CD Projekt Red is once again finding itself in hot water. Cyberpunk 2077 had a major presence at E3 2019, getting a release date and Keanu Reeves as a character, but eagle-eyed users noticed an unfortunate in-game advertisement. It appears to portray a problematic (to say the least) depiction of a transgender character, one that has made many immediately question how Cyberpunk 2077 will ultimately handle LGBTQ+ depictions in the rest of the game.
Warning: graphic and NSFW content below
How is this not on my timeline right now, is this real pic.twitter.com/XzCWHH6rhu
— avery (@neondreamgirl) June 11, 2019
The image in question was originally discovered in an NVIDIA article detailing the ray tracing found within Cyberpunk 2077. While it’s slightly hard to see in the image as it’s presented, zooming in on the image does reveal the advertisement in question. It features what appears to be a female-presenting figure modeling for an in-universe beverage. Of course, the main point of controversy here is the fact that the model has a clearly visible penis (one that’s not even anatomically correct, by the way).
While the image in itself is disheartening, it becomes even worse when you remember the controversy surrounding the Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account. Even though the social media team is separate from the development team, it still makes you question how seriously CD Projekt Red, as a whole, is taking queer issues.
As a game in the cyberpunk genre, Quest Designer Patrick Mills described Cyberpunk 2077 as “inherently political.” One of the main elements of a cyberpunk narrative is a focus on marginalized people. Senior Quest Designer Philipp Webber even talked about how it handles topics like gender identity back in 2018. Cyberpunk 2077 is very much an open-ended game, extending to the gender of the playable character. Unfortunately, this doesn’t inspire much hope that it will handle these elements in a meaningful way.
Until we get to see Cyberpunk 2077, we’ll just have to see if this is a one-off instance or a symptom of a larger issue at hand. CD Projekt Red has yet to comment on this latest controversy, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated on anything that emerges.