Cyberpunk 2077

Release date: April 16, 2020
Platforms: Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The Origins of Cyberpunk 2077

Let’s look into the history and fine points of the role-playing game Cyberpunk 2020 and examine the main city of this universe — Night City

CD Projekt Red decided to step aside from The Witсher and develops a new game Cyberpunk 2077 in a completely different setting. As in the case of Geralt's adventures, the universe of Cyberpunk was invented not by the Polish company and has a huge and well thought out story. Let's sort it out how this universe drew CDPR.

The origin

If you followed the history of pop culture of the '80s, you definitely know that in those days people were captivated by the ‘’cyberpunk’’ genre. One of the most famous and striking examples was the film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott. The story of the self-development of artificial intelligence, neon slams, huge skyscrapers and the unique visual style won many hearts of all people around the world. From 1982 to 1987 the cyberpunk genre went up and flourished, gaining new details and variations. Island in the Net by Sterling, Neuromancer by Gibson, Blood Music by Bear — they are great representatives of the genre we can and should read deeply up till now.

Blade Runner 30th Anniversary Trailer

In 1988, writers started to switch over to fantasy fiction. Cyberpunk lost its charm, the future became not so gloomy and gradually started to resemble the routine. People started to confuse cyberpunk and short stories with elements of it.

American game designer Mike Pondsmith is the creator of the universe of Cyberpunk. Being a fan of tabletop games, the cyberpunk genre and the above-mentioned film by Ridley Scott, Mike releases the first version of the Cyberpunk game rulebook published by R.Talsorian Games.

Cyberpunk 2077 Mike Pondsmith about Cyberpunk World

In the first place, Mike wanted to reconstruct the ambiance of true cyberpunk. He combined things he liked in Blade Runner with fundamental ideas of the genre. Social outcasts, bandits, people who tried to beat the system and oppose evil corporations. The new game became popular quickly. Pondsmith's work gave people something more — an opportunity to create adventures on their own. It's exactly the kind of game Cyberpunk became in 1988. The role-playing game gave players new impressions showing peculiarities of the world at the same time.

Rules of the game

Cyberpunk left behind its competitors in many ways. It concerns the presentation of the plot, combat system and creation of the avatar. The character upgrade became some small revolution in the cooperation between a player and his character. Namely:

- There're no usual levels of the progress. Players grow little by little in spheres they are most interested in;

- The choice of the class influences not only the battle but also the story in whole. The cooperation with NPC is the most important component of the gameplay;

- The realism of fighting. All injuries of characters are taken into account in the game. You can kill characters with one shot or at one blow of a knife, which influences the pace of the game.

Nowadays such approach to the narration is called nonlinear, but in the past, it was an absolutely new way of storytelling. There is no usual ‘’single-minded’’ plot in Cyberpunk. All events start from small quests, which you can be taken from passersby on the streets.


Characters from Cyberpunk resemble characters from cult films of the 80's.

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Cop — an officer of the law. He is equipped with cutting-edge technology to suppress chaos in particularly dangerous districts of Night City. The stock weapon — a handgun. He knows every nook in the city and knows how to interrogate. Special ability — Authority — forces people around to obey him
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Media — journalists of the future. Large-scale corporations permanently wage an information war. The journalist's job is to struggle against conspiracies and the spread of undesirable information. Special ability  — Credibility — allows to convince people that you are right
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Rockerboy — local rock stars. The embodiment of charisma, sternness and style. Oppose to the government and have high rates of persuasion and charm. Special ability  — Charismatic Leadership — allows to gather around yourself like-minded persons using music
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Solo — guns for hire who set about any work for money. Most of them have military experience. They are main combat unit in the game with their best physical skills. Mercenaries could be anyone: from bodyguards to hit-men. Special ability  — Combat Sense — allows to recognize threats and find traps
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Corporate — corporation agents. They engage in bribery, blackmail, assassinations and sabotage. Divert others to their side using charisma and the power. Special ability  — Resources — allows to request all the necessary from corporations. For instance, weapons, bodyguards, transport, money, etc.
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Fixer — information brokers. They deal in smuggling, brokerage and the sale of information. They use such methods as intimidation, persuasion, deception, breaking and theft. Special ability  — Streetdeal — allows to settle bargains and to assign tasks to Runners
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Netrunner — hackers in the universe of Cyberpunk. They are a single whole with a computer. Netrunners use cerebral implants to move in the Internet. They collect information for sale and have hacking, programming and cybersecurity skills. Special ability  — Interface — allows to hack different devices faster
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Nomad — gangs of wastelands, placed on the corporations’ blacklist. They organize into car bands. Sometimes these bands are so huge, that they look like mobile cities. Usually, Nomads are armed with rifles and have good skills in driving. Special ability  — Family — allows to call members of the band for defense or help
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Techie — underground masters, specialize in modifications. They perform orders for people of many different kinds in Night City. People turn to them if they need to create, repair or improve something. Technician's skills are adjusted to work with different kinds of technology. Technicians can use weapons expertly; they are versed in electronic security. Special ability  — Jury Rig — allows to repair and modify weapons, uniform and cyber implants

Night City

Night City is the city of dreams founded by architect Richard Night. The megalopolis is located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, by 2020 the population of the city was 5 million people.

Before the creation of the city, Richard Night had worked in a building company until he completely lost his interest in the management of corporate governance. After the dissolution of the treaty, he founds his own corporation, Night International. The final goal is building of the perfect city.

Night's company began the construction after obtaining the support of several mega-corporations in 1993. The whole of the city, from the beginning to the end, was designed by the distinguished architect. The idea of the project consisted in building of the gold standard for all cities around. Great corporations were in need of such kind of a place. They liked the idea of the city without poverty and crime. Petrochem, Arasaka, and EBM acted as investors. In exchange for financing, they've got their own sectors to develop their business.

Gradually, the territory of the city became wider. The old district Downtown became the center, where the corporations were located. During the construction, Richard Night made a lot of enemies and allies. More and more corporations aspired to help the architect to solve all vital problems. However, it couldn't save him. The end of his life had come on September 20, 1998, with a shot of some unknown killer from the roof of a skyscraper.

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After the death of its founder, the city was renamed Night City. But one week later, there was a battle over the control. The gang called The Mob opposed corporations. This confrontation lasted 7 years. Because of reluctance to meddle in the long-term conflict, corporations moved outside the central part of the city for 4 years.

At some time the Mob started to impede a mighty Japanese corporation Arasaka. The latter decided to eliminate bandits using aviation and technical equipment. The period between 2009 and 2011 is called The War with the Mob. The perfect city became true hell on Earth, hundreds of people died on the streets every day. Eventually, corporations had a victory and immediately put their mayor on the throne.

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2020 was a relatively peaceful period. Functioning of social services, police and other services important for citizens was established. Crime wasn't over completely, in the southern part of the city there were shooting incidents. But the police became free to act. With the help of corporations, law enforcement officers equipped squads with enhanced weaponry and gear, which positively affected the security level.

That concludes the main story of the city within the scope of the 2nd edition of the role-playing game Cyberpunk 2020. In Cyberpunk 2077, the actions take place right in Night City but a half-century after the described events.

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The map of Night City in the role-playing game Cyberpunk 2020

Sequels to Cyberpunk 2020

The role-playing game became so popular that books with descriptions of the world, characters and technologies and spin-offs were published later. CyberGeneration was one of them, where players took on the role of teenagers with exceptional abilities. Unfortunately, this idea didn't work out in broad masses because of the too much difference from the original. Later, the publishers of Generations released the game of the same name, which was a separate project and had no impact on the events of Cyberpunk.

In 1997, the story of first Cyberpunk 2020 was completed. Two expansions were published: Fireshock I: Stormfront and Fireshock II: Shockwave. In the first expansion, a player was involved in the 4th Corporate War between Arasaka and Militech. In the second expansion, developments were rather sad because Night City was destroyed by the nuclear blast to prevent a victory of the Japanese company. After that, the development of the world was suspended for 8 years.

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Night City after the 4th Corporate War

Of course, fans demanded sequels, but they've got not the best product. Pondsmith made battle and class systems easier as far as the world. Flying cities, new creatures and more modifications of a body were added in the universe of the game. Even the air-drawn megalopolis Night City, which was continually increasing in size, couldn't attract fan's attention. Unfortunately, the new version of rules of Cyberpunk 203X hadn't even a half of success which the original game had.

John Davis