Every Explanation for Cyberpunk 2077’s Bisexual Erasure Fucking Sucks

Kerry Eurodyne doesn't like me for me, but for the terrorist in my brain.

The following will contain spoilers for Cyberpunk 2077.

It’s been about a month since Cyberpunk 2077 launched, and while it was a largely negative experience for me (and time has not been kind to it for a lot of people), I had a weird moment last week where I was thinking back on parts of it with some serious rose-tinted glasses. This meant getting uncharacteristically misty-eyed over stories I enjoyed in the moment, but didn’t expect to stick with me because of just how fraught the entire game was. It was a moment of clarity for me, realizing how these conflicting feelings gave me a sense of nostalgia for the good moments I had. I acknowledged that the sense of warmth I felt sitting on a pier with Judy as she told me she was leaving Night City could co-exist with the colossal disappointment I felt when I found Evelyn had been unceremoniously killed off in an off-screen suicide

There’s beauty in the back and forth, in the moments of genuine joy and how they are interspersed in the constant fucking annoyance Cyberpunk 2077 elicited from me. After all, it’s what proves that this game was made by hundreds of (crunching) people, and every one of them leaves a mark, good or bad, on a project of this scale. So maybe it’s fine for me to sit here, listening to my Cyberpunk 2077 boyfriend Kerry Eurodyne serenade me on a loop for several hours? Maybe I can write off all the rot of Night City while still holding all of those moments and characters close? Could it be that we as people are multitudinous and- wait, Kerry is a victim of bisexual erasure? 

Nevermind, I hate this game again.

As Gayming Magazine wrote last week and Nat wrote about over the weekend, both Cyberpunk 2077 studio CD Projekt Red and R. Talsorian Games, the developer of the original Cyberpunk tabletop RPGs have come under a little bit of scrutiny for the game’s restrictive romance options. Both generally, and specifically because, according to the original tabletop game, Kerry Eurodyne is supposed to be a bisexual man, but is only romanceable by a male-presenting version of main character V in 2077. This is a man that supposedly has an ex-wife (which did not come up when we were destroying his manager’s yacht and doing the nasty on a burning couch). This was apparently run by original creator Mike Pondsmith and he was chill with it

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Hypothetically, this could have been an interesting way to talk about the fluidity of sexuality, because it’s a totally valid possibility Kerry would consider himself bisexual at one point in his life, but come to identify as gay at some other point. But, it looks like R. Talsorian Games has a different interpretation in mind: Kerry doesn’t have feelings for my version of V, but instead for Johnny Silverhand, the dead terrorist living inside his head. And my being a man makes that association stronger? Or something?

This sucks, man. Now I feel gross for all the times I was wearing a replica of Johnny’s jacket when Kerry and I were on dates. And frankly, it just doesn’t really add up with the story the game tells to begin with. As far as the romantic story between V and Kerry is concerned, there are clearly unresolved issues involving Johnny, but it’s always in the context of his professional trajectory. The two were in a band together when Johnny was still alive, and he wanted to thrive out from his bandmate’s shadow. There are lines that imply Kerry is dealing with the reality that the man he’s interested in is an unwilling host to the man he played music with back in the day, but if he’s bisexual, what difference does it make how V presents? And if Johnny being the source of Kerry’s feelings makes it so important my character has a body and voice similar to his for the relationship to happen, it brings into question just whether or not this connection is actually between V and Kerry, or if I am some kind of proxy for him to get with someone he thought he could never have?

Once all is said and done, it doesn’t really hold up. In the ending I chose, Johnny was excised from V’s brain, and yet I still woke up with Kerry in my bed a few months after. We did talk about how whatever he felt for Johnny was gone now. Whether that was professional resentment or romantic feelings, he’s here for V. So why does it matter if they present as masculine or feminine?

That’s all been covered before in Nat’s write-up. But as a gay man who was at first not satisfied with Kerry’s romance but came around on it in the end, it just feels like no one can have anything with this game. Trans and non-binary people deal with the rigid binary of how it lets players present, people of color see the game revel in racial stereotypes, and here I am, a gay man having the entirety of the lone act of representation I can commit in the game become so muddy I’m questioning the whole relationship my character was in. It’s starting to feel like Judy had the right idea. Maybe leaving Night City and never looking back, even in a nostalgic way, is the right call.

The whole thing feels mechanical, like, in the interest of fairness and sticking with the rigid binary of everything Cyberpunk 2077 presents, Kerry had to be a gay romance only, and they had to find a way to reconcile that with established lore. And to do that they decided to make the relationship tied to a third party, making the whole thing feel uncomfortably disingenuous. Like Kerry is only here because of the parasite in my brain.

I’ve never been one to consider a creator’s vision of something the end all be all of interpretations, especially when I don’t feel it holds up with the story that’s presented. But goddamn, the creators’ view of Cyberpunk 2077 sure is trying its damndest to shout over the sweet sound of Kerry singing to me on his manager’s boat.

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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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