Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer: Cyborg Psychos, Techno Junkies & More Details
Life in Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red’s upcoming RPG based on the Cyberpunk 2020 universe, is pretty awful.
It’s a dystopian future marked with the cyberpunk genre’s mainstays — high technology used to keep people low, and separations between classes that are so stark they’re almost blinding. That’s the world you’ll enter when you play CDP’s game, in which you’ll take on the role of a character trying to pull himself up from the slums, and dealing with a lot of obstacles along the way.
Much more about the player’s journey through Cyberpunk’s futuristic urban setting of Night City, we don’t really know. But CDP has dumped a lot of info on us today that gives a few hints at the themes and subject matter we can expect from the game — which, as it happens, will be out “when it’s ready.”
Meet the Psycho Squad
Up first is the trailer for the game, which doesn’t show anything in the way of how the game will actually play, but gives us some significant information about the world in which it’s set, and maybe some of the themes (and enemies) you’ll come up against.
What you’re seeing here, according to CD Projekt head Adam Badowski, is a woman known as a “psycho.” This is a person who has outfitted her body with extensive cybernetic enhancements — hence the weird arms — but who has been mentally affected by those enhancements. The idea of the trailer is that the psycho woman has gone on a rampage, killing 14 people, as the trailer mentions. Night City Police have responded in order to stop her.
While regular cops might fight to take down a psycho in a situation like this, what we’re seeing in the trailer is the “Psycho Squad,” a group of specially trained officers (think SWAT or Blade Runners) who specialize in putting a stop to psycho rampages. Here’s how Badowski explains it in CDP’s press release:
“The teaser shows how the Psycho Squad might acquire a new member. The Psycho Squad specializes in combating ‘psychos’ – individuals who overuse implants and substances that boost or otherwise alter the human body. There comes a point when they overdose on these innovations, and their bodies start to rebel against their biological body parts as well as against all things organic around them. Simply put, they start killing people, who they now derisively call ‘meatbags.’
“When a psycho goes on the rampage, strange things can happen. There’s going to be a lot of carnage, so the psycho might be taken down by regular police, but they’re not always able to get the job done. When things spin out of control, they call in MAX-TAC (Maximum Force Tactical Division), popularly called the ‘Psycho Squad.’ And these guys are exceptional, these guys are crack troops. The fact that they’re proud of that name tells you a bit about their mindset. They wear a badge with their official emblem on their right sleeve, but their left is reserved for their unofficial Psycho Squad emblem. It’s primitively made and the image itself is on the crude side of things. It’s not unlike a badge special force operators might make and wear to distinguish themselves from the ranks of grunts in any theatre of war.”
From the sounds of things, however, it’s tough to say whether the Psycho Squad will actually relate to the protagonist character’s story, or if that’s just a cool-sounding name for a bunch of Judge Dredd wannabes. Cyberpunk’s themes usually emphasize powerful, merciless authority figures, and the fact that a woman who goes on a killing spree finds herself inducted into the ranks of the squad by the end of the trailer suggests to me that we’re likely to see Psycho Squad cops as enemies — possibly particularly vicious ones.
As for the cyborg herself, that’s another gray area. I’ve already seen some criticism on Twitter at the suggestion that the cyborg might be reduced to an “FPS monster,” where the conventions of the genre suggest that the loss of humanity in the face of technology is a tragedy. It’ll be interesting to see how Cyberpunk 2077 handles ideas like these.