Cyberpunk 2077 has caused confusion related to one of its queer romance options: an ostensibly gay man named Kerry Eurodyne.
Except that’s not quite the case in the Cyberpunk universe. Kerry is only available as a romance option for male-presenting V in Cyberpunk 2077 and is portrayed as a gay man. However, he is bisexual in the original tabletop game created by Mike Pondsmith. Additionally, he is the only Cyberpunk 2077 romance option who is also a character in the tabletop RPG. This has left players, especially LGBTQ+ players, conflicted about how to see Kerry.
The contradictions between developer CD Projekt Red’s statements and that of R. Talsorian Games, the publisher of the pen and paper role-playing game, aren’t helping clear things up. In the replies to his thread clarifying the game’s romance options, posted on Dec. 10, 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 quest director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz said the choice to make Kerry gay was one the developer consulted with Mike Pondsmith. R. Talsorian Games affirmed this with a simple reply going, “Yep.”
But things became confusing after R. Talsorian Games responded to a Twitter user who expressed they felt this was bisexual erasure. “Honestly, we still consider Kerry to be bisexual,” replied R. Talsorian Games. Additionally, they provided the context that, “with male-presenting V vs female-presenting V we suspect Kerry’s attraction is deeply rooted into unresolved issues involving Johnny. Male-presenting V fits that particular mold better, to his subconscious.” This context, while potentially intriguing, isn’t particularly explored in the game, and has only led to more confusion about Kerry’s romance.
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Cyberpunk 2077 is already a very restrictive game when it comes to romance. If Kerry Eurodyne is, in fact, bisexual, it could have helped alleviate some of those issues for him to have been an option for a female-presenting V, as well. However, the lack of clarity on this has made it all more confusing and ended up restricting a romance that could have been for everyone to a very specific subset of players.
People who roleplay as a heterosexual male-presenting V, or a queer one who is into women, have Panam Palmer as their option. Those who play as a female-presenting V who is heterosexual, bisexual, or otherwise into men have River Ward. And those who play as a lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or otherwise queer female-presenting V have Judy Alvarez — who is and has always been a lesbian, thank you very much. (In the same thread, Tomaszkiewicz explicitly confirms this.)
The additional context regarding Johnny Silverhand and Kerry only makes things more difficult to understand. Kerry associating a male-presenting V more closely with Johnny, and being more attracted to him as a result, shouldn’t change his sexuality as a bisexual man. As one reply to R. Talsorian Games says, “I am not straight when dating a man and I am not a lesbian when dating a woman. I am bisexual. To try to call me otherwise is bi erasure and plays into a lot of biphobic stereotypes.”
In a role-playing sense, it’s also left those who have romanced Kerry feeling uncomfortable with the idea that Kerry is less into V on his own terms, and more into Johnny. An in-game exploration of this could’ve led to an interesting romance with complicated story beats, but again, this isn’t evident in the final product. In turn, this feels like it invalidates the only relationship accessible to queer men. Without spoilers, it also doesn’t really hold up in the end, either, for it’s clear throughout Cyberpunk 2077 that the grounds for Kerry and V’s relationship are found in each other and not Johnny.
But the issue isn’t just about Kerry’s relationship with V. It’s just as much, and perhaps even more so, about Kerry as a character who is prevented from being an authentically bisexual man. It makes celebrating him as a gay man in Cyberpunk 2077 extremely complicated, for doing so requires the acknowledgment that this character’s sexuality differs across the material. And sexuality can certainly change. (I once thought I was straight when, haha, I’m absolutely not.) Kerry could have been bisexual at one point in his life and then later discovered that he’s gay. This would’ve been an easier explanation — and one that doesn’t undermine his relationship with V by making it about someone else. However, Kerry isn’t a real person; he’s a fictional character. And the universe in which he exists doesn’t acknowledge or address this possibility, so this credit can’t be given.
As Gayming Magazine‘s Deputy Editor, Aimee Hart, states in the piece that shed light on this issue, “It’s important to have both bisexual and gay characters in the media we consume – but what do you do when you erase one for the other? What’s the answer? I don’t know. And from the looks of it, neither does anyone else.”