Video Games

Cyberpunk 2077

In Night City, everyone's out for themselves—including you.


Set in Night City, an expansive California cityscape brimming with rogue A.I.s, body-modded street thugs, and virtual cathouses for every class and taste, Cyberpunk 2077 is a video game about sex, drugs, and robots—and what to do about them.

Based on a long-running series of tabletop role-playing games, the game is constructed from a stew of '80s and '90s science fiction references: There's more than a hint of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, of Johnny Mnemonic and The Matrix, including a star turn by Keanu Reeves as a long-dead revolutionary rocker who turns up as an A.I. construct lodged in your consciousness.

Reeves makes an amusingly sardonic, irritably charming guide to Night City, a companion and antagonist who wants to get out of your head as much as the player wants him gone. But separation is harder than it looks: Along the way, you have to deal with a slew of corporate and political power struggles, from mayoral assassinations to murderous family succession squabbles over the fate of massive, privately run firms. Occasionally, you end up in bed with someone.

The game's politics are best described as cynical rather than ideological. One advertisement throughout the city extols the virtues of working for a company that offers an unprecedented five paid vacation days a year; the city's political hierarchy is deeply corrupt and self-interested, even when its members aren't plotting assassinations and coups. In-game tasks consist of everything from conventional video game shootouts to interrogating A.I.-controlled sex workers to simply talking with a depressed local cop about his feelings of betrayal.

Everyone's out for themselves—including you. But what are your interests, really? And what are you willing to do about them? Cyberpunk 2077's one unifying idea is that no matter how big or how small the decision, the choice is always up to you.