The theory governing transhumanism assumes that the next step in humanity’s evolution rests in science and technology. One genre typically responsible for exploring this theory is cyberpunk. Games like Deus Ex have done so for years, addressing the theory’s moral conundrums and the many ways in which transhumanism may affect the future. Cyberpunk 2077 aims to accomplish something similar. However, instead of only focusing on big business, Cyberpunk 2077’s story will also delve into individuality.
Senior Quest Designer Philipp Weber recently spoke to Eurogamer about how transhumanism will fit into CD Projekt RED’s latest game. When asked how Cyberpunk 2077 will address villainous corporations in a dystopian future and transhumanism, Weber explained:
I think our game deals with both equally. Our Cyberpunk game has all of Night City, which is the place where Cyberpunk 2020 already took place so we want all of those things in there. All of those aspects are part of Cyberpunk so we can’t ignore them. Cyberpunk as a genre has always been political, in terms of there being a few big people at the top and many many people on the bottom. And you are one of those people on the bottom. So for us it is important to have the corporations in the game, to talk about how they shape society and the future.
But the individual part is important to us too—how human you still are when you change your body. Look at the gang in the demo—whose entire goal is to lose their humanity and become machines. We’re trying in every quest to have these themes and since you can always choose in the game how to deal with them, you can choose whether you want to fight the people on top or become more like them.
Eidos Montreal’s Deus Ex prequels explore these complexities by putting players in the shoes of a man who’s skeptical of transhumanism, yet is forced to rely on cybernetics for survival. Through tough choices and a heavily nuanced narrative, players essentially question their own morals. With The Witcher series, CD Projekt RED has proven they are capable of doing the same. No doubt Cyberpunk 2077 will offer a similarly thought-provoking experience.
In past interviews, the developers and Cyberpunk 2020 Creator Mike Pondsmith have addressed how Cyberpunk 2077 will utilize politics and social issues to elevate the game’s choice and consequence system. Since transhumanism plays a significant part in that, fans of cyberpunk should be in for a treat.
Cyberpunk 2077 may be playable from start to finish, but it’s still probably a few years out from release. CD Projekt RED has yet to provide an official release date.