If you've ever wondered what main characters look like early in the development process, well, here's your chance, as a modder has found placeholder models of many of Cyberpunk 2077's characters - and even "restored" some of them to make them playable. In as much as you can restore something that was never intended to make the final cut, anyway.
The Ghosts of Night City mod by Hineytroll reveals a whole bunch of unused character assets, including for main characters like Rogue, Jackie and Judy. These all appear to be placeholders, and while some barely resemble their final characters, others look far closer to the finished product. And, to be honest, they're just quite funny to look at.
Here are some screenshots of Judy, Lizzy Wizzy, Jackie, Rogue and Panam, who all vaguely resemble their final versions - aside from Panam's extremely blonde hair, perhaps. I'm now christening this bunch Jody, Dizzy Mizzy, Juckie, Rague and Ponom.
On the other end of the spectrum, some of these character models - such as those for Takemura, Evelyn, Placide and Adam Smasher - all look extremely different from what we got at release. I guess that's Adam Smasher before he got, er, smashed. Placide looks like several kids standing inside an adult's coat.
Hineytroll went a step further than simply making the unused appearances viewable, however: they also made some standalone mods to allow you to swap final versions for these older models. There's an "original Judy" swap mod and another one for Lizzy Wizzy - and there's even one for Meredith Stout. Although I warn you that this is very, very NSFW. Not much clothing to be swapped, I guess.
If you fancy shaking up your NPC crowds, Ghosts of Night City also allows you to replace certain spawn groups with these unused appearances - although frankly, seeing that Placide wandering around might break my immersion just a little.
The use of placeholder assets is a common practice in game development, and these particular models were never intended to make the final cut. But it's still amusing to see how devs created bare-bones versions of these characters, and which items and cosmetics they used to get the right vibe. Modders have also been busy uncovering information about unreleased quests that could potentially arrive in upcoming free DLC updates, so if you're interested in getting a peek at that, you can check out their findings over here.