Cyberpunk 2077 Preview: Welcome to Psycho Squad, Rookie
For those unfamiliar with the subject material, the upcoming video game Cyberpunk 2077 is based on the pen and paper game system Cyberpunk 2020, combining high-tech and low-life elements and a noire style of storytelling in the infamous metropolis Night City. The cyberpunk genre in general focuses on examining the increasingly blurry lines between man and machine in a world where technology has advanced but humanity has not. There is espionage, there is intrigue, there is betrayal, violence, and the longstanding staple: Greed.
From the most recent teaser released by CD Projekt Red (of Witcher fame), we are given some possible clues as to the direction which Cyberpunk 2077 will take. We already know that, since the cyberpunk genre has been established for nigh on to 30 years, concepts which were new when Cyberpunk 2020 came out will now be used as jump-off points for what authors are calling “post-cyberpunk.”
In the world of Cyberpunk 2077, humans can improve themselves with alterations to their physiology, including the replacement of limbs, organs, and fine-tuning to their neurology. But all this tinkering is not without cost. An overdose of cybernetics cause the body and mind to rebel against all that which is biological, starting with the victim/addict’s body and then extending to those around him. Such people who lose control are called Psychos, and when they reach critical mass it invariably involves the massacre of all those in close proximity for the Psycho, as well as the deployment of MAX-TAC (Maximum Force Tactical Division), also referred to as Psycho Squad. These heavily armed and well-trained specialists are on call to respond to reports of possible Psycho disturbances and destroy the perpetrator with extreme prejudice.
Though this is speculation, the released video footage seems to suggest that Cyberpunk 2077 will feature the player as a newly joined member of Psycho Squad, and from there the excesses of this largely unregulated military group will lead into the dark and lawless side of Night City. Like with upcoming Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 is focused on providing an open-world 3rd-person perspective romp which will hopefully take us deeper than the last attempt at cyberpunk in mainstream gaming: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which while entertaining only scratched the surface of the genre’s potential and was over far too quickly. What we are expecting sometime in 2015 is rampant corruption in a city that’s a technological wonderland for the haves and a concrete hell for the havenots. And, as Cyberpunk 2020 creator Mike Pondsmith himself has said on the subject, “This is not about saving humanity. It’s about saving yourself.”