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Cyberpunk 2077’s Romance Update is Small, But Meaningful

It's the little things.

Cyberpunk 2077 is finally on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, and along with those ports came the 1.5 update. The patch has a fair amount of quality-of-life tweaks, new apartments to buy, and even the ability to customize your main character V during the story. But during developer CD Projekt Red’s stream announcing the update, one thing caught my attention above all else: The patch brings new content to the game’s four romance options.

Romance in Cyberpunk 2077 was fraught for me. As a gay man, I had one (1) option, which was the burnt-out rocker man Kerry Eurodyne. He’s an asshole, and his romance carries a lot of baggage around the game’s already rigid perceptions of sexuality. But like several parts of Cyberpunk 2077, I’ve come around on him over the past year — probably because of some rose-colored glasses. So even though I didn’t care for the relationship when I first played, I’ve since thought back on it fondly, and think it’s one of the biggest pillars of why my story as V wrapped up so effectively. And now there’s a little bit more to it. While the new content isn’t much, it does remind me that the mundane moments can be some of the sweetest in a video game romance.

Cyberpunk 2077’s Romance Update is Small, But Meaningful

To the original game’s credit, the four romantic subplots were reasonably meaty. Between Kerry, brain dance expert Judy Alvarez, nomad Panam Palmer, and Night City cop River Ward, each character gets a lengthy questline and is woven pretty well into Cyberpunk 2077’s endgame, depending on which ending you pick. However, the game still holistically centers Panam in one ending, and no other romance option gets this treatment in the others. If you’re hoping for new content that’s going to make up for that imbalance, it’s not in this update. But 1.5 brings small little details that prolong romances, making each character feel more ingrained in V’s life.

Universally, each character gets new text message threads to expand each of their stories. In my first hour of playing the patch, I’ve received new texts from Judy and Kerry. Judy is visiting her grandparents in Oregon and Kerry is still jazzed about how we blew up his manager’s yacht (shortly after having sex on his couch and setting it on fire). These text conversations were already plentiful in Cyberpunk 2077, but it feels nice to once again touch base with the people of Night City who I care about, especially because these messages pop up in between my interactions with many characters I don’t care to see at all. This is the simplest way for CD Projekt Red to implement new character interactions, as it doesn’t require voice acting like new questlines would.

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But my favorite new addition to the romance doesn’t have any dialogue at all. Now, I can go to Kerry’s house on the nice side of Night City, shower, sit with him on the couch and talk, then head upstairs to bed and sleep. Doing so has a new perk of regenerating health and gives a timed experience boost. And when I open my eyes, Kerry’s there too. It’s nice to wake up with your lover by your side.

Cyberpunk 2077’s Romance Update is Small, But Meaningful

Even with an AI of Keanu Reeves living inside your head, a lot of Cyberpunk 2077 can feel solitary. You often communicate with the people you’re closest to in Night City through a text message or a video call. Even during the darkest moments of Cyberpunk 2077’s endgame, I had to talk to Kerry through a phone call, just hoping that I would be able to return to him after a dangerous dash into the unknown. In my ending, I was able to wake up beside him in a fancy apartment, having gone from a two-bit thug to a god of Night City. It was a special moment because even after Kerry and I established our relationship, it still felt like we were living deliberately separate lives. Something as simple as waking up next to someone can be a reminder that, despite one of you being a famous musician and the other a merc with a time bomb in his head, you’re sharing this life for however much longer it will last.

A few more texts here and there are good. New quests and actual stories with my Cyberpunk 2077 boyfriend would be even better, and I hope they come in the form of future DLC or expansions now that CD Projekt Red seems to be moving on from bug fixes to adding content and improvements. But for now, it’s nice to just have somewhere to rest my head and wake up with that jerk lying next to me, reminding me I’ve got something to come back to as I throw myself into Night City once again.

About the Author

Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Staff Writer at Fanbyte. He still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.