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2020 in preview: Cyberpunk 2077 could bring a reemergence of the cyberpunk genre

A sprawling cybernetic world.

Now that 2020 is here we're having a little look ahead at some of the year's new games that have us intrigued.

Like many people, my introduction to the world of cyberpunk was William Gibson's novel Neuromancer. Fourteen year old Lottie instantly became immersed in a society where the line between reality and cyberspace was slowly fading away, where megacorporations have replaced governments and it's impossible to tell exactly how human anyone is. (She also had a bit of a crush on razorgirl Molly Millions.)

My love for cyberpunk as a genre is why I'm both excited and a little bit nervous for Cyberpunk 2077. From what we've seen from the current Cyberpunk 2077 trailers, the game's depiction of the genre is based on the tropes that were established during its founding years. Night City is divided into the people favoured by the ruling corporations and those they'd rather forget. V, the protagonist, is a cybernetically enhanced mercenary, who gains the ability to stream the emotions of another person into their brain. It does sound like the synopsis for a 1985 cyberpunk novel, which I'm looking forward to playing, but, at the same time, I would also like to see Cyberpunk 2077 develop the genre.

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Cyberpunk was inspired by the growth of computers in the 80s and the early idea of what would become the Internet. Today nearly every home has some form of computer and most of us are connected to the Internet in some form 24/7, meaning that, in a way, some of the tropes of cyberpunk have become a reality. This development means that cyberpunk has to change to reflect the current use and worries about technology in our society. How would social media be integrated with cybernetic enhancements? What would deep fake technology be like in a cyberpunk world?

These are the kind of questions I'm hoping Cyberpunk 2077 will use the cyberpunk genre to explore, rather than simply relying on ideas that have been retold for over thirty years. It would also be great if I can give V retractable blades beneath their fingernails.

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