Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction that started as a literary movement. Writers like William Gibson (Neuromancer) and Phillip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) are probably the most well-known authors in the genre. Cyberpunk usually features advanced science and technology and is usually set in an urban, dystopian future occupied by privatized police, mega-corporations and criminals. Inequality and social unrest are common themes and the 'punk' in cyberpunk manifests itself in a strong anti-authoritarian sentiment.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep served as the basis of the movie Blade Runner. With its towering skylines and grimy streets illuminated by glaring neon, Blade Runner has probably been the biggest visual influencer of the cyberpunk genre. Although later films and manga like The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell also contributed heavily to the visual development of the genre. Cyberpunk has always been a popular genre in video games. An explanation for this could be that both the cyberpunk genre and games as an art form are partly driven by technology, the internet and technological advancement. Famous cyberpunk games are Deux Ex, Perfect Dark, Speedball and Syndicate.
Visually, Cyberpunk 2077 add something interesting to the mix in the same way that the movie The Fifth Element did. The game juxtapozes the genre staple of a dark and neon-lit nighttime cityscape with a lurid neo- futuristic day-time California. The game is set in Night City. It's a dystopian society in the fictional free state of Northern California, where mega-corporations have essentially replaced all government services and eliminated the middle class in the process. Poverty and crime are pervasive during the night or day.
"We knew how to create beautiful scenery in the night in Night City, like Blade Runner" says game producer Richard Borzymowski in an interview with Engadget. "But creating Cyberpunk 2077 as an open-world game with a day and night cycle, we knew we would have to build Night City in a fashion which will look cool in the daylight as well. This was a bigger challenge to us than night and had us pushing farther."
Beyond the visuals, the setting and early gameplay, not much more is publicly known of Cyberpunk 2077 at this stage but already what has been revealed has been enough to propel the game to the top of many most wanted lists. The confidence among players that studio CD Projekt RED will deliver something groundbreaking again after the lauded The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is strong.
The Dystopian Future of Cyberpunk
News article by
30 Aug 2018 15:19
Updated: 17 Jan 2019 15:39