Well that thread certainly proves that I should always absolutely trust my instincts about who is transphobic/transphobic-curious (etc.) and who isn’t! I have yet to be surprised.
Not too horrifying (and certainly not surprising) overall.
Yeah, I’m really wondering what CDPR will do here. The TT RPG doesn’t really outright address trans issues in any conscious way that I recall, and there was a conflict set in motion from the original Cyberpunk 2013 rules (from the '80s!), with this idea of “Cyberpsychosis”. Basically the original concept of Cyberpsychosis was, the more you modify your body, the further you are from humanity, the more likely you are to go entirely around the bend in some way or another.
A rather crude concept, but certainly one with some punk aspect to it, especially as the elites were the ones who could afford to modify their bodies most, and the cyberpunks themselves who did it more to survive than anything else.
However, during CP2020, as they did more work on it, you could basically see Pondsmith realize that this concept was not as watertight as it initially seemed. Someone replacing a limb lost in an accident or the like should surely feel more human, not less, most of the time? A lot of cyberware potentially merely replicated human qualities or had little potential impact in how you thought of yourself.
And later Chromebooks realized this and had ways to prevent losing humanity form installing cyberware, and they seemed to realize that some people would want to replace part or all of their body, and that wouldn’t, in all cases, make them less human or more aggressive or have less empathy or whatever.
But they were constrained, because cyberpsychosis was the main mechanic that prevented characters from being ridiculous OP by just jamming in all the most powerful cyberware they could find, so they couldn’t really just throw out the concept entirely. (I mean, you totally could but you’d need to revise the game - nowadays that’s what’d happen, but this was in the early '90s, pre-world wide web, even, initially, all print media).
The original CP2077 trailer (which was absolutely CP2020, literally all the imagery in it, down to the precise weapons, is directly from CP2020) focused on cyberpsychosis and the “Psycho Squad” who deal with “marauding cyborgs” (by killing/restraining or even recruiting them). But I notice that when they announced it was CP2077, rather than just “Cyberpunk”, the imagery really changed, and whilst we’ve seen lots of people who are borg’d up and assholes, I don’t think we’ve seen much mention of cyberpsychosis (I haven’t been following very closely though), and I’d have expected a lot. So they may have thrown that overboard (indeed I’d be unsurprised if Mike had, though I haven’t seen his new Cyberpunk TT RPG).
Anyway, what’s my point? The original TT RPG was sort on in an in-between place, stuck between rules and a core concept, and a sudden realization that people realizing their bodies didn’t fit them didn’t make them less human.
So I don’t know if we’ll see CDPR embrace the concept of changing your body, or stigmatize it with cyberpsychosis (which really should be reserved for becoming seriously “more than human”, not merely “a different human”, and treated less as Call of Cthulhu SAN loss and more as a kind of potential distancing factor), or what, and how that will interact with trans issues.
I could see anything from totally appalling shit where there’s trans stuff clumsily handled (or worse) as a major plotline AND they manage to make a trans person a cyberpsycho, which would be like, fuck off forever, CDPR, to there barely being any trans presence in the game beyond that poster, and it’s even possible that there will be trans presence in the game, and well-handled aside from the poster, though I’ll be very surprised, because I don’t think they’ve mentioned it. I mean I think it’s kind of a case of “If you can’t say anything nice…”, but at the same time, Cyberpunk is a game so much about changing your body that maybe it’s an issue that can’t not be addressed. And I kind of dread how clumsily they may address it.
I mean, to look at a previous CDPR example, for which they were copiously, and frankly, excessively praised, you The Bloody Baron in Witcher 3, which deals with domestic violence among other issues, and honestly, I thought that whilst it was quite dramatic, it was pretty clumsy and lurid, despite some decent dialogue/editing. So I will be unsurprised if there’s similarly clumsy/lurid stuff that they expect to be praised for here. Be glad if I’m wrong of course.