The Unexpected Depth of Cyberpunk 2077

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but after finally finishing the entire game–and I mean going through all the side-gigs, all the hustles, and the entire main storyline including the multiple endings–I can finally say that I am simultaneously baffled and underwhelmed by the details CDPR has put into the game.

So, we all know Claire. In case you don’t, Claire is the bartender at the Afterlife. She’ll call you after a few in-game days into Act 2, inviting you along to a racing side quest (with a twist). As you walk into her garage, you’ll see her truck, Beast.

Claire’s rig, Beast. There is also another pride flag painted on the console of the car.

The first thing I noticed about Beast is that she has the transgender pride flag painted on the back. At first, I thought it was because Claire was just a big fan of the flag’s color scheme. Hey, it’s not a bad looking flag. But it made more sense if she was an ally, right?

Then, I thought, “Is Claire trans?”

So I did the most logical thing a person playing an RPG would do. I went and snooped around her place for answers. I looked into her messages and found her old emails with her late husband, Dean. When I saw Dean, I wondered, is Dean trans? They’re married, maybe she just put the trans flag on their car–because they did the racing thing together–to show support. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything there. I wasn’t surprised, so I continued on with the quest.

Spoiler alert, by the way.

When we won the third race, Claire asked me to pull up ahead to have a talk. If you pick your dialogue carefully–by asking her to tell you more about Dean–she’ll reveal to you one line about her transition.

The only direct mention of Claire being a transwoman.

And I was baffled. It was a fleeting line, she says it then moves on. V doesn’t linger on it. I am completely blown away by the way they handled it. I loved it. It shouldn’t need to be on the main spotlight, being broadcasted whenever and wherever they can. Other than the flag that she parades on her car–which, by the way, you don’t need to pick to race with other than the Badlands race–there is virtually no other reference to her being trans. Even that line of dialogue can be missed.

That is amazing. It’s perfect trans representation–not shoved down your throat, not the main driving point of the story, and never really affects anything. Claire is just a woman hellbent on revenge, who just happens to be trans. Trans people don’t owe you their life story and if they don’t want to share it, they don’t need to. Kudos to CDPR.

Another nice detail that the team at CDPR has put in the game are the fates of Meredith Stout and Anthony Gilchrist. In case you forgot, Meredith Stout is a corpo and the Senior Operations Manager for Militech. During Act 1, Dexter DeShawn (the fixer who organizes the heist that kickstarts the rest of the game’s main story) will mention her as the corporate agent investigating an attack on a Militech convoy carrying an arms shipment, from which Maelstrom (a local gang) obtained the Flathead (a robot that you need for the heist). She was in charge of the convoy and is desperate to recover it before her superiors noticed, leading her to accuse her colleague Anthony Gilchrist of being the mole who was involved in its disappearance. You can approach Meredith for help, which, if you choose your dialogue right, will lead to her agreeing to help you in retrieving the Flathead.

If you’re a nasty boy, you can betray her by removing the virus from her chip or pay with your own cash, which will lead to Meredith failing to recover her convoy. Anthony will be the one greeting you outside of All Foods, telling you that Meredith had made one mistake too many. After this, you can find her tortured corpse at the Northside Industrial District harbor, at the bottom of the ocean with her feet incased in concrete.

If you are a good corpo boy, you’ll leave her spiked chip alone and kill Royce along the way. After that mission, she will meet you outside of the All Foods Plant. After that, she’ll text you and invite you for a fling. See, the thing is, during the mission in All Foods, you can actually find out that Meredith is right: Anthony Gilchrist is the mole. That begs the question–since Meredith dies if Anthony greets you, does the opposite happen?

The answer is: yes.

You can find Anthony’s dead, naked body right where you initially met up with Meredith. He’ll be lying there against the wall for you to make fun of. That man had it coming–which, by the way, V will say if you scan him.

He’s not T-posing this time.

Another little thing that I noticed in my second playthrough (as a nomad) is the iguana. During my first playthrough (as a corpo, made specifically to bed Meredith), I was so rushed to grab the Relic that I didn’t take the time to explore. You can actually comment on the iguana and Jackie will respond. As I was a nomad the second time, the backstory of V and Jackie were a little different, which I believe reflected on the dialogue whenever you scan the iguana. Nomad V meets Jackie to do a job–smuggling contraband into Night City. After the job fails, you can open the box which turns out to be… an iguana! That is reflected when V and Jackie talk about the iguana seen in Yorinobu’s penthouse.

Adam Smasher knows you’re here.

Speaking of Yorinobu’s penthouse, there will be a section where you are forced to hide in the pillar as Yorinobu and Adam Smasher make their way back up. If you have the Threat Detector mod on your Kiroshi Optics, Adam Smasher will be outlined in red. Now, the thing is, Threat Detector is a mod that automatically highlights enemies who have detected you. So, Smasher knows you’re there. If you zoom in on him when he stops moving, you can also find him staring directly at you, so there’s no doubt about it.

There is a lot of speculation regarding why Adam Smasher detects you during this scene, especially since he doesn’t do anything about it. Some people say that it’s a bug, since Smasher is the only character in that scene that uses the enemy model, so the game automatically highlights him. Others say it’s part of the lore, as Smasher is interested in becoming the Head of Security, so he wants to see how things play out. Or, he just doesn’t view you as a threat, so he doesn’t say anything.

Regardless, it’s a neat thing that I will consider as a Bethesda’s Bug. You don’t know if it’s supposed to be there but it’s cool that it is.

These are just a few neat things that I’ve seen and find interesting, but at the same time, it’s kind of sad in a game as big as Cyberpunk 2077, these are the only ones that people talk about. The game is simultaneously full of life and empty at the same time, because after the first act, the game doesn’t have that much going on for it in the environmental storytelling department.

If you noticed, other than Claire (whom you also meet during the first act), all of these things happen during Act 1 of the game. It feels like the team at CDPR poured all their attention into the first act and then the deadline came, so they cobbled the rest of the game together to meet the release date.

Still, it’s a fun game after Act 1 if you ignore all the bugs. Like this one:

Missing asset box walking around the city.

Ah, well. Thanks for Claire, CDPR.

Categories: game reviews, reviews

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