So, Since you haven’t finished the story, I won’t be able to go deep into it, but Johnny Silverhand is definitely the main character, not V. The entire story is about Johnny’s impact on the world. V’s story is about Survival and that’s about it.
Every conflict in the game is driven by Johnny’s story. Rogue & Alt are Johnny’s old flames, Arasaka & Crusher are Johnny’s old nemesis. V’s only reason to be in this is survival. If another option to save them appeared, V would ditch Arasaka Immadiately. They have Zero ideology or drive beside Raw survival.
The glorification of the past isn’t glorification of Johnny, I meant more, the general tone of the game focusing on old struggles, on Johnny’s impact in history and legacy. It’s a story that revels in what people did not what they will do which is a big departure from Cyberpunk as a genre.
Cyberpunk, is supposed to be a theme of a hopeless future dystopia, where people keep struggling against a capitalistic engine that already won, is already out of control. Climate catastrophe happened, companies own 99% of everything that exists, the only hope most people have at a decent life forces you to the limit. But despide the hopelessness of the setting, the main character happily throw themselves at an unwinable situation, in the hope of having an impact, in the hope of waking up other people.
Cyberpunk, is supposed to be a warning of what’s to come. Its message should’ve evolved since the 80s and a lot of the elements that are part of Cyberpunk77’s world are relic of that 80s snapshot. The entire game feels like it didn’t bothered to create a dark future of today’s world, but rather just extrapolate on a 30 years old extrapolation of the future. It’s a glorification of a passé aesthetic, without looking at what it tried to say.
I had indeed in mind 1980s for Cyberpunk first edition, it was in fact published right before the 90s. So 30 years old in the past.
I don’t think that’s really a criticism that’s going to stick to Cyberpunk 2077 unless you also feel it sticks to 2020
Actually it does. Because while Cyberpunk 2020 had things to say about the society in the 80s under the theme of Cyberpunk, CP77 has nothing to say about the society of today and the 80s critique has been diluted, or eliminated.
For example, one of the corpo book, there was a pretty deep indictement of some major bank that had pursued real-life international criminal actvities. A lot of the content was anti-capitalist in nature and seemed into the culture at the time. Like the CIA funding terrorism around the world in an effort to protect regimes that were supportive of American imperialism.
Cyberpunk 77 Lacks that part. The main campaign has very little to do with the struggles associated with the genre, while Cyberpunk 2020 had things to say about its own time, same for Snow Crash or other similar books.
CP77 is focused on the cool looking Neon and cybertech, while the cybertech for example was a way to show that in that future “normal” humans were no longer able to compete or survive. That people had to alienate themselves from their humanity in order to thrive. (and that, the upper echelon of society could do it in a safe and quick way, creating an even wider gap between classes)
Stuff like that, present in some of the CP2020 texts, and in a lot of Pondsmith’s early writing, but utterly absent from CP77.
Instead we have a game that never seems to have a critical look at society. It’s all “normal”. Silverhand’s rants are confused and empty because they are deeply personal rather than being against a larger system. He’s a terrible character, but his shitty attitude has so much more personality than V. By the end of the game, Neither Silverhand nor V had any growth. Both characters are pretty much unchanged.
This isn’t a game about rebelling against the machine. This is a personal revenge quest set in a future dystopia.
In this “Cyberpunk” game, the “main” character is Pro-cop (and goes out of their way to say it.) Silverhand has no ideology and by the end of it, your only accomplishment is one of pure selfishness. (Both endings.)
Arasaka which are supposed to be the “vilains” have done no action that justifies said vilany. If anything, if they followed the CP2020 material (and, semi confirmed by one of the ending) Yorinobu is out to destroy Arasaka from the inside and V’s plan at best disrupt that.
think what maybe you’re not clear on here is that 2077 is clearly a divergent retrofuture, diverging where Cyberpunk 2020 did, so the early 1990s or arguably 1980s. Expecting it to analyze current technological/sociological trends may therefore not be any more reasonable than expecting other retrofutures
I actually think that, given the 57 years in the future they afforded themselves, good writers could’ve used that to tell a story that resonates a lot more with our current society. make the setting of CP2020 evolve in paralel of the way the society from the 80s evolved to today. Use that timeframe to inject their Cyberpunk Game with… Actual Cyberpunk elements.
“Punk” is supposed to be a revolt against the system. Doing a cyberpunk Game entirely separated from real world. You can’t have a game where the main character says “Not all cops are bastard” and call it “punk”.
I guess they chose between doing that and staying (almost bizarrely) close to the 2020 canon material (like, literally point-for-point stuff that happened in specific adventures for 2020).
There’s certainly no idea that 2020, say, was “better”
Jeez, I wonder if maybe the game casts a nostalgic look at material from the 90s when it was okay to call sex workers “whores” and constantly things that the past stuff is a lot more interesting & meaningful than the present.
On a side-note, there are a few conversations between NPC and shards with “jokes” that are very reminescent of White-supremacist rethoric. One of the car brand parroting the “10% of the population for 30% of the crime” statistic often used in bad faith by racist dickheads.
On a second Side Note. Fallout 1 & 2 were definitive critisism of the 60s, the 90s and neo-liberalism. I wouldn’t give Bethesda any hope to do actual critisism of our society however.