really two things of note in it for me. The first is that at one point, River and V play an augmented reality game with River's niece and nephew, where they all play as cops who go and shoot digital perps for points. As something that exists in universe, it's certainly interesting, but I feel like any read on it being commentary on “copaganda” isn't really intended by the game itself, so all I have to say is that it's interesting. Well, and it was cute that the game gives you an optional objective to let the kids win, as I am a proponent of going easy on kids in games in real life.

    The other thing is that at the end of River's missions, he says that he's not sure what he's going to do with his life, but that “private detective has a nice ring to it.” Implying that he was done with the police force, and he wants to use his investigative skill set in other ways. That's all good and fine, except then during the credits, when a bunch of characters are leaving messages for V, the one from River is written like he's still working for the NCPD. The gist being that he's trying to take weapons and things confiscated by the NCPD, and give them to people outside the force that can use them for good. That part of it is fine, but it just feels like a weird disconnect from the last time I spoke to him in game about it, so I wonder if it was an oversight in the game's writing, or maybe a bug. A couple other credits messages were clearly due to choices I made (I'm sorry Jefferson, I may have made the wrong choice after all! (Judy, however, I made the right call romancing her)), so they're definitely not all totally static.

    Anyway, in terms of the narrative aspects of the game, even if it's not perfect, I think Cyberpunk is at least in the right ballpark with it thinking that the police are pretty bad overall. Not the full-throated ACAB (or even more colorful language) of real punks, but about as much as one could expect from something as big budget and “mass appeal” focused as a AAA game.

    No Caption Provided

    It's the game part where it screws up. Two ways in particular. The first, more obvious, is in the side content. The game has three tiers of side stuff, Missions (which all feature unique writing and voice acting, often are parts of long chains centering on fleshed out characters), Gigs (one off jobs from fixers, with a few different objective types, but usually a bit of unique voice acting), and finally...NCPD dispatches.

    The lowest rung of content in Cyberpunk is taking jobs from the cops to go “neutralize” (lethality is up to player choice) some perps and acquire “evidence” at the scene. All for some cash, whatever can be looted, and Street Cred. Now, there's a lot to unpack here, but first and foremost, the idea of getting Street Cred from helping cops in any capacity is the most absurd, and most un-punk thing in the entire game. The Street Cred system in general feels half baked (I dunno if it's more fleshed out in the TTRPG), as I think it just artificially gates buying/equipping certain items behind arbitrary levels. It feels particularly silly when buying clothes from retail stores, or Cyberware mods from Ripperdocs in upscale parts of town. “I'm sorry, you simply cannot buy these booty shorts, your Street Cred is one level too low!”

    (Actually now that I think about it after writing the first draft, it may have been possible to buy the clothes, just not equip them, which is silly in a different way, but Ripperdocs definitely won't install Cyberware if your Street Cred is too low. I just left in the booty shorts line because I thought it was funny.)

    But I just need to reiterate that in no place in the real world would helping cops increase any sort of street cred!!

    Now, there's probably something interesting that could be done with the idea of cops having to sub-contract out work to freelancers, but as this is the lowest rung of content in the game, it doesn't. It's just there to give players something else to do, with little pockets of enemies to defeat and loot. In some cases, these are things like a group holding a store owner at gunpoint, and if you aren't fast enough, they'll kill the person. So in that regard, stepping in and trying to save the person is the right thing to do (at least in a game where the player character has the means to win these sorts of fights). It's just the part where it's framed as working for the cops that makes it grimy.

    The other way the game screws up is that it treats cops differently than any other sort of enemy. Which is to say, they kind of aren't treated as enemies. When exploring around, occasionally there are little groups of NPCs that are technically affiliated with the various gangs of Night City, but they're not doing anything wrong. Just standing around, doing different animations meant to help liven up the city, and make it feel like it's inhabited by people who do things. That's fine and dandy, no complaints there. But these “gang members” can be targeted, scanned, and hacked just like enemies in hostile areas. And when a game is trying to be built on systems and whatnot, again, that's fine.

    The cops though? You can scan them, shoot at them, hit them with melee weapons, but you can't hack them. Their robots you can, but the human ones? Nope, outside of specific missions or gigs where V gets attacked by cops as part of the scripting, they're all immune to hacking. Which makes them different from all the other enemies in the game. No explanation, it's not like there's a class of enemies with no Cyberware to hack. That would have been interesting, honestly. This is just a case of the game being designed to dissuade people from picking fights with the cops. Similarly, they don't drop loot outside the weapon they were physically holding, which is probably more just a result of weapons being physical objects in the game that can go flying away from enemies after defeat.

    I really only actively instigated a fight with the NCPD once, just to see what would happen, and that's what I came away with. Very un-punk, if you ask me.

    As an aside, I never tried attacking non-enemy/non-cop NPCs in the game, for obvious reasons, but when scanning them, they weren't hackable either. Just for anyone who was curious.

    Then there's the cyber part of cyberpunk, which I was originally going to start with, but then I later realized segued better into something I'm going to get to later on, and I didn't want to end this blog complaining about cops.

    There's a lot of different Cyberwares that V can get, that can have some meaningful changes on the game play, and I like that a lot! On the other hand, the only ones that change V's appearance are the arm and hand mods. Mantis Blades look different (especially when in combat mode), and so do Gorilla Arms. But when I got the mod to let me double jump, I was disappointed that V's legs looked exactly the same as before.

    V may be cute and cool, but I wish they had cyber gams!
    V may be cute and cool, but I wish they had cyber gams!

    Now, I get it, it's a first person game, and even if V's body is visible when looking down, for the most part the only parts of their body seen in normal game play are their arms. So I understand why the arms would be the only part with visible changes, but part of the appeal, part of the cyberpunk fantasy is being a cyborg. It's in replacing flesh with chrome (as they call it in game). If I upgrade my legs to be able to double jump, I want my legs to look cool! I want to see my cyber gams, dang it! Especially considering that there are plenty of NPCs in the game that have much more mechanical, and I think cooler looking Cyberware than V can get.

    I wish V could have blue and purple cyber arms like this person!
    I wish V could have blue and purple cyber arms like this person!

    If you've been looking at the screenshots I took whilst playing the game, it's pretty evident that I like the game's photo mode a lot. There's a ton of fun poses (so many more than I could include here), and other options for people who actually know how to do photography artfully to take some truly incredible pics with. My point being, that I want my character to look cool for the photo mode, and while I do like the look of my V, I wish they could have been even more cyber.

    I feel similarly about the game's fashion. There's some cool stuff in there, but there's a lot of even cooler stuff that NPCs wear, but V can't. There's wearable skirts and dresses in the game, but they're all very tight, restrictive looking ones. I definitely saw some NPCs with looser, pleated skirts, but V can't wear them! There's even cooler stuff, like some outfits with glowing bits, or almost even looked like holographic clothing, and that's the sort of cyberpunk fashion I'm looking for! I bet there's mods to let players equip that stuff in the PC version, but unless CD Projekt decides to expand the game's fashion in a future update, console players like me are just going to be left envying the NPCs.

    At least I still have the bi colored crop top sweatshirt. They can't take that away from me, even if I'm still not sure about how I feel considering the name of that item is called “Bipolar,” which is certainly...a choice. But, that actually gives me a good segue into something that I think is a good intersection of how cyber, punk, and cyberpunk it is, along with something I have a tendency to write about...

    Its your and my favorite segment, it's...

    Happy Pride Month.
    Happy Pride Month.

    That's right, I realized recently that I've written about queer stuff in games so many times over the years, that it really has become a recurring segment. And, in keeping with the artful subtlety that I'm known for, I created the above image that yes, I fully intend on using for the foreseeable future. For anyone curious, I originally wanted it to be an animated gif, with the Kris from Deltarunes dancing. Sadly the process of exporting to gif resulted in even the original 4K version of it being horribly downgraded in visual quality, and the more reasonably sized lower res versions fared just as poorly, so I opted instead for a static image.

    In all seriousness, obviously queerness is a significant part of who I am, and I can't turn that part of my brain off, who I am off when I play games, so I write about it when I have things to say! And let me tell you, I've yet to run out of things to say about Cyberpunk, so buckle up!

    Even prior to release, I knew I'd have thoughts about this game regarding queerness, because at some point CD Projekt made a statement about the game's character creator. I forget exactly what and when, but as far as I know it lined up with what's still in the game today for character creation. Namely that V's voice, body type, and genitals could all be chosen separately from each other. Which is cool! Even if other games had done that, at least for those first two options, before (the Saint's Row series comes to mind). But, the negative side, even announced at the time, was that the ways people would refer to V (pronouns, etc) would be decided based on voice. IE, the feminine voice would get she/her pronouns and whatnot, whereas the masculine voice would get he/him, and whatnot. Sadly, for the nonbinary people like myself, no other options available.

    Even outside that, it was a bummer because there's people out there who might want to play a character with a feminine body, and the deeper voice, but still have that character be referred to with the feminine terms because that's who they are in real life. Like a lot of trans women, because for all the magic that hormones can do for a body, my understanding is that they don't really affect the voice that much, and voice training can be expensive, time consuming, and not easy. And of course the vice versa for trans men who might want the masculine body and terms, but higher sounding voice. Or really anyone who might want to set this stuff up however they want just because!

    All that said, it didn't actually bother or affect my experience with the game that much because (lack on non-gendered terms aside), in these sorts of games I usually gravitate toward playing more feminine characters anyway, so that body and voice type is what I would have picked anyway. And if I had to go with gendered terms in a game, I'd rather the feminine ones, if only because that's an experience I haven't had in real life.

    Really the thing about the character creator that hit me in the moment, when going through it myself, was being able to put a penis on the feminine body type. Like, it's such a weird thing, and I'm not exactly sure how to put it into the words, but there was something cool about having a big budget game where that was an option. Not something done as a joke, just another option for a part of the body, no judgment. So of course I went with Penis 2, partly because I think “Penis 2” is funnier than picking “Penis 1,” (yes I know I said the game doesn't treat it as a joke, I think “Penis 2” is funny for different reasons) but also because I liked the look of it better.

    This image has been edited.
    This image has been edited.

    Not that it's visible in this blog, because frankly I'm not quite sure what is and isn't within the rules of the Giant Bomb forums. Been a long time since I was a moderator, haha. Personally, I'd say that a completely non-sexualized Penis 2 and nipples from a game should be acceptable on a forum such as this, but I don't know. Then I came up with the above idea to edit the image from the character creator, and while I could have asked if Penis 2 and nipples were allowable on the forum, it was too funny of an idea to not use, so here we are.

    All that said, I think there's plenty else to criticize in the creator. There's only the two body type options, for example, and at least with the feminine one, the only other option for changing the shape of the body is the breast size. And penis size, of course. But really, it should have more variability in body shapes and sizes, especially when the only two options are the stereotypically thin, physically fit “male” and “female” body types. More head options too, and hair! I feel like the hair might even still be gendered, but I didn't actually go into the creator with the masculine body type to tell for sure.

    That, and I guess at some point before I played the game was patched to allow for some things, like hair, makeup, nails, and body scars to be changed again later, at the mirror in V's apartment. That's cool, but if this game really wanted to be cyberpunk, everything should be up for changing again. Or at the very least, tattoos! I didn't give my character any, thinking by the end of the game I'd have cool, visible robot parts, but sadly not. If I'd known that, maybe I'd have spent more time looking at the tattoos to see if there was a set I liked more.

    This isn't directly related to queerness, but it is related to the genital selection, and how this game handles nudity in general. In the character creator, the character is fully nude, as they are in the inventory screen if no clothing is equipped. But exit out of the menu and look down, or go into photo mode, and suddenly V has underwear on. No bra at least (unless the censor nudity option is turned on), but no matter what, the undies stay on.

    Even during a shower in a story cutscene! V is sitting, depressed in the shower (relatable), and when they stand up, their view moves such that the underwear is visible, thus kind of ruining the immersion of the scene. I don't know about anyone reading this, but that's not how I prefer to shower! That part is particularly odd, because they could have just made sure the camera doesn't show V's crotch, and I would have been none the wiser.

    It just makes me wonder why make a big deal out of genital selection prior to release, and especially why bother going to the trouble to render that stuff for just the character creator and inventory screen?? It's truly the most baffling thing in the game to me. Is it some weird ESRB or console (IE PlayStation or Xbox) rule that they can show genitals, but not close up or in first person? There's even physics on the penis as V animates in the inventory screen, so clearly someone spent some time on it, just for it to then be hidden away.

    It's also just so baffling that this gets censored, in a game with first person sex scenes (though no genitals shown), that go on for frankly too long. And in a game with very graphic violence in it, like cutting people's limbs and heads off, and again, in first person so it's right up in the middle of the screen. But this is a larger, societal problem, where horribly graphic violence is more acceptable in media than simple nudity. At least in some parts of the world (America).

    Last thing I'll say, before going back to queerness, is that I know the PC version has mods for things like this, while on console...there may or may not be a very easy glitch to get V nude in both the first person view, and photo mode. In photo mode it's perfect, with Penis 2 out there in full glory, and again, even affected by gravity, depending on the pose. In first person though, it becomes clear that they probably never actually intended genitals to be visible, because none rendered (I assume the first person character model is different than the inventory screen/photo mode one?). And really, what's the point of being nude in first person if I can't see my character's Penis 2 flopping around as they ran?

    It was fun to use the glitch out of spite for the game's self censorship for a little bit, but the lack of other cyber body parts made it get old fast.
    It was fun to use the glitch out of spite for the game's self censorship for a little bit, but the lack of other cyber body parts made it get old fast.

    Again, I'm opting not to really show this in the blog, but you can tell. As for how to do any theoretical glitch, I'll leave that up to the readers to find out on their own.

    Okay, back to queer topics. Another thing I remember some people making a big deal about before release were some of the in game advertisements that kept popping up in videos and screenshots. Specifically the Chromanticore soda ads that feature a person with a slim, feminine body wearing skin tight clothes, and with a long, visibly erect penis pushing against their clothing. I remember being off put by it too, but having now played the game, honestly I don't think it's that bad. It's not great, but it doesn't objectify a trans woman any more than the other ads throughout the game objectify cis women. Or cis men, for that matter. Which is to say, they all objectify people, and they're all obnoxious. Like a lot of real world advertising, honestly.

    There's also a couple ads throughout the game with queer couples in them. One a very objectifying image of two beefy bois, totally nude and in a pretty sexual embrace, and the other featuring two women, clothed, in a “classier,” more sensual pose. I don't actually remember what either of those are for, honestly. Chromanticore is easier to remember because there are working vending machines in the game that sell the soda, with what I think is actually the most objectifying part of these ads. Namely that the part of the vending machine that releases the cans is right where her penis is, meaning you'd have to reach in and grab right there. It's a bit much, even if the point is supposed to be that all the advertising is obnoxious and objectifying.

    So, considering that prior to release the things I knew about Cyberpunk's handling of queerness, particularly gender-wise, were locking pronouns to character voice, and these ads, I went into it expecting it to be low key transphobic at best. And while those aspects of the game are still present, they didn't really negatively impact my time with the game, and I genuinely don't think the game has any sort of malice, or ill will against queer people, even if there's still room for improvement there.

    Improvement that I think if it was really a priority for CD Projekt, could still be patched into the game at some point. I don't remember the exact reasons given as to why gendered terms in the dialog were tied to V's voice, but I'd guess it was probably a mix of technical, and maybe needing to re-record some lines from both of V's voices to account for that. I'm sure it would be a lot of work, but don't forget that even if CD Projekt is (so far as I know) its own entity, it's still a large entity. One with a lot of people working there, and the resources to keep working on this game for years after initial release, even though it isn't a live service game with a steady flow of income from micro-transactions and the like.

    You can pet the space critters in Haven.
    You can pet the space critters in Haven.

    I'm reminded of a different game I played recently, Haven (Part I readers may remember I said it'd come up again!). Haven released around the same time Cyberpunk did, near the end of 2020. For those who haven't played it, it's about a couple in love who fled their home world to start a new life on an alien planet. It was also a game where the main two characters were a heterosexual couple, thus making it a game about forbidden love starring two het people. Which I found to be eye-roll worthy at the time, and despite my loving that studio's previous game, Furi so much that I said I would play anything they made next, I skipped on the game.

    The reason why I'm bringing this up is that a couple months ago, Haven got a significant free update, which added the option to select the genders for the game's couple. Meaning there were now options to play as a same gender couple, either two guys, or two ladies. New character models, new art for the loading screens, and most importantly for how much work it probably took, new actors cast because the game is fully voiced, and for what the game is, it has a lot of dialog. The banter between the two characters is Haven's heart and soul, and its most charming and endearing aspect.

    Once I saw this was happening, and that it coincided with a sale price, I bought the game, and had a good time with it. I played with the two male characters, and it was a really heartwarming experience. Also kind of the right sort of game, and right size of game for me to play after 150 hours of Elden Ring. Honestly I enjoyed it enough (and it's short enough) that I might play it again some day, this time with the two lady versions of the characters.

    Keep in mind, The Game Bakers is a small studio, with a core team of under twenty people, as far as I know. And yet despite that, despite their games not being enormous successes that set the world on fire (I kind of got the impression from a recent article on Waypoint that having large portions of development funded by PlayStation or Xbox via being on their subscription services helps keep them afloat), they took the time to do this, and made it a free update too.

    So if a team that small, that makes games that are at best cult hits like Furi can do this, I think even if it would be a lot of work, it is well within CD Projekt's means to achieve. To expand what's in the character creator, and find a way to unshackle pronouns from voice selection. It just isn't a priority for them. I get why any sort of change like that would be lower on the list than any of the numerous glitches and bugs that were fixed over time, or maybe even still need to be fixed now. It might even cause a whole slew of other bugs that would then need to be addressed. But personally I think I would have prioritized it over adding more apartments to buy around the city. That's probably not a fair comparison, I don't know what parts of the studio are working on what, or what they're doing, so maybe someone has been trying to do this, and maybe it will make it into the game at some point.

    Now back to what's in the game, because I still have the queer characters in the story to discuss! I said I was expecting the game to be transphobic, but the thing that surprised me the most is that by some metrics, it actually has the best representation of a trans character in a big budget game that I've played. If it wasn't obvious, this is an extremely low bar to meet, but even with that out of the way, I still like the character in question a lot.

    Some of these screenshots when viewed on my computer make me wonder if I had the HDR set too high or something. I mean it looked like that in game too, but I thought it was cooler then.
    Some of these screenshots when viewed on my computer make me wonder if I had the HDR set too high or something. I mean it looked like that in game too, but I thought it was cooler then.

    Claire Russell, voiced by Maddie Taylor, is a bartender who likes to partake in less than legal street racing on the side, which in game terms means her mission chain is the obligatory open world racing one. Her missions start out as simple, “you drive, I shoot” deals, which are fun enough, if a bit easy. Eventually she reveals that she used to ride with her husband, who died during a race, and now she wants revenge on the driver she blames for his death. Help her get revenge, and V gets Claire's vehicle (what I like to call the “Trans Pride Death Truck”), but choose not to help, and Claire gets angry and stops talking to V. This was a rare instance where I did reload a save to see what would happen, but afterward I went back to having helped her, as that felt like what my V would do/I wanted to keep the Trans Pride Death Truck.

    So, few things to note about Claire. First is that she clears what I think should be the lowest hurdle for trans characters in media, which is that she's actually voiced by a trans person. Representation is important, and by that same token, I think making sure characters are portrayed by the sort of people who they are is important too. In the case of trans characters, I feel like every time one is played by a cis person (usually of another gender), all it does is help reinforce wrong, and harmful stereotypes. And as pathetic as this sounds, I think Claire is the first, and only trans character in a big budget game I've played that's actually voiced by a trans woman. I'd like to think she wasn't the first one, and I'm positive there have to be smaller games out there that have actually cast trans people for characters, but I don't know. For all my talk, my gaming habits still lean almost exclusively to high profile, larger budget games, and despite saying I need to broaden my horizons, I never do.

    This is a case where I would genuinely appreciate people telling me about trans characters voiced by trans people in other games, so please @ me if you know any!

    Voice aside (and I think Maddie Taylor did really well with the role, I don't think she was cast just for being trans), I kind of appreciate that Claire isn't all about being trans. I mean, I feel like there's two ways to handle queer characters in general: Either make their story a journey about discovering who they are, etc etc, or let them just be people who are queer. And in the case of a game like this, made I assume by mostly (if not entirely) cis people, I'd rather they go for the latter. Because I think more media should have queer people who aren't there just to be the token queer person, it's just a part of who they are. In that regard, I think Claire works well. Her being trans only comes up once in dialog, in a situation where it feels natural, and otherwise the only way you'd ever guess she was trans is the trans pride flag on her death truck (thus the name I gave it).

    So on the whole I like Claire a lot, but as a counterpoint to her being a well done trans character...she's also, as far as I know, the only trans character in the game. Not counting V's potential for being trans, if the player wants them to be (I at least didn't notice any dialog in the game that would negate my trans head canon for V, so that's good).

    While that's not really surprising, I do think it's certainly a missed opportunity, and considering the setting being both cyberpunk and the future, probably not realistic either. I'm sure that in the grand scheme of things, the proportion of trans, or other non-cis people in the world who might not want to use the word trans (I generally tend not to use it for myself, not for any real reason, just nonbinary) is low compared to the total population of people. But also I know from experience that queer people tend to gravitate toward each other, for countless different reasons. Granted the game doesn't really show anything into Claire's life outside her street racing/revenge quest, so maybe she has a whole cadre of queer friends, just out of view of the camera.

    Or maybe this was a game made by cis people who included a single trans character, and managed to do right by her, simply by doing what should be the bare minimum.

    Just two gals being pals.
    Just two gals being pals.

    There's at least a few other queer characters too. Two of the four romance characters (Judy and Kerry) are queer only, in that Judy requires V have both the feminine voice and body, and Kerry the masculine voice and body. Interestingly, the other two romance characters, Panam and River, at least according to what I read online only require a specific body type, not voice. I haven't tested it myself, but if it is true, I'm glad the game doesn't just lock people who did that with their Vs out of a part of the game that can actually be kind of cute and heartwarming.

    Yes, it does the thing where (at least for Judy, the only one I romanced) where you go on a whole long mission chain, which culminates in sex and them properly entering a relationship, which is a bit clichéd in the video game realm at this point (thanks BioWare). That said, I should add that I think the overall arc of them getting to know each other, and especially the final mission (where they go scuba diving) is really good, so don't take this as me complaining.

    But, after the fact Judy continued to send messages to V (not voiced), and it helped add to the idea that these two characters were in a relationship, rather than just having sex once and then a Trophy pops for finishing that character's story. It would have been nicer if more of it was voiced, or even if there was a mission or two after the fact that you only get if they're in a relationship, but sadly not.

    At least one time she arranged some soda in a heart shape, and gave V an iconic shotgun as a present. And if that isn't love, I don't know what is.

    Not to be a downer again, but even in the realm of cis-queer characters, there aren't many in the game. It could be argued that lots of characters' sexualities are unknown, and that's true, but also in every instance I can think of, when side characters were in relationships, they were hetero ones. More than anything else, it just helps reinforce that this game was made by cis-het people for whom cit-het characters are the default, so that's what they went with, unless there was a relevant story reason not to. I feel like the only time I encountered NPCs that seemed like they were in a queer relationship was the time I found two guys arguing (about their relationship) in a gay strip club. Not to just repeat myself, but I'd like to hope that in a cyberpunk future, there would be a higher quantity of queer people around.

    This is a screenshot that literally hard crashed my PS5 when I took it. It's too powerful.
    This is a screenshot that literally hard crashed my PS5 when I took it. It's too powerful.

    I think that's all I have to say on how the game handles queerness. I could go on about how I think queerness, and queer characters in media are important, especially these days. But that's just going to end in me saying that a few more queer characters in Cyberpunk 2077 isn't going to stop fascists from taking away people's rights, which is becoming increasingly an unending struggle these days.

    Okay, time for closing thoughts. For all its faults, I had a great time with the game, and even if I wrote so much I had to split it into two blogs, I'm also glad it got me to think as much as it did. And believe me, there's so much more I could have written about (like the mission where you crucify a man (his idea, by the way) so the man's memory of dying on the cross can be sold to people around the world via Brain Dance technology), but I'll spare you. Even if part of me regrets never bringing up that this was another AAA game made with horrible years long crunch, and that's still an issue that I think needs to be addressed across the games industry.

    I'll just say this: I'm looking forward to whatever the story expansion they're working on is, and I genuinely would really want to play a multiplayer version of Cyberpunk 2077, should they ever get back to/finish it. I just think horsing around in Night City with my cyber punk pals (real friends in this case) would be fun!

    Okay, that's really it this time! Thank you for reading, especially if you read both parts, but honestly even if you only read part of it. I do truly appreciate it! <3

    V and their Stand Dogstar wish you a good day! And a tolerable Pride Month if you're queer and just don't have the energy to put up with anything.
    V and their Stand Dogstar wish you a good day! And a tolerable Pride Month if you're queer and just don't have the energy to put up with anything.
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    I appreciate you speaking on the mechanical differences that cops get over other types of enemies in the game. It's game-y as hell, but it's also kinda hilarious how stuff like enemy parameters and abilities and privileges end up having way more of an apt social commentary than whatever junk the writers came up with. If anything, it just reminds me that games are capable of doing so much weird, profound shit in the nuts and bolts of it all.

    Like you said, expectations for people like you and I are (rightfully?) cynical sometimes, but.... man. What if you and me had the Cyberpunk license?

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    MooseyMcMan

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    @bed: Believe you me, nothing would make me happier (and probably more stressed) than if I had the resources at hand to make something on the scale of a Cyberpunk 2077, but still had as complete of creative control as a person (or pair of people, if we were to combine powers) can have over a project of that size.

    I'm glad that you appreciated my spending that much time going on about the cops in the game. A thing I probably don't write about as much as I should is things like that, how systems really work and play with each other (or don't) in games, and you can end up with this. Like you said, accidentally being the social commentary that I'd wager the higher ups in the company didn't want the game to have for fear of causing "controversy" or whatever.

    Semi related, now that (hopefully) sometime in the near-ish future we'll be out of the cross gen era, and can start getting properly current gen (IE, PS5/Xbox Series) games, I'd really want more games to push deeper and more complex systems, rather than just aiming for prettier graphics. I know you don't need untapped horsepower to make statements with game systems, but it doesn't hurt, either.

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