The world of Cyberpunk 2077: This is what awaits you – inspiration, backgrounds and more – current games

In December the time has finally come: CD Projekt Red publishes its new mammoth project Cyberpunk 2077. At first glance, the Witcher universe and Night City couldn't be more different. Chrome instead of iron, creaking instead of swords and cybernetics instead of magic. But the two works definitely have one thing in common: In Cyberpunk 2077, as in the world of Andrzej Sapkowski, there will be an extremely extensive world building. In the video game we are entering a world that has existed for decades and has only recently aroused cautious interest among cyberpunk laypeople.

Attentive observers have already noticed, for example, that the published trailers go to an immense effort to bring the viewer closer to car brands, fashion and the public life of cyberpunk. In this article we therefore undertake a little dystopian archeology and explain the origins of Cyberpunk 2077 to you (buy now € 58.19 ): Where does the term come from, how is the world built and where are the origins of the new video game version? We also find time for a little dangling in the direction of 2077 street slang – so zero persp my Choombas, because this Netrun turns you from Weefles to Apogees.

The birth of the cyberpunk genre

First of all, the basics: The word "cyberpunk" describes not only the world of the new game, but an entire sci-fi genre. As a general rule, it is probably a cyberpunk story when sparkling high-tech meets dirty street canyons; a dystopian world ruled by money, permeated by cynicism and populated by ordinary people. Here, outsiders make their way in the shadow of the overpowering group company by using their muscles or hacking skills at the service of the highest bidder. People's lives are becoming more and more modern – but by no means better.

Even if there is no clear starting point, William Gibson and his novel "Neuromancer" from 1984 are considered the founders of the cyberpunk genre. After the novel received all the major sci-fi awards in its year of publication, other authors sat at their desks and emulated Gibson. Interesting: Neuromancer introduced terms such as "cyberspace", which are still firmly anchored in common language today!






Everyday life in a cyberpunk setting is dominated by high technology that fits seamlessly into the misery of an oppressed, almost numb-looking population. (1)



Everyday life in a cyberpunk setting is dominated by high technology that fits seamlessly into the misery of an oppressed, almost numb-looking population. (1)

Source: CD project




Films like the anime Akira (1988) and the feature film Blade Runner (1982) are also extremely influential. Both are based on books or manga – but it was the film adaptations that really got the genre going. However, if we had to pinpoint a single point in time when the word cyberpunk was born, it would be a short story aptly named "Cyberpunk" by Bruce Bethke (1980). As always, we will of course only list some of the most important pioneers of the genre: The books "Dreams of Flesh and Sand" by William Thomas Quick (1988), "Hardwired" by Walter Jon Williams (1986) and the film "Die Ratterschlange" by John Carpenter (1981) are also cyberpunk giants. We are looking forward to your favorite inspirations!

Cyberpunk 2020 or: How the hell could the author foresee this ?!

If we trace back where Cyberpunk 2077 got its background and name such as "Night City" or its typical street slang, we end up with an inconspicuous table role-playing game from 1988: "Cyberpunk" was set in the distant future of 2013. It appeared two years later "Cyberpunk 2020" the most popular version of the P&P game to date, which expanded the history of Night City and introduced some important concepts: The terms "samurai" or "solos" were coined and it was established that cybernetic limbs had a strong influence on take the psyche of its wearer – with every piece of meat that the street samurai removes, it loses part of its soul. If you leaf through the role-playing system, you discover downright creepy parallels to our year 2020: The authors foresaw things like smartphones, tablets, international megacorporations, the trade in personal data and rapid urbanization. Other concepts, such as the "screemsheets" (a daily faxed newspaper) or public "internet telephones", seem rather amusing these days.

Interesting: Co-author Mike Pondsmith admitted in an interview that he only read Neuromancer years after Cyberpunk was published. The main inspirations for the setting were the film Blade Runner and the above-mentioned novel Hardwired – whose author Walter Jon Williams also worked on the role-playing game!






Johnny Silverhand is such a legendary figure that he is a mixture of Robin Hood and Elvis Presley - at least in people's minds. & Nbsp;



Johnny Silverhand is such a legendary figure that he looks like a cross between Robin Hood and Elvis Presley – at least in people's minds.

Source: CD project




When the third edition of Cyberpunk appeared at the end of 2005, the date changed to the year 2030 and the background story continued. The fans, however, spurned the sequel and remained loyal to Cyberpunk 2020. One of the reasons for this was that the setting of the new edition drifted significantly in the direction of pulp sci-fi and lost its dark, down-to-earth roots. In addition, absolutely absurd design decisions were made: The artwork of the books consists of Ken and Barbie dolls with plastic assault rifles, which were provided with a green filter and draped against a city background. You don't believe us? Take a look at the pictures and try not to smile.






The toy doll artwork of the third edition of the table role game by Cyberpunk still makes the RPG community smile.



The toy doll artwork of the third edition of the table role game by Cyberpunk still makes the RPG community smile.

Source: CD project




The role-playing game made a spectacular restart at Gencon 2019, where the new "Cyberpunk Red" project was presented. Now finally in the year 2077 and officially supported by CD Projekt Red, the role-playing game has taken the RPG community by storm and has been sold out regularly since then. And the best? There are already two extensions in the works. Good news for pen and paper fans!

Setting and mood: the dystopian cosmopolitan

Anyone who enters Night City as an armed and ready-to-use street samurai (also called "Bosozuki") moves through a microcosm of the entire world. Instead of dividing itself into different countries of origin and individual districts, Night City eats its residents and practically mixes them into one own nation: On the street, different cultures mix into a chimera which, as is typical for the genre, borrows words from all languages ​​of the world and gives them a new meaning. Do you remember our sentence at the beginning? "Null persp" is one Abbreviation for “No need to sweat,” while “Choomba” or “Chombatta” is Neo-African slang for “friend” or “family member.” A “Netrun” means to hack, a “Weefle” is an incompetent hacker and one "Apogee" describes a runner who has reached the top of his performance. As in Bladerunner, many of the words of cyberpunk street slang borrow from Asia : "Bakutos", for example, are gamblers who, with a lot of bad luck, may become "bhikkhus" – begging monks who exist outside of society.






With “Cyberpunk Red”, the table role-playing game makes a new start, which is just as gloomy as its video game template - so it comes full circle.



With “Cyberpunk Red”, the table role-playing game makes a new start, which is just as gloomy as its video game template – so it comes full circle.

Source: CD project




Interesting: "Chew Two" (CHOOH2) is the name given to the synthetic alcohol with which the vehicles in Cyberpunk 2077 drive. If in doubt, the wheat from which the fuel is obtained (Triticum vulgaris megasuavis) can even be eaten! The pure methane fuel of 2020 has now been discontinued, as have all types of fossil fuels. Speaking of society: Every decent citizen in Night City has a "Single Identification Number" or "SIN" for short. Those who are in the system receive all the advantages of a modern society, but have to cope with the fact that the corporations know at all times what they are doing, buying, eating and thinking – the SIN is a key and a chain in one. The residents of Night City, in the truest sense of the word, are "SIN-less", on the other hand, move freely through the city without the yoke of corporations and slip through gaps in the system. However, the disadvantage of a SINless existence is that you do not exist. Anyone who gets into trouble with the police can prepare for the lack of arrests and the generous use of force.

The police themselves have been privatized and are firmly in the hands of the corporations. Read that again: There are no state police in Night City! Above all, the powerful Arasaka Corporation dominates the private security market, which makes encounters with law enforcement officers an intimidating experience. Black armored guardsmen shout at you through voice-changer helmets and use SIN-less residents as target practice for their high-tech assault rifles. This makes the police practically the strongest and best-equipped gang in town – it is practical that they are as corrupt as their criminal competitors.

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The silver fist of rebellion

"Where's Johnny?" You have probably seen this sentence in the images of Cyberpunk 2077. If not, pay attention to one thing: in almost every trailer it is in the background on a wall or a bridge pillar. But who is Johnny Silverhand and why is he so important – apart from the fact that he is played by Keanu Reeves?

Johnny Silverhand was originally called Robert John Under and served as G.I. in the Central American conflict in 2003; a war of aggression waged by the USA against the South American states. However, John was so disgusted by the brutality and corruption of his government that he deserted and fled to Night City, where he built up an existence under a new name – he took the street name Johnny Silverhand through his prosthesis acquired during the war. An impulsive veteran severely traumatized by the war, Johnny took up the fight against the megacorporations and spread his message the only way he knew: his music. The band "Samurai" (whose name also adorns V's jacket) achieved worldwide fame and Johnny in particular slowly but surely became a symbol of rebellion. The band broke up in 2008, but that didn't stop Johnny from embarking on a promising solo career. However, the rock star's life was to change drastically in 2013.






Johnny Silverhand is such a legendary figure that he looks like a cross between Robin Hood and Elvis Presley - at least in people's minds.



Johnny Silverhand is such a legendary figure that he looks like a cross between Robin Hood and Elvis Presley – at least in people's minds.

Source: CD project




Johnny's friend Alt Cunningham was torn from Johnny's arms in a brutal kidnapping by the Arasaka Corporation guardsmen. The aim of the group was to put the brilliant net runner on the "soul killer"; a piece of software that would allow the corporation to download the minds of corporate enemies and kill their bodies. Johnny's liberation failed and Cunningham's consciousness was integrated into the mainframe of Arasaka through the Soulkiller. But Johnny was a hardened war veteran. He would save what was left of old.

While the fourth corporate war was raging in the background, Johnny broke into Arasaka's headquarters once more. However, when he met the heavily modified cyborg Adam Smasher, Silverhand finally found a worthy opponent. Adam emptied the magazine of an assault rifle in Johnny's chest and was only interrupted in his bloodlust by an attack by a second corporation: A bomber from the Militech Corporation devastated the Arasaka HQ. Johnny's body was never found.






Johnny Silverhand is such a legendary figure that he looks like a cross between Robin Hood and Elvis Presley - at least in people's minds.



Johnny Silverhand is such a legendary figure that he looks like a cross between Robin Hood and Elvis Presley – at least in people's minds.

Source: CD project




"Wake up samurai. We have a city to burn."

This brings us to the point when you enter the scene with V. As everyone knows by now, Johnny Silverhand will accompany you as a "digital spirit", often expressing his opinion and now and then even talking to you via hologram. Before you jump on the Johnny train with a loud hoot, consider the following: Johnny Silverhand is a driven man. As long as Asaraka is destroyed and his girlfriend is freed, he doesn't care who or what falls by the wayside. Or as Johnny would say, "We have a city to burn." It's up to you whether you trust Johnny or not.

No matter which of the three life paths you take: V lives in a world that wants to see him dead. Not because the world itself is evil, but because it has long since ceased to function any other way. Night City is a beast of shiny corporate towers, wage slaves and animalistic gangs. And now, to top it all off, you are dealing with the spirit of a legendary runner. So grab your Dorphs, you jocked Crystal Jockeys. Keep your Biomon close to you, take care of your Eddies and give the corpos a good load of Trip-Six. See you on the street.

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