CD Projekt Red Shuts Down Cyberpunk 2077 Mod That Lets You Smash With Keanu Reeves

Perhaps we should stop using real world likenesses of actors in video games?

Cyberpunk 2077 features a character with the voice and likeness of actor Keanu Reeves named Johnny Silverhand. The game also has sex scenes. And earlier this week, it received official mod support. Well, put all these facts together and the things have reached the natural conclusion of people modding Reeves’ character into the sex scenes, and developer CD Projekt Red has stepped in.

Eurogamer has a pretty extensive report on the original mod by Catmino on Nexus Mods, which used model swapping to put Johnny in the place of a “Joytoy,” which is fancy name for a sex worker found in Cyberpunk 2077 that the player can pay for their services. A first-person sex scene follows, and while a lot of the nitty gritty of the act isn’t shown, it’s still fairly explicit. While Johnny doesn’t have a nude model, it certainly is putting Reeves’ appearance in a situation the actor probably didn’t sign up for when he portrayed Johnny Silverhand. So CD Projekt Red had the mod taken down. In a statement to PC Gamer, the studio said it viewed the mod as “harmful” to Reeves.

 “Our most important rule regarding user-generated content, game mods in particular, is that it can’t be harmful towards others. In the case of model swaps, especially those that involve explicit situations, it can be perceived as such by the people who lent us their appearance for the purpose of creating characters in Cyberpunk 2077.”

“Therefore, when making fan content, creators have to make sure they’ve got permission from all the concerned parties (which might be people other than CD PROJEKT RED). For the characters we’ve invented for the game, we broadly permit you to tweak the game at will and just have fun. When it comes to models of real people whom we’ve asked to participate in the game, we kindly ask you to refrain from using them in any situation that might be found offensive if you don’t have their explicit permission.”

More Cyberpunk 2077:

This is, unfortunately, a possibility whenever real people’s likenesses are used in video games, as modding communities will inevitably get their hands on those and use them however they see fit. But actors agree to facial scans under the pretense that it will be used in a specific way in-game. Personally, I’ve always found the use of real life actors’ appearances unsettling in video games, largely for this reason. I often think back to Elliot Page’s character in Beyond: Two Souls, which featured a detailed nude model of his character. Apparently this was without his permission, as the actor looked into legal action against developer Quantic Dream and Sony when the model leaked. Even the repeated ass shots of Miranda Lawson in the Mass Effect series seem so suspect to me, as I often wonder if actress Yvonne Strahovski was aware her appearance would be used in this way.