Cyberpunk 2077 Sequences Are Triggering Epileptic Seizures [UPDATE]

The Braindance segment uses light patterns that are used in the diagnosis of epilepsy.

Update 2: Now that Cyberpunk 2077 is out, CD Projekt Red has posted a warning in the game about the offending scene, but as of this writing the warning only appears on the PC version. As Polygon notes, quick fixes like this can’t go through as quickly on consoles due to manufacturers like Microsoft and Sony having their own certification processes. Given that literally millions of people are playing this game today, Sony and Microsoft need to fast track this update and push it through. There’s an actual health risk at play here. Let’s not fuck around.

Here’s a screenshot of the warning, courtesy of Launcher’s Elise Favis.

Update: CD Projekt Red has posted a tweet acknowledging the situation to Cyberpunk 2077’s Twitter profile saying it will be adding an additional warning alongside the stand one seen in the game’s End User License Agreement. The studio is working to implement a more permanent solution “as soon as possible,” but didn’t specify any more than that.

Original story follows: Cyberpunk 2077 reviews went live yesterday, and while we here at Fanbyte will be covering the game in the coming days, other outlets are able to cover the game in a more holistic way. And Liana Ruppert over at Game Informer wrote about her experience playing the game, and how some plot critical moments actually triggered an epileptic seizure for her.

According to her account, Ruppert suffered an epileptic seizure during one of the braindance segments, which used blinking red and white lights. The same light pattern is used by doctors to induce and diagnose epilepsy. If you’re prone to seizures, this is something you absolutely should be aware of if you’re planning on playing Cyberpunk 2077. Ruppert recounted the specific moment her seizure was triggered in hopes that knowing when this was coming might help people stay safe.

Braindances are something that CDPR has been talking about as a feature for awhile now, and it’s an intricate part of the story from start to finish. BD’s allow players to interface with memories, often of the deceased, by plugging into a mainframe and diving in. Pretty much everything about this is a trigger and this is something that caused me to have a grand mal seizure when playing to help with our review. This is also a trigger on many levels, starting with the device itself.

When “suiting up” for a BD, especially with Judy, V will be given a headset that is meant to onset the instance. The headset fits over both eyes and features a rapid onslaught of white and red blinking LEDs, much like the actual device neurologists use in real life to trigger a seizure when they need to trigger one for diagnosis purposes. If not modeled off of the IRL design, it’s a very spot-on coincidence, and because of that this is one aspect that I would personally advise you to avoid altogether. When you notice the headset come into play, look away completely or close your eyes. This is a pattern of lights designed to trigger an epileptic episode and it very much did that in my own personal playthrough.

Once inside of a BD, there are several layers to “explore” the memory, including a soundwave layer, a thermal layer, and a more digitized way of scanning. Each offers specific glitch animations that could be a danger, especially with the digitized layer. While these can’t be avoided for the story, you can pause and play as you wish within these scenarios, making it easier to tailor them where needed, or to call in a gamer backup buddy if absolutely necessary (shoutout to my husband for helping me when the BD’s were longer than usual).

Here’s a screenshot of the moment in question, courtesy of Eurogamer.

A lot games have a warning as they boot up that tells people that video games can possibly cause seizures, but it’s not often that a game actively uses triggering lighting like this. While developers over at CD Projekt Red likely had no intention of harming people, it’s a failure on a few fronts that the game passed certification on all platforms without anyone pointing out this would be a problem.

More Cyberpunk 2077:

As of this writing, CD Projekt Red has yet to respond to the report. Given that the game is two days away, the studio doesn’t have a lot of time to patch out the triggering sequence, but that definitely needs to be moved up to the top of its priorities. If you’re prone to seizures, please consider holding off on playing Cyberpunk 2077 until something is done.

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Kenneth Shepard

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

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