I think the trailer throws up some interesting questions. My biggest concern with the game is how rigidly they follow Mike Pondsmiths rather hackneyed Cyberpunk vision. From the blurb for Cyberpunk 2020: -
"The Corporations control the world from their skyscraper fortresses, enforcing their rule with armies of cyborg assassins. On the Street, Boostergangs roam a shattered urban wilderness, killing and looting. The rest of the world is a perpetual party, as fashion-model beautiful techies rub biosculpt jobs with battle armored roadwarriors in the hottest clubs, sleaziest bars and meanest streets this side of the Postholocaust. The Future never looked so bad.
But you can change it. You’ve got interface plugs in your wrists, weapons in your arms, lasers in your eyes, bio-chip programs screaming in your brain. You’re wired in, cyberenhanced and solid state as you can take it to the fatal Edge where only the toughest and coolest can go. Because you’re CYBERPUNK."
I thought it was kind of weird when they announced the game and he got up on stage and started yabbering to everyone about how the game was going to continue to be set in Night City, and then a bunch of things no one aside from a few P&P devotees would really care all that much about in truth (he has a great deep voice though)
The problem I see is that Pondsmith’s world is just over heavy and tactile. He’s grabbed onto the visual descriptions in Gibsons Neuromancer series and crossed it with a bit of Sigue Sig Sputnik: -
and just yanked everything up to 11.
The thing with cybernetics in Neuromancer is that by on large they’re the exception rather than the rule. Sure most people have neural implants, just as today most people have mobile phones, but the Lupus Wonderboys and Molly Millions of body hackers really represent the fringes of things in the Books. The problem with overuse is when you make something the norm, you have to redefine the extreme. Thus were now we’re being presented with an apparently bulletproof lady who has scythes implanted in her arms. Nowhere near as discreet as Molly with her fixed sunglasses and retractable razor blades really.
Also tbh the physical stuff in the Neuromancer series was always a side aspect Vs the whole cyberspace thing I felt. The thing that made the Panther Moderns fascinating wasn’t so much their appearance, but how they leveraged technology to achieve their goals. They’re the 4chan/anonymous of the series. Similarly although not fully realised to my mind in the books, stuff like the celebrities whom people would tune into to literally see & experience the world through their eyes (fine tuned by the broadcasters naturally) was kind of compelling. The idea that you could vicariously experience the frivolous life style of the rich and famous on the other side of the planet for a few hours for a price from your cheap capsule hotel room in Chiba is still an intriguing concept, that’s not really been fully explored (I guess Avatar delves into it, and there are hints of it in Inception as well with the roomful of dreamers). Just as people lose themselves in MMOs, imagine people losing themselves in being Kim Kardasian, Ryan Gosling or even going to the seedier side of things, think porn. What happens when the fantasy meets reality? A few years ago I was at Victoria station during rush hour and I spotted someone I recognized across the way. I’m terrible with peoples names, but thought I’d go over and say hello hoping I’d recall where I knew them from (did we go to art college together?) and I was literally two feet away before I checked myself and realized it was someone off a Big brother show I’d watched as a student, and they wouldn’t have a clue as to who I was. There was this weird disconnect between me knowing about them, and them having zero knowledge of me.
Essentially, I kind of think that those aspects of cyberpunk are the really interesting ones to explore especially through the medium of games where you could pull it off, but more than likely we’re just going to end up with copious amounts of combat enhancing implants and crazy guns etc.