Let’s be real, Cyberpunk 2077’s marketing up to this point has been fraught with a handful of, well, disasters leading up to its launch on December 10 following its recent three-week delay. From spotlighting its heavy use of racial stereotypes without a second thought, use of suicidal themes to illustrate how even those who are dead can be brought back to life with technology, and a history of sexualizing trans bodies and then doubling down on it, Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that’s warranting caution for a lot of people. That’s not even counting how the project has become a cornerstone of the crunch conversation after the studio mandated a six-day work week to avoid a delay it ended up going through with anyway. Marketing can be misleading, whether intentionally or not, but even if that’s the case, there’s still reason for a lot of people to be wary about just what CD Projekt Red is putting out into the world in a few weeks. With all that being said, the studio released its final Night City Wire stream focusing on things like actor Keanu Reeves’ character, the soundtrack, and its use of machine-automated facial animation, so it seems to be avoiding some of the less savory topics for the final stream of its kind.
First up was a showcase of Keanu Reeves’ character Johnny Silverhand, both in giving you a glimpse of who this digital hallucination in your character’s head will be, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the actor’s experience starring in the game. And Johnny, uh, seems just delightful. Reeves runs through the process of playing the ghost your character will see throughout the game, including the voice acting, motion capture, and recreating his likeness in-game.
Next up was a showcase of the game’s soundtrack, both the score, and the one featuring contributing artists like Grimes, Run the Jewels, and several others. For the score, the goal was to give the game a 90s tone with a dirty, heavy flare, juxtaposed by more ambient work, as well. Each area of Night City has a dedicated track list that is meant to keep the music in theme with wherever you are at the time. As for the soundtrack, all of these songs will be playable through the in-game radio, as well as during very specific moments in the game where they’re meant to fit. A six-track EP has been released to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music today.
The final spotlight was given to JALI, machine-learning animation tech that helped animate faces across the entire game, and streamlined the translation process by animating lip syncing for all the languages the game is being voiced for.
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The show finally concluded with a five-minute long gameplay trailer, which showcased the game’s open world crime-driven politics, and customization options.
For more on Cyberpunk 2077 and the cyberpunk genre’s history, be sure to check out Alexis Ong’s inciteful and thorough write-up on the matter.