Cyberpunk 2077 - CDProjekt's New Joint

Wow. This entire post is a foreign language to me. I’ve never heard any of the terms. The only name vaguely familiar is Ben Shapiro, but I have no idea what he does. I thought about educating myself with a few Google searches, but seeing the replies I’m guessing it is yet more P and R ugliness on the internet.

Shame that it’s cropping up in the Cyberpunk thread, but considering the mainstream popularity, I suppose unavoidable.

God knows the original Cyberpunk pen & paper RPG, Mike Pondsmith, the designer, and the Gibson books that spawned the genre had nothing political to say.

No doubt games are plenty political. Just were not taken seriously enough to get bent about it for the longest time, aside from extreme examples.

Was nice while it lasted. Those days are done. When you see an Overwatch tournament on antenna ABC in the middle of a Saturday afternoon you know times have changed.

It is good that RPS is offended on behalf of the poor minorities since the darn minorities just won’t be offended themselves

Listened to a podcast (waypoint) and they asked a mid-level dev about the ad as well, and their answer matched up almost exactly with what the artist said in the polygon interview. If nothing else, it strikes me as a pretty consistent explanation/philosophy.

Seems like they are saying the gameworld is so broken and commercialized that body modding is wholly cynical, brought about by social/commercial pressures, not something someone does to remake themselves in a way to self-validate or self-actualize. A TLDR summary of what TurinTur initially posted

It’s a pretty dark take. And an interesting one. We’ll see if this is a consistent theme, or a one-off.

My post expressed frustration with representation issues, and racial stereotyping as a too-easy fallback position for most game devs. Conversations about controversial issues can be productive. It very often isn’t because of the way twitter/The Internet works. Just bringing up a topic is always fraught because people are going to feel attacked for whatever reason. I was a bit surprised some people on these forums were willing to go so hard in pushing back against any discussion of fraught representation issues.

Encouraged to see posts with different and thoughtful viewpoints (dismissive posts not included, obv).

I don’t think users here were against there being a discussion, or think that race and transgender issues are irrelevant to games (at least not me), but in this case we don’t have enough information to judge the game in this way and the arguments were logically quite absurd.

The ad is a great example. An ad appearing in a videogame that says or implies something offensive does not mean that the developers wish to portray that sentiment as correct or harmless. Did anyone watch the trailer for 12 years a slave and wonder why the filmmakers were advocating for chattel slavery and the horrific treatment of people from Africa? At least, that’s how I saw it, my 2c, willing to hear out other perspectives, etc.

This happens because very often, they actually are attacked. Instead of going “I wonder what this ad means, can’t wait to play the game and find out!” we get “Transphobic company is transphobic!” Granted I am mostly taking about resetera and twitter here, fortunately QT3 is way less crazy.

No, it’s not an either or. Boddy Modding can be both something someone does to remake themselves in a way to self-validate and self-actualize and something that has a cynical/commercial side. Like pretty much everything else.

I mean, it’s the genre.

I think a better example (although yours is fine) is: sex and oversexualization are used to sell things in our reality all the time, right now. In a cyberpunk future, this will be true moreso, because that’s the genre. That a trans person who is a girl up top and a boy down below (and whose gender identity could be anything, but that’s not really the purpose of the actual ad) being used in an oversexualized way to sell something is (1) exactly what one would expect in a cyberpunk future where trans/gender non conforming/etc persons are an accept part of society (2) a natural outgrowth of a dystopian future that magnifies current issues like oversexualization and cynicism inl corporate dealings.

It takes about 30 seconds to stop and think about the add a bit and see all of this. For a variety of reasons, some people can’t do this (and CDPR have shot themselves in the foot here and there and that’s part of those reasons).

I was referring to Austin Walker’s take on the Waypoint podcast (informed by a QA with a dev). His take (which I was summarizing) is that CDPR/Cyberpunk’s view of body modding is on the darker, more cynical side, not on the self-actualization side (which the source material also apparently took, you would lose your “humanity” if you modded yourself too much).

It’s impossible for either of us (or Austin Walker) to know for sure until we see the entire game, and how these issues play out.

My point stands.

Are we arguing? haha. I was just trying to add a bit more context to my post ; )

Interview with Mike Pondsmith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9_rjQYByrA

Now we’re working with our story team and cinematic team to make sure those relationships feel real. And there’s multiple characters that you can have a deeper relationship with, including being their lover. Including deepening it down to that level, and being together. We are having a variety of options for different players—if you would prefer something other than the heterosexual option that’s also there. So we’re making sure that the relationships are deep and real, and what’s important for me is the fact that all of those characters they have there own small plotlines.

Thing is, they also have their own preferences. Depending on your gender or depending on the choices you have made or the guy you are, they will go with you or not. They will fall for you or not. That’s the way we do it.

More here:

I don’t know that I’d call anything in that RPS article “offended.” I think “concerned” better describes the thoughts expressed there. And underlying your sentiment are a host of generalizations that always tend to poison discourse online: the idea that any one person represents the values or reactions of an entire group, a vague sense that criticism equals censorship, that caution around culturally fraught topics equals offense, and that the only reason someone might exercise that caution is social signalling.

Consider The Wire, a critically lauded and much beloved television show about drug dealers and cops. The drug dealers in that show are almost universally black. And they often exhibit behaviors one might describe as “thuggish.” The show does not shy away at all from exploring the racial dynamics of crime, policing, and politics in Baltimore. How does it negotiate this fraught landscape with grace? By making sure every character is a fully realized human being. Sometimes these characters do terrible, monstrous things, but the show is fully committed to making you understand why; to ground those actions in a concrete motivation. It’s never trying to excuse anything in this way, but is trying to make a larger statement about social systems and structures of power and how much influence they exert over our choices and options and the futility or utility of our actions. That’s the kind of thing I hope they explore with CP2077, and from all reports it seems that they will. But, it’s also not crazy to be presented with a hand-selected, curated slice of preview content filled with lazy-seeming tropes and exhibit concern about it.

I will admit that the whole trans thing is dumb, based on a poster in the background of a screenshot. There is no possible intent one could gain from that, and CDPR’s response to it has been pretty good and gracious. That said, the RPS article doesn’t even mention it; the whole kerfuffle was generated on social media, which who cares? Social media is pure id.

Great post! I’d be thrilled if the video game industry produced something as mature and incite-full as The Wire. Considering how long it took the television industry to get there, and the current state of most games, I have doubts. But hey, hope springs eternal. Perhaps getting a kerfuffle like this in the mainstream might force the gaming industry to grow the hell up.

Ironically CDPR is simultaneously one of the most likely to get us there, and most likely to disappoint us when the time comes. Their track record shows they are capable of thoughtful and nuanced ideas, and simultaneously prone to massive blind spots and bouts of juvenile actions that undercut such messages.

But with the demise of BioWare I don’t really see many, if any, others poised to step into that space. Not on a AAA scale. Maybe Square Enix? They’ve had their moments, but they often will juggle five balls perfectly while tripping on the threshold.

Do you know something that I don’t?

I stand by my position :)

Not in the literal sense, but in the ‘dev I have interest in, and pushing the industry storytelling forward’ Sense

I’d actually say Rockstar is more likely than CDPR. I even think they’ve been reasonably successful several times (GTAV and RDR2 at least), but are often burdened with a kind of internal incoherence where any particular theme is buried under a host of contradictory other themes. What Rockstar does really well though, I think, is use humor and irony as a way to explore fraught issues.