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Cyberpunk 2077 - Review Thread

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    820

JORMBO

Darkness no more
Mar 5, 2009
12,605
21,719
1,900



Metacritic: 87 | Opencritic: 82

Developer: CD Projekt Red
Release: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Xbox One - 10 December 2020 | PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S update - 2021
Backwards compatible on PS5 and XBSX

Cyberpunk 2077 is an upcoming action role-playing video game developed and published by CD Projekt. It is scheduled to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Stadia, and Xbox One on 10 December 2020, and for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S in 2021. The story takes place in Night City, an open world set in the Cyberpunk universe. Players assume the first-person perspective of a customisable mercenary known as V, who can acquire skills in hacking and machinery with options for melee and ranged combat.​

A note about CD Projekt Red:
CD Projekt S.A. (Polish: [ˌt͡sɛˈdɛ ˈprɔjɛkt]) is a Polish video game developer, publisher and distributor based in Warsaw, founded in May 1994 by Marcin Iwiński and Michał Kiciński. Iwiński and Kiciński were video game retailers before they founded the company, which initially acted as a distributor of foreign video games for the domestic market. The department responsible for developing original games, CD Projekt Red, best known for The Witcher series, was formed in 2002. In 2008, CD Projekt launched the digital distribution service GOG.com (originally as Good Old Games).



Windows Central: 5/5
Despite an impressive array of bugs and glitches, Cyberpunk 2077 remains an experience without peer. No punches pulled, no platitudes are given, and no compromises are made. Cyberpunk 2077 is an industry highpoint that, simply put, may never be bested. Right now, and without hesitation, I am overjoyed to say Cyberpunk 2077 is everything I've ever wanted from a game. It is the best game I have ever played.

Games Rader: 5/5
Cyberpunk 2077 is a paragon of open-world gaming, offering the kind of freedom to explore and define your character that provides a new pinnacle for the genre. It takes everything we celebrate about open-world games, and learns from it, implementing best-in-class variations in a world that's so dense and detailed. Add in the human-like level of reactivity and emotional depth that it brings to its narrative, and it all combines for the most spectacular experience. Take a trip to Night City immediately.

VG247: 5/5
In the midst of such intense anticipation and scrutiny, it’s easy to get carried away with what Cyberpunk 2077 could have been. The final experience might be more familiar than many predicted, with plenty of elements that aren’t perfect, but it’s dripping with detail and engaging stories. With so much to see and do, Cyberpunk 2077 is the kind of RPG where you blink and hours go by, which is just what we need to finish off 2020.

VGC: 5/5
When it works properly, Cyberpunk 2077 is an unmissable experience for fans of story-focused games both big and small. But again, it’s tough for us to urge you to jump in at launch without that big caveat of its numerous release bugs. However, if you can swallow a few glitches in the system, Cyberpunk 2077 is undoubtedly one of the most memorable games you’ll play this year. We can’t wait to reroll our character and play through it all over again.

The Gamer: 5/5
I’m V and the game is Silverhand - I can’t get Cyberpunk 2077 out of my head. I’ve had it a week and played 70 hours, which is probably about as healthy as scooping out my face and replacing it with electronics, but it didn’t feel like work. Like a digital personality loaded onto a biochip, it felt like stepping into another life for a while. It’s a life I can’t wait to relive.

PowerUp: 10
In Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red has created a phenomenal tour de force and a game that’s unlikely to be matched anytime soon. It is an important game and one that demands to be played.

Stevivor: 95
The most important thing that everyone needs to know about Cyberpunk 2077 is that while it’s imperfect, it is without a doubt a superb game. You’ll connect with V, worry about which way the story will go and stress over the aspects of it that you can control because you’ll want only the best outcome for them. You’ll raise your eyebrows at the graphical bugs showing up in a game eight years in the making (and thrice delayed) and then quickly forget them all as you bask in the beauty of Night City; the greatest video game world ever built. You’ll feel firstly overwhelmed by the number of upgrades to consider, and then underwhelmed by their lack of necessity as you hurtle towards its end game. Enjoy the ride, a satisfying one without question.

PCGamesN: 9
Cyberpunk 2077 might not push quite as many boundaries in game design as a landmark release could, but if it can convince more people that games can and should take a position on issues of substance rather than peddle mindless thrills, that’ll be a worthy legacy.

IGN: 9
Cyberpunk 2077 kicks you into its beautiful and dazzlingly dense cityscape with few restrictions. It offers a staggering amount of choice in how to build your character, approach quests, and confront enemies, and your decisions can have a tangible and natural-feeling impact on both the world around you and the stories of the people who inhabit it. Those stories can be emotional, funny, dark, exciting, and sometimes all of those things at once. The main quest may be shorter than expected when taken on its own and it’s not always clear what you need to do to make meaningful changes to its finale, but the multitude of side quests available almost from the start can have a surprisingly powerful effect on the options you have when you get there. It’s a shame that frustratingly frequent bugs can occasionally kill an otherwise well-set mood, but Cyberpunk 2077’s impressively flexible design makes it a truly remarkable RPG.

RPG Site: 9
Right now, Cyberpunk is therefore a game that ultimately falls short of the heady heights CD Projekt RED set for itself with The Witcher 3 - though that is mostly down to clear struggles with the source material and the previously-mentioned raft of bugs and issues. Hopefully these are fixed in time. It remains a mind-boggling achievement, however - and a game whose influence is likely to be felt for years to come.
Game Informer: 9
Cyberpunk 2077 is dark and disturbing at times (frighteningly so), but the majority of its content is fascinating, and loaded with depth through the various RPG systems and lore. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Night City, and Johnny Silverhand is a great partner to see the sights with. Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t overstay its welcome with its critical-path story, and invites players to jack in and stay for hundreds of hours of unique content should they want to. It didn't blow me away like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but is still a hell of an opening to what will hopefully be a new series.

Game Watcher: 9
It’s story and narrative kept me glued to the screen, and everything – from sex scenes and romance options to Keanu Reeves trying to kill you or help you throughout the game – are remarkably well done. Cyberpunk 2077 is a game crafted with love, and it shows.

Trusted Reviews: 4/5
Cyberpunk 2077 is awash with technical issues, ranging from animation problems where characters float through integral story sequences to combat encounters where enemies simply fail to register your presence, surrendering to a barrage of bullets as repetitive voice lines spew from their unmoving lips. Moments like this let 2077 down, and hopefully they will be fixed in future updates.

Screen Rant: 80
Cyberpunk 2077 is ultimately a game that is tailor-made for multiple playthroughs. The more skills V unlocks and the deeper they sink into the conspiracies of Night City, the more it becomes clear that this is a game which fans will happily sink their time into, well past the relatively short main campaign. CD Projekt Red assembled a collection of the finest open-world mechanics we've already seen, and most of them work well. Ultimately, it feels like Cyberpunk 2077 is a fitting bookend for the previous generation of games and a strong starting point for current-gen. Now it's time to start innovating again.
PC Gamer: 78
I found it moving and life-affirming in the final moments, even in the face of near certain death and a relentless onslaught of bugs. I suppose it's an appropriate thematic throughline though: Cyberpunk 2077 is a game about V coming apart at the seams, in a city coming apart at the seams, in a game coming apart at the seams. Play it in a few months.
Gamespot: 7
But then it's hard to get into Cyberpunk 2077's world in general. So much of it is superficial set dressing, and there's so much happening all around you--ads going off at all times, gunfights breaking out in the streets, texts coming in about cars you'll never buy--that a lot of the game feels superfluous. The side quests and the characters they showcase are the shining beacon through the neon-soaked bleakness of Night City, and they give you room to explore the best the core RPG mechanics have to offer. These are what carried me through an otherwise disappointing experience.

VentureBeat: 60
A lot of the game is just there to look good. And that’s fine — but it means I don’t want to spend a lot of time wandering around the world. If the environment primarily exists to look dope in the background while I’m doing the quests, then I’ll probably mostly stick to the main story, see what happens, and then bounce. It’s fine to make a game like that — for many, that’s the promise of Cyberpunk 2077. It just wasn’t the promise to me.

Tom's Hardware PC Performance Preview & Impressions:

Laymen Gaming:

YongYea:

Easy Allies:

WhatCulture:

MrMattyPlays:


NeoGAF OT:
 
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iJudged

Member
Sep 14, 2013
2,468
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715
it's happening people

my prediction is 86 MC...let's see
 
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billyxci

Formerly 'billyjoexci'
Aug 3, 2014
13,815
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don't really care about reviews personally. the game is bought and installed. still i'm here for anything cyberpunk. will be interesting to see people react. i think A LOT of people are gonna have their balloon burst cause there is too much unrealistic expectations. if it's half as good as Witcher 3 then it'll be a bloody fantastic game.
 

THEAP99

Banned
Mar 16, 2020
3,628
9,545
670
92 when the dust settles and all the reviews actually come in. It will not be as awarded as witcher 3.

Disclaimer: don't expect tons of reviews today allegedly. The reason we got the final delay was so it could hit 90 metacritic

Anything below 89 will be humiliating for the developers can't imagine the uncertainty they're going through
 
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cr0w

Old Member
Aug 31, 2015
3,221
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parody post
CDPR is a transphobic company. That will read as being incendiary but there's little else that fits when there's a history spanning years of their disdain, mocking of and disregard for trans identities in their games, conduct and promotions. From the outset I want to make it clear that coming in with "they support LGBT" isn't needed here. It's of no material concern that members of the company go to Pride. The LGBT community isn't some homogenous lump and never has been. Many people within the community and out support the LG&B while holding contempt and dislike for the T. This topic is about that final letter and the way in which this company has repeatedly proven that they hold no regard for us in their output.

All of the below are conscious actions being spoken to. What is also worth highlighting is the lack of action as well. CDPR across these past two years have been in every position, both in knowledge and ability, to extend an olive branch toward the trans community. In among their many delays they had the option to incorporate feedback from the community and haven't. In amongst all of the videos of cars, guns, chrome and gangs they had the opportunity to take the concerns to heart and deep dive into how gender and trans representation is being handled with nuance in CP77. They haven't. This speaks as much to their intent as the elements below, and is worth considering among them.

Nor can any of this be put down to an instance of a well-meaning blunder toward being progressive, which I might buy on a single incident from a small studio. This is a giant international corporation who, had they the intent of being inclusive as a focus of the game, would have managed to avoid any of the below. This – not being repeatedly transphobic – is something that most other major companies manage to avoid. There are trans charities in Poland and many internationally that could have been brought in from the start to consult. This is a company that is content to wave inclusivity around to garner press while committing no legwork or depth of thought toward it.


Context
-

I want to start by giving some grounding to the issue as far too often we have the refrain of "it's just a game" levelled against us. The truth is that the majority of people don't know someone who is openly trans. Have had no known contact with someone that is openly trans and therefore have little direct relation to the issues we face, our lives and our bodies. The majority of information people do receive about us is via the media they consume. The issue here is that trans representation or depiction in media has historically been either through mockery or disgust, and more commonly now – fetishization. We are set dressing for laughs, for being reviled or for pleasure. Frequently reduced down to our genitals and bodies in favour of seeing a person. Due to this, the way media presents us is in direct relation to the abuse, harm and threats we face in life. For more of an understanding around this in relation to film, I recommend the Netflix documentary Disclosure. This issue extends across all media, including games and print. People frequently perceive us through these depictions and when we're presented as little more than a joke, that's what we're taken as.

So if it is 'just a game' to you, consider why it isn't able to be for others. How you can help others enjoy them as just games, and not something they have to question how much mockery or harm they're expected to endure while interacting with them.


Tweets
-

On the 20th August 2018 the official Cyberpunk twitter posted this tweet response:



This initial instance can seem innocuous on the surface but it's a transphobic line conjured around "outrage culture" and the notion that trans people are looking to be offended. Which, naturally, is a common pushback from people that are being offensive and how this joke is usually employed. Trans people don't respond to being misgendered with "did you assume my gender?". In fact most trans people are terrified of even raising the fact that they are being misgendered. Contesting this is something that can frequently put you in harms way and unless you're speaking to an out and out ally it's always a dice roll as to how it will be received. Often it will be through mocking, and this is where the point of transphobic jokes is worth highlighting. It renders our identities as fanciful and frivolous; something to be tolerated instead of accepted. When trans identities aren't taken seriously it directly affects our ability to live as who we are.

There is no distinction between the joke and the transphobia because transphobia has persistently centered itself around the notion that we are a joke.

In response Cyberpunk posted this:



People who have had to deal with bigotry will recognise the all-too-common apology of "sorry to those offended". The apology isn't a recognition that their actions were transphobic nor a statement that trans identities are valid. Instead it appeals to that which we've just mentioned; those that see trans people as people constantly offended by everything. It doesn't offer a recognition that the act itself was the issue, but that it happened to offend some people.

This can be evidenced by the responses, some of which shown below, which are a crowd of fans CDPR has increasingly become conscious of and pander toward:






A couple of months later, on the 22nd October 2018, the twitter account for CDPR's online storefront GOG posted this tweet:



This made light of the hashtag #WontBeErased on Twitter that, at the time, was trending because of a Trump administration memo that proposed a strict definition of gender based on a person’s genitalia at birth. Something that would work toward the erasure of trans identities. Anyone viewing the hashtag would have seen the context in which it sat. This wasn't the first issue the GOG twitter account had had either, with a prior tweet appealing to the same alt-right fanbase by posting a tweet around the death of journalism and Gamergate.

In response, and to their credit, GOG fired the person involved who then went on to work for an alt-right website. However three troubling tweets in almost as many months caused concern around the culture across the two companies, and the tolerance for transphobia in their working environment.


Cyberpunk 2077 Adverts / "It's a Dystopia"
-

In one of the gameplay reveals in June 2019 this poster was spotted on a surface in the game:



It depicts a fetishized caricature of a trans women, complete with over-emphasised erection, the phrase "Mix It Up" and the name of the advertised drink; "Chromanticore". The issue will be apparent to many but I'll break it down so it's clear. First of all you have the character; a fetishized image of a trans woman's body that is only there to highlight the "trans" nature of her. As mentioned in the opening paragraphs this falls into one of the common ways in which transphobia manifests; reducing us down to our genitals for display at the expense of any sense of us as people. "Mix It Up" implies the frivolous nature of being trans as though we pick and choose our gender identity. Again falling victim to another form of transphobia.

Finally we have "Chromanticore" which on a generous read is a mix of "chrome" and "manticore" and at worst "chromosome" and "manticore". Forgiving the ambiguity of the first word the second still becomes inherently insulting. A manticore is a mythical beast comprised of parts of different animals. On a more subtle level it literally means "man eater", where the fear of men being "tricked" into falling for a trans woman resonates – though I highly doubt this specific aspect was part of the thought process, it works to support the fact that we need more trans women working on products that aim to depict us. On the overt and obvious, it's depicting an over-emphasised trans woman while relating her to a beast. Trans people will know all too well the common insults thrown at them in disgust (3 for 3), relating them to being unnatural or monsters.

In response to the criticism raised, CDPR came out with a response that included the following justification:


Which rings hollow in a few ways. The most apparent being that CDPR, themselves a massive corporation, are content to invoke this imagery and defend its use while simultaneously promoting the game as diverse and inclusive. This isn't just true of their use of it in the game, but also their literal use of it in offline events as set dressing and promo material:



Which only compounds the next point that you cannot state that it is terrible and what one is supposed to fight against, while continuing to position it front and center – completely decoupled from that message. It just becomes a transphobic advert being used to promote a game to make money for a massive corporation. In addition, there were cans of the drink available – a drink that is drawing a line to being trans – labelled as poison. One tone deaf incident is forgiven but when multiple elements come together, all transphobic, you start to question how much it's an articulation of issues in society, and how much it's using these things to reinforce a veneer of edge around their product. Appealing to a crowd of people all too content to mock trans people, at the expense of those being targeted.

This also isn't the only advert that comes at the expense of trans bodies either, as we can see below:



With no intent to explain the alleged nuance outside of defending the artwork, it's hard to take it seriously. These are plastered across Night City and seen in most promotional videos that have been put out about the game. No such video or message contextualizing these elements has been given alongside. Instead we have endless reams of how cool everything looks, what the guns are like and what Porsche model will be in the game. As mentioned earlier, if CDPR wanted to clarify these things and extend some consideration toward the trans community around them, they could – and would – have done. As it is, they're content to continue to use this imagery and claim diversity, all while leaving the extent of how much transphobic content will be in the game ambiguous to those trans people interested.

The response of "it's a dystopia it's meant to be bad" holds little weight as well when these things are constantly decoupled from any actual criticism. This is moving past the fact that just because a setting is supposed to be bad doesn't mean we need to lean on transphobia as a means to depict it. There's plenty of other awful things that the game will not invoke or use to facilitate this, and fetishizing and mocking us as the backdrop to it is an easy target. Especially in the knowledge that many fans see zero issue with these things, including Mike Pondsmith himself, so the extent to which that "terrible" message is landing is already minor.


Political Sympathies
-
In among this, it's important to bring the grounding that CDPR operates from a country that's in the midst of a nationwide crackdown on trans people and all those within the LGBTQ+ community. This has garnered worldwide condemnation and even brought into question the IOC's choice of hosting the Olympics there. Townships have declared themselves LGBT-Free and propaganda seeking to exile members of the community is regularly passed around, in some cases even being included with news publications.

In addition to further raising suspicion around the internal culture of CDPR with regard transphobia, it also becomes a direct concern when met against the content being spoken of in the game. In particular because in a recent interview with Paweł Sasko, the Lead Quest Designer on CP77, the politics of staff was mentioned:


Speaking to the importance of representing various political sympathies becomes concerning when you have both the above context and a company, and game, that have pandered to the alt-right and had numerous instances of transphobia. It becomes hard to not draw the line between this disregard of trans people in the game and in the output of the company, with that importance and the political climate of Poland.

If you are interested in learning more about the situation in Poland further information can be found here (1, 2, 3), and you can support directly here.


Character Creator
-



After speaking heavily to how inclusive Cyberpunk 2077 would be, it's been confirmed that the character creator will tie the pronouns the game uses to refer to the character with, with the pitch of voice chosen. Meaning that if you choose a traditionally female body type but select a deeper voice, your character will be referred to as "he" or "him" in the game's dialogue. Voice pitch is a sensitive issue in the trans community and with transition as HRT has no bearing on your voice when transitioning as a trans woman, or toward transfeminine identities. As a direct result it becomes something that many trans people are conscious of when they attempt to pass, as it's an element that works against you when people frequently associate a deep voice to being a man, and a high voice to being a women. This in a very real sense is an issue of safety for trans people offline, as having a deeper voice while presenting femme can result in abuse. However it isn't an immediate black or white picture when it comes to how trans people feel about their voice outside of those issues. Your voice is as personal to you as anything else, and there are many trans people that would prefer to be able to feel comfortable using their real voice as opposed to putting in considerable effort toward changing it in the hope of better acceptance.

So the consequence of the character creator is one that allows for cis people to make a "chick with a dick" a la the controversial poster, at the expense of trans people being able to create characters that represent them. Once again, it seems to highlight the nature of "diversity" when it comes to CP77; that it's commonly aimed toward the cisgender crowd over showing consideration for transgender people and true inclusivity. This hasn't prevented CDPR from lapping up a lot of publicity claiming that it is inclusive though, and in effect having their cake and eating it. Too often we now have cis people come back to us touting this alleged inclusivity and character creator, in the face of our issues with the game.


Official Cosplay Competition
-
Now we have the most recent example of CDPR's disdain for trans people. If you recall the defense for the caricature of the trans woman in the "Chromanticore" poster was that the fetishization of the trans character was to be seen as "terrible". Something CDPR claim to see as something that should be fought against. Which as discussed is already brought into question by their own use of it in offline promos, but is completely blown apart by their choice of finalist in their recent cosplay competition. Not just via social media, but in their official Night City Wire pre-presentation.




I do believe a cisgender woman can cosplay a trans woman, and that there's little issue if it's done respectfully. That isn't the case here though. This isn't a trans character in the game with any given depth, it's an illustration in an advert whose sole purpose is to fetishize the body of a trans woman, where her transness is reduced in full to her genitals and a comparison is drawn to a beast. The only reason it was of any note was because of the controversy surrounding it and the issues trans people had with it, so it's hard not to find the choice suspect in the first place.

What solidifies the problem is when the cisgender woman in question is treating that aspect of the trans woman as a joke; as something to laugh at. Drawing primary attention once again to the genitals and making it the central part of the cosplay. There's no desire to become any character, but instead become a walking mockery of a trans person that was only ever there to begin with as a fetishization. It's not as though cisgender women are de-facto in support of the rights of trans women, so when someone is treating our bodies as something to be laughed over, and is roleplaying us purely to serve for comedic purposes, I find it poor – to put it mildly. It further reinforces us as a joke, and that in itself is transphobic.

This loops back to the advert itself, as mentioned before the justification was that it was intended to be terrible, in addition to:



If it's designed to be a terrible and distasteful advert working at the expense of trans women – something CDPR themselves tells us we should be fighting against – you can't then decouple it from the criticism to use frivolously for laughs or promotional material. Promoting someone taking that imagery, further accenting and highlighting the parts we're supposed to take issue with, all while laughing about it, renders that original intent meaningless. Put bluntly; when you're flying people out to take part in a video shoot for your promo and they're walking around with a fake neon penis representing the thing you claim to hate, how can we take any notion of nuance around trans people, issues and bodies seriously within both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077?


CDPR are content to exploit both their workers and trans people for financial gain, alongside courting an obvious and loud alt-right fanbase.
-
They are a transphobic company content to lean on inclusivity as a promotional tool at the expense of trans people. Consistently treating us with ridicule and afterthought while claiming the opposite. They are happy to foster a toxic work environment grinding their workers to the bone. They are happy to lean into the chud fanbase they know they've garnered over the years.

It is obvious they don't care about us, but they still care about the fans that stick with them regardless. So it is in this that I ask that even if you're hyped to jump into Night City, you become vocal about these issues and offer support in bringing their attention to CDPR. Whether it's here, on Twitter or in feedback forms – letting them know that you're a fan but you dislike the way they have acted toward the trans community is of value. If you aren't willing to be critical of a company you like while enjoying their product, at the expense of trans voices, then – insofar as I'm concerned – you can't consider yourself a trans ally. If that stings, it should, because it means that you're aware that you allow your excitement of a game prevent you from supporting the communities it takes advantage of.

What's often missing from the retorts is that I was once hyped for the game. The logo treatment reveal was stunning, the art direction posters were a lock for purchase. It looked great. However when it becomes a question of how much transphobic content I'll be expected to put up with as I attempt to enjoy the game, it's hard to remain enthused by it. It becomes a question of why I'm supporting a company that's repeatedly showing they're content to mock people like me, and perpetuate stereotypes that affect us offline in life. That continue the lines of thought that place our lives in danger and our respect in question.

This isn't some "rah rah boycott" motion that people like to distill it down to. It's what it feels like when you face a company and product that comes at the expense of you and others like you. If you don't know what that feels like, consider how fortunate it is that you get to engage with this medium without such a concern. Perhaps become more active in lending your voice toward choruses like this, so that we too can enjoy games without it. If there's one thing I'm sure of it's that both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077 have the ability to be great without being transphobic.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Small Change

Neo Member
Jul 17, 2020
11
12
230
I'm not overly concerned with the scores as I already know I need to see it for myself either way but I am very curious to see if there's any truth to this stuff about CDPR being very selective about who got codes and when. If it's true there might be a lot of unscored "review in progress" type stuff happening.
 

correofake333

Neo Member
Jul 25, 2020
37
169
295
CDPR is a transphobic company. That will read as being incendiary but there's little else that fits when there's a history spanning years of their disdain, mocking of and disregard for trans identities in their games, conduct and promotions. From the outset I want to make it clear that coming in with "they support LGBT" isn't needed here. It's of no material concern that members of the company go to Pride. The LGBT community isn't some homogenous lump and never has been. Many people within the community and out support the LG&B while holding contempt and dislike for the T. This topic is about that final letter and the way in which this company has repeatedly proven that they hold no regard for us in their output.

All of the below are conscious actions being spoken to. What is also worth highlighting is the lack of action as well. CDPR across these past two years have been in every position, both in knowledge and ability, to extend an olive branch toward the trans community. In among their many delays they had the option to incorporate feedback from the community and haven't. In amongst all of the videos of cars, guns, chrome and gangs they had the opportunity to take the concerns to heart and deep dive into how gender and trans representation is being handled with nuance in CP77. They haven't. This speaks as much to their intent as the elements below, and is worth considering among them.

Nor can any of this be put down to an instance of a well-meaning blunder toward being progressive, which I might buy on a single incident from a small studio. This is a giant international corporation who, had they the intent of being inclusive as a focus of the game, would have managed to avoid any of the below. This – not being repeatedly transphobic – is something that most other major companies manage to avoid. There are trans charities in Poland and many internationally that could have been brought in from the start to consult. This is a company that is content to wave inclusivity around to garner press while committing no legwork or depth of thought toward it.


Context
-

I want to start by giving some grounding to the issue as far too often we have the refrain of "it's just a game" levelled against us. The truth is that the majority of people don't know someone who is openly trans. Have had no known contact with someone that is openly trans and therefore have little direct relation to the issues we face, our lives and our bodies. The majority of information people do receive about us is via the media they consume. The issue here is that trans representation or depiction in media has historically been either through mockery or disgust, and more commonly now – fetishization. We are set dressing for laughs, for being reviled or for pleasure. Frequently reduced down to our genitals and bodies in favour of seeing a person. Due to this, the way media presents us is in direct relation to the abuse, harm and threats we face in life. For more of an understanding around this in relation to film, I recommend the Netflix documentary Disclosure. This issue extends across all media, including games and print. People frequently perceive us through these depictions and when we're presented as little more than a joke, that's what we're taken as.

So if it is 'just a game' to you, consider why it isn't able to be for others. How you can help others enjoy them as just games, and not something they have to question how much mockery or harm they're expected to endure while interacting with them.


Tweets
-

On the 20th August 2018 the official Cyberpunk twitter posted this tweet response:



This initial instance can seem innocuous on the surface but it's a transphobic line conjured around "outrage culture" and the notion that trans people are looking to be offended. Which, naturally, is a common pushback from people that are being offensive and how this joke is usually employed. Trans people don't respond to being misgendered with "did you assume my gender?". In fact most trans people are terrified of even raising the fact that they are being misgendered. Contesting this is something that can frequently put you in harms way and unless you're speaking to an out and out ally it's always a dice roll as to how it will be received. Often it will be through mocking, and this is where the point of transphobic jokes is worth highlighting. It renders our identities as fanciful and frivolous; something to be tolerated instead of accepted. When trans identities aren't taken seriously it directly affects our ability to live as who we are.

There is no distinction between the joke and the transphobia because transphobia has persistently centered itself around the notion that we are a joke.

In response Cyberpunk posted this:



People who have had to deal with bigotry will recognise the all-too-common apology of "sorry to those offended". The apology isn't a recognition that their actions were transphobic nor a statement that trans identities are valid. Instead it appeals to that which we've just mentioned; those that see trans people as people constantly offended by everything. It doesn't offer a recognition that the act itself was the issue, but that it happened to offend some people.

This can be evidenced by the responses, some of which shown below, which are a crowd of fans CDPR has increasingly become conscious of and pander toward:






A couple of months later, on the 22nd October 2018, the twitter account for CDPR's online storefront GOG posted this tweet:



This made light of the hashtag #WontBeErased on Twitter that, at the time, was trending because of a Trump administration memo that proposed a strict definition of gender based on a person’s genitalia at birth. Something that would work toward the erasure of trans identities. Anyone viewing the hashtag would have seen the context in which it sat. This wasn't the first issue the GOG twitter account had had either, with a prior tweet appealing to the same alt-right fanbase by posting a tweet around the death of journalism and Gamergate.

In response, and to their credit, GOG fired the person involved who then went on to work for an alt-right website. However three troubling tweets in almost as many months caused concern around the culture across the two companies, and the tolerance for transphobia in their working environment.


Cyberpunk 2077 Adverts / "It's a Dystopia"
-

In one of the gameplay reveals in June 2019 this poster was spotted on a surface in the game:



It depicts a fetishized caricature of a trans women, complete with over-emphasised erection, the phrase "Mix It Up" and the name of the advertised drink; "Chromanticore". The issue will be apparent to many but I'll break it down so it's clear. First of all you have the character; a fetishized image of a trans woman's body that is only there to highlight the "trans" nature of her. As mentioned in the opening paragraphs this falls into one of the common ways in which transphobia manifests; reducing us down to our genitals for display at the expense of any sense of us as people. "Mix It Up" implies the frivolous nature of being trans as though we pick and choose our gender identity. Again falling victim to another form of transphobia.

Finally we have "Chromanticore" which on a generous read is a mix of "chrome" and "manticore" and at worst "chromosome" and "manticore". Forgiving the ambiguity of the first word the second still becomes inherently insulting. A manticore is a mythical beast comprised of parts of different animals. On a more subtle level it literally means "man eater", where the fear of men being "tricked" into falling for a trans woman resonates – though I highly doubt this specific aspect was part of the thought process, it works to support the fact that we need more trans women working on products that aim to depict us. On the overt and obvious, it's depicting an over-emphasised trans woman while relating her to a beast. Trans people will know all too well the common insults thrown at them in disgust (3 for 3), relating them to being unnatural or monsters.

In response to the criticism raised, CDPR came out with a response that included the following justification:


Which rings hollow in a few ways. The most apparent being that CDPR, themselves a massive corporation, are content to invoke this imagery and defend its use while simultaneously promoting the game as diverse and inclusive. This isn't just true of their use of it in the game, but also their literal use of it in offline events as set dressing and promo material:



Which only compounds the next point that you cannot state that it is terrible and what one is supposed to fight against, while continuing to position it front and center – completely decoupled from that message. It just becomes a transphobic advert being used to promote a game to make money for a massive corporation. In addition, there were cans of the drink available – a drink that is drawing a line to being trans – labelled as poison. One tone deaf incident is forgiven but when multiple elements come together, all transphobic, you start to question how much it's an articulation of issues in society, and how much it's using these things to reinforce a veneer of edge around their product. Appealing to a crowd of people all too content to mock trans people, at the expense of those being targeted.

This also isn't the only advert that comes at the expense of trans bodies either, as we can see below:



With no intent to explain the alleged nuance outside of defending the artwork, it's hard to take it seriously. These are plastered across Night City and seen in most promotional videos that have been put out about the game. No such video or message contextualizing these elements has been given alongside. Instead we have endless reams of how cool everything looks, what the guns are like and what Porsche model will be in the game. As mentioned earlier, if CDPR wanted to clarify these things and extend some consideration toward the trans community around them, they could – and would – have done. As it is, they're content to continue to use this imagery and claim diversity, all while leaving the extent of how much transphobic content will be in the game ambiguous to those trans people interested.

The response of "it's a dystopia it's meant to be bad" holds little weight as well when these things are constantly decoupled from any actual criticism. This is moving past the fact that just because a setting is supposed to be bad doesn't mean we need to lean on transphobia as a means to depict it. There's plenty of other awful things that the game will not invoke or use to facilitate this, and fetishizing and mocking us as the backdrop to it is an easy target. Especially in the knowledge that many fans see zero issue with these things, including Mike Pondsmith himself, so the extent to which that "terrible" message is landing is already minor.


Political Sympathies
-
In among this, it's important to bring the grounding that CDPR operates from a country that's in the midst of a nationwide crackdown on trans people and all those within the LGBTQ+ community. This has garnered worldwide condemnation and even brought into question the IOC's choice of hosting the Olympics there. Townships have declared themselves LGBT-Free and propaganda seeking to exile members of the community is regularly passed around, in some cases even being included with news publications.

In addition to further raising suspicion around the internal culture of CDPR with regard transphobia, it also becomes a direct concern when met against the content being spoken of in the game. In particular because in a recent interview with Paweł Sasko, the Lead Quest Designer on CP77, the politics of staff was mentioned:


Speaking to the importance of representing various political sympathies becomes concerning when you have both the above context and a company, and game, that have pandered to the alt-right and had numerous instances of transphobia. It becomes hard to not draw the line between this disregard of trans people in the game and in the output of the company, with that importance and the political climate of Poland.

If you are interested in learning more about the situation in Poland further information can be found here (1, 2, 3), and you can support directly here.


Character Creator
-



After speaking heavily to how inclusive Cyberpunk 2077 would be, it's been confirmed that the character creator will tie the pronouns the game uses to refer to the character with, with the pitch of voice chosen. Meaning that if you choose a traditionally female body type but select a deeper voice, your character will be referred to as "he" or "him" in the game's dialogue. Voice pitch is a sensitive issue in the trans community and with transition as HRT has no bearing on your voice when transitioning as a trans woman, or toward transfeminine identities. As a direct result it becomes something that many trans people are conscious of when they attempt to pass, as it's an element that works against you when people frequently associate a deep voice to being a man, and a high voice to being a women. This in a very real sense is an issue of safety for trans people offline, as having a deeper voice while presenting femme can result in abuse. However it isn't an immediate black or white picture when it comes to how trans people feel about their voice outside of those issues. Your voice is as personal to you as anything else, and there are many trans people that would prefer to be able to feel comfortable using their real voice as opposed to putting in considerable effort toward changing it in the hope of better acceptance.

So the consequence of the character creator is one that allows for cis people to make a "chick with a dick" a la the controversial poster, at the expense of trans people being able to create characters that represent them. Once again, it seems to highlight the nature of "diversity" when it comes to CP77; that it's commonly aimed toward the cisgender crowd over showing consideration for transgender people and true inclusivity. This hasn't prevented CDPR from lapping up a lot of publicity claiming that it is inclusive though, and in effect having their cake and eating it. Too often we now have cis people come back to us touting this alleged inclusivity and character creator, in the face of our issues with the game.


Official Cosplay Competition
-
Now we have the most recent example of CDPR's disdain for trans people. If you recall the defense for the caricature of the trans woman in the "Chromanticore" poster was that the fetishization of the trans character was to be seen as "terrible". Something CDPR claim to see as something that should be fought against. Which as discussed is already brought into question by their own use of it in offline promos, but is completely blown apart by their choice of finalist in their recent cosplay competition. Not just via social media, but in their official Night City Wire pre-presentation.




I do believe a cisgender woman can cosplay a trans woman, and that there's little issue if it's done respectfully. That isn't the case here though. This isn't a trans character in the game with any given depth, it's an illustration in an advert whose sole purpose is to fetishize the body of a trans woman, where her transness is reduced in full to her genitals and a comparison is drawn to a beast. The only reason it was of any note was because of the controversy surrounding it and the issues trans people had with it, so it's hard not to find the choice suspect in the first place.

What solidifies the problem is when the cisgender woman in question is treating that aspect of the trans woman as a joke; as something to laugh at. Drawing primary attention once again to the genitals and making it the central part of the cosplay. There's no desire to become any character, but instead become a walking mockery of a trans person that was only ever there to begin with as a fetishization. It's not as though cisgender women are de-facto in support of the rights of trans women, so when someone is treating our bodies as something to be laughed over, and is roleplaying us purely to serve for comedic purposes, I find it poor – to put it mildly. It further reinforces us as a joke, and that in itself is transphobic.

This loops back to the advert itself, as mentioned before the justification was that it was intended to be terrible, in addition to:



If it's designed to be a terrible and distasteful advert working at the expense of trans women – something CDPR themselves tells us we should be fighting against – you can't then decouple it from the criticism to use frivolously for laughs or promotional material. Promoting someone taking that imagery, further accenting and highlighting the parts we're supposed to take issue with, all while laughing about it, renders that original intent meaningless. Put bluntly; when you're flying people out to take part in a video shoot for your promo and they're walking around with a fake neon penis representing the thing you claim to hate, how can we take any notion of nuance around trans people, issues and bodies seriously within both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077?


CDPR are content to exploit both their workers and trans people for financial gain, alongside courting an obvious and loud alt-right fanbase.
-
They are a transphobic company content to lean on inclusivity as a promotional tool at the expense of trans people. Consistently treating us with ridicule and afterthought while claiming the opposite. They are happy to foster a toxic work environment grinding their workers to the bone. They are happy to lean into the chud fanbase they know they've garnered over the years.

It is obvious they don't care about us, but they still care about the fans that stick with them regardless. So it is in this that I ask that even if you're hyped to jump into Night City, you become vocal about these issues and offer support in bringing their attention to CDPR. Whether it's here, on Twitter or in feedback forms – letting them know that you're a fan but you dislike the way they have acted toward the trans community is of value. If you aren't willing to be critical of a company you like while enjoying their product, at the expense of trans voices, then – insofar as I'm concerned – you can't consider yourself a trans ally. If that stings, it should, because it means that you're aware that you allow your excitement of a game prevent you from supporting the communities it takes advantage of.

What's often missing from the retorts is that I was once hyped for the game. The logo treatment reveal was stunning, the art direction posters were a lock for purchase. It looked great. However when it becomes a question of how much transphobic content I'll be expected to put up with as I attempt to enjoy the game, it's hard to remain enthused by it. It becomes a question of why I'm supporting a company that's repeatedly showing they're content to mock people like me, and perpetuate stereotypes that affect us offline in life. That continue the lines of thought that place our lives in danger and our respect in question.

This isn't some "rah rah boycott" motion that people like to distill it down to. It's what it feels like when you face a company and product that comes at the expense of you and others like you. If you don't know what that feels like, consider how fortunate it is that you get to engage with this medium without such a concern. Perhaps become more active in lending your voice toward choruses like this, so that we too can enjoy games without it. If there's one thing I'm sure of it's that both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077 have the ability to be great without being transphobic.


Are we actually having this shit here too? Dude, you have a fucking entire purple forum dedicated to whorship your fucking persona/sexual condition, how much else do you want? For fuck sake, I guess you are the kind of person that never got a "no" from their parents.

EDIT: user said that was parody/sarcastic, which I incline to believe. I'm leaving my post unedited anyway so future zealots can read this.
 
Last edited:

Hudo

Member
Jul 26, 2018
4,948
6,340
490
CDPR is a transphobic company. That will read as being incendiary but there's little else that fits when there's a history spanning years of their disdain, mocking of and disregard for trans identities in their games, conduct and promotions. From the outset I want to make it clear that coming in with "they support LGBT" isn't needed here. It's of no material concern that members of the company go to Pride. The LGBT community isn't some homogenous lump and never has been. Many people within the community and out support the LG&B while holding contempt and dislike for the T. This topic is about that final letter and the way in which this company has repeatedly proven that they hold no regard for us in their output.

All of the below are conscious actions being spoken to. What is also worth highlighting is the lack of action as well. CDPR across these past two years have been in every position, both in knowledge and ability, to extend an olive branch toward the trans community. In among their many delays they had the option to incorporate feedback from the community and haven't. In amongst all of the videos of cars, guns, chrome and gangs they had the opportunity to take the concerns to heart and deep dive into how gender and trans representation is being handled with nuance in CP77. They haven't. This speaks as much to their intent as the elements below, and is worth considering among them.

Nor can any of this be put down to an instance of a well-meaning blunder toward being progressive, which I might buy on a single incident from a small studio. This is a giant international corporation who, had they the intent of being inclusive as a focus of the game, would have managed to avoid any of the below. This – not being repeatedly transphobic – is something that most other major companies manage to avoid. There are trans charities in Poland and many internationally that could have been brought in from the start to consult. This is a company that is content to wave inclusivity around to garner press while committing no legwork or depth of thought toward it.


Context
-

I want to start by giving some grounding to the issue as far too often we have the refrain of "it's just a game" levelled against us. The truth is that the majority of people don't know someone who is openly trans. Have had no known contact with someone that is openly trans and therefore have little direct relation to the issues we face, our lives and our bodies. The majority of information people do receive about us is via the media they consume. The issue here is that trans representation or depiction in media has historically been either through mockery or disgust, and more commonly now – fetishization. We are set dressing for laughs, for being reviled or for pleasure. Frequently reduced down to our genitals and bodies in favour of seeing a person. Due to this, the way media presents us is in direct relation to the abuse, harm and threats we face in life. For more of an understanding around this in relation to film, I recommend the Netflix documentary Disclosure. This issue extends across all media, including games and print. People frequently perceive us through these depictions and when we're presented as little more than a joke, that's what we're taken as.

So if it is 'just a game' to you, consider why it isn't able to be for others. How you can help others enjoy them as just games, and not something they have to question how much mockery or harm they're expected to endure while interacting with them.


Tweets
-

On the 20th August 2018 the official Cyberpunk twitter posted this tweet response:



This initial instance can seem innocuous on the surface but it's a transphobic line conjured around "outrage culture" and the notion that trans people are looking to be offended. Which, naturally, is a common pushback from people that are being offensive and how this joke is usually employed. Trans people don't respond to being misgendered with "did you assume my gender?". In fact most trans people are terrified of even raising the fact that they are being misgendered. Contesting this is something that can frequently put you in harms way and unless you're speaking to an out and out ally it's always a dice roll as to how it will be received. Often it will be through mocking, and this is where the point of transphobic jokes is worth highlighting. It renders our identities as fanciful and frivolous; something to be tolerated instead of accepted. When trans identities aren't taken seriously it directly affects our ability to live as who we are.

There is no distinction between the joke and the transphobia because transphobia has persistently centered itself around the notion that we are a joke.

In response Cyberpunk posted this:



People who have had to deal with bigotry will recognise the all-too-common apology of "sorry to those offended". The apology isn't a recognition that their actions were transphobic nor a statement that trans identities are valid. Instead it appeals to that which we've just mentioned; those that see trans people as people constantly offended by everything. It doesn't offer a recognition that the act itself was the issue, but that it happened to offend some people.

This can be evidenced by the responses, some of which shown below, which are a crowd of fans CDPR has increasingly become conscious of and pander toward:






A couple of months later, on the 22nd October 2018, the twitter account for CDPR's online storefront GOG posted this tweet:



This made light of the hashtag #WontBeErased on Twitter that, at the time, was trending because of a Trump administration memo that proposed a strict definition of gender based on a person’s genitalia at birth. Something that would work toward the erasure of trans identities. Anyone viewing the hashtag would have seen the context in which it sat. This wasn't the first issue the GOG twitter account had had either, with a prior tweet appealing to the same alt-right fanbase by posting a tweet around the death of journalism and Gamergate.

In response, and to their credit, GOG fired the person involved who then went on to work for an alt-right website. However three troubling tweets in almost as many months caused concern around the culture across the two companies, and the tolerance for transphobia in their working environment.


Cyberpunk 2077 Adverts / "It's a Dystopia"
-

In one of the gameplay reveals in June 2019 this poster was spotted on a surface in the game:



It depicts a fetishized caricature of a trans women, complete with over-emphasised erection, the phrase "Mix It Up" and the name of the advertised drink; "Chromanticore". The issue will be apparent to many but I'll break it down so it's clear. First of all you have the character; a fetishized image of a trans woman's body that is only there to highlight the "trans" nature of her. As mentioned in the opening paragraphs this falls into one of the common ways in which transphobia manifests; reducing us down to our genitals for display at the expense of any sense of us as people. "Mix It Up" implies the frivolous nature of being trans as though we pick and choose our gender identity. Again falling victim to another form of transphobia.

Finally we have "Chromanticore" which on a generous read is a mix of "chrome" and "manticore" and at worst "chromosome" and "manticore". Forgiving the ambiguity of the first word the second still becomes inherently insulting. A manticore is a mythical beast comprised of parts of different animals. On a more subtle level it literally means "man eater", where the fear of men being "tricked" into falling for a trans woman resonates – though I highly doubt this specific aspect was part of the thought process, it works to support the fact that we need more trans women working on products that aim to depict us. On the overt and obvious, it's depicting an over-emphasised trans woman while relating her to a beast. Trans people will know all too well the common insults thrown at them in disgust (3 for 3), relating them to being unnatural or monsters.

In response to the criticism raised, CDPR came out with a response that included the following justification:


Which rings hollow in a few ways. The most apparent being that CDPR, themselves a massive corporation, are content to invoke this imagery and defend its use while simultaneously promoting the game as diverse and inclusive. This isn't just true of their use of it in the game, but also their literal use of it in offline events as set dressing and promo material:



Which only compounds the next point that you cannot state that it is terrible and what one is supposed to fight against, while continuing to position it front and center – completely decoupled from that message. It just becomes a transphobic advert being used to promote a game to make money for a massive corporation. In addition, there were cans of the drink available – a drink that is drawing a line to being trans – labelled as poison. One tone deaf incident is forgiven but when multiple elements come together, all transphobic, you start to question how much it's an articulation of issues in society, and how much it's using these things to reinforce a veneer of edge around their product. Appealing to a crowd of people all too content to mock trans people, at the expense of those being targeted.

This also isn't the only advert that comes at the expense of trans bodies either, as we can see below:



With no intent to explain the alleged nuance outside of defending the artwork, it's hard to take it seriously. These are plastered across Night City and seen in most promotional videos that have been put out about the game. No such video or message contextualizing these elements has been given alongside. Instead we have endless reams of how cool everything looks, what the guns are like and what Porsche model will be in the game. As mentioned earlier, if CDPR wanted to clarify these things and extend some consideration toward the trans community around them, they could – and would – have done. As it is, they're content to continue to use this imagery and claim diversity, all while leaving the extent of how much transphobic content will be in the game ambiguous to those trans people interested.

The response of "it's a dystopia it's meant to be bad" holds little weight as well when these things are constantly decoupled from any actual criticism. This is moving past the fact that just because a setting is supposed to be bad doesn't mean we need to lean on transphobia as a means to depict it. There's plenty of other awful things that the game will not invoke or use to facilitate this, and fetishizing and mocking us as the backdrop to it is an easy target. Especially in the knowledge that many fans see zero issue with these things, including Mike Pondsmith himself, so the extent to which that "terrible" message is landing is already minor.


Political Sympathies
-
In among this, it's important to bring the grounding that CDPR operates from a country that's in the midst of a nationwide crackdown on trans people and all those within the LGBTQ+ community. This has garnered worldwide condemnation and even brought into question the IOC's choice of hosting the Olympics there. Townships have declared themselves LGBT-Free and propaganda seeking to exile members of the community is regularly passed around, in some cases even being included with news publications.

In addition to further raising suspicion around the internal culture of CDPR with regard transphobia, it also becomes a direct concern when met against the content being spoken of in the game. In particular because in a recent interview with Paweł Sasko, the Lead Quest Designer on CP77, the politics of staff was mentioned:


Speaking to the importance of representing various political sympathies becomes concerning when you have both the above context and a company, and game, that have pandered to the alt-right and had numerous instances of transphobia. It becomes hard to not draw the line between this disregard of trans people in the game and in the output of the company, with that importance and the political climate of Poland.

If you are interested in learning more about the situation in Poland further information can be found here (1, 2, 3), and you can support directly here.


Character Creator
-



After speaking heavily to how inclusive Cyberpunk 2077 would be, it's been confirmed that the character creator will tie the pronouns the game uses to refer to the character with, with the pitch of voice chosen. Meaning that if you choose a traditionally female body type but select a deeper voice, your character will be referred to as "he" or "him" in the game's dialogue. Voice pitch is a sensitive issue in the trans community and with transition as HRT has no bearing on your voice when transitioning as a trans woman, or toward transfeminine identities. As a direct result it becomes something that many trans people are conscious of when they attempt to pass, as it's an element that works against you when people frequently associate a deep voice to being a man, and a high voice to being a women. This in a very real sense is an issue of safety for trans people offline, as having a deeper voice while presenting femme can result in abuse. However it isn't an immediate black or white picture when it comes to how trans people feel about their voice outside of those issues. Your voice is as personal to you as anything else, and there are many trans people that would prefer to be able to feel comfortable using their real voice as opposed to putting in considerable effort toward changing it in the hope of better acceptance.

So the consequence of the character creator is one that allows for cis people to make a "chick with a dick" a la the controversial poster, at the expense of trans people being able to create characters that represent them. Once again, it seems to highlight the nature of "diversity" when it comes to CP77; that it's commonly aimed toward the cisgender crowd over showing consideration for transgender people and true inclusivity. This hasn't prevented CDPR from lapping up a lot of publicity claiming that it is inclusive though, and in effect having their cake and eating it. Too often we now have cis people come back to us touting this alleged inclusivity and character creator, in the face of our issues with the game.


Official Cosplay Competition
-
Now we have the most recent example of CDPR's disdain for trans people. If you recall the defense for the caricature of the trans woman in the "Chromanticore" poster was that the fetishization of the trans character was to be seen as "terrible". Something CDPR claim to see as something that should be fought against. Which as discussed is already brought into question by their own use of it in offline promos, but is completely blown apart by their choice of finalist in their recent cosplay competition. Not just via social media, but in their official Night City Wire pre-presentation.




I do believe a cisgender woman can cosplay a trans woman, and that there's little issue if it's done respectfully. That isn't the case here though. This isn't a trans character in the game with any given depth, it's an illustration in an advert whose sole purpose is to fetishize the body of a trans woman, where her transness is reduced in full to her genitals and a comparison is drawn to a beast. The only reason it was of any note was because of the controversy surrounding it and the issues trans people had with it, so it's hard not to find the choice suspect in the first place.

What solidifies the problem is when the cisgender woman in question is treating that aspect of the trans woman as a joke; as something to laugh at. Drawing primary attention once again to the genitals and making it the central part of the cosplay. There's no desire to become any character, but instead become a walking mockery of a trans person that was only ever there to begin with as a fetishization. It's not as though cisgender women are de-facto in support of the rights of trans women, so when someone is treating our bodies as something to be laughed over, and is roleplaying us purely to serve for comedic purposes, I find it poor – to put it mildly. It further reinforces us as a joke, and that in itself is transphobic.

This loops back to the advert itself, as mentioned before the justification was that it was intended to be terrible, in addition to:



If it's designed to be a terrible and distasteful advert working at the expense of trans women – something CDPR themselves tells us we should be fighting against – you can't then decouple it from the criticism to use frivolously for laughs or promotional material. Promoting someone taking that imagery, further accenting and highlighting the parts we're supposed to take issue with, all while laughing about it, renders that original intent meaningless. Put bluntly; when you're flying people out to take part in a video shoot for your promo and they're walking around with a fake neon penis representing the thing you claim to hate, how can we take any notion of nuance around trans people, issues and bodies seriously within both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077?


CDPR are content to exploit both their workers and trans people for financial gain, alongside courting an obvious and loud alt-right fanbase.
-
They are a transphobic company content to lean on inclusivity as a promotional tool at the expense of trans people. Consistently treating us with ridicule and afterthought while claiming the opposite. They are happy to foster a toxic work environment grinding their workers to the bone. They are happy to lean into the chud fanbase they know they've garnered over the years.

It is obvious they don't care about us, but they still care about the fans that stick with them regardless. So it is in this that I ask that even if you're hyped to jump into Night City, you become vocal about these issues and offer support in bringing their attention to CDPR. Whether it's here, on Twitter or in feedback forms – letting them know that you're a fan but you dislike the way they have acted toward the trans community is of value. If you aren't willing to be critical of a company you like while enjoying their product, at the expense of trans voices, then – insofar as I'm concerned – you can't consider yourself a trans ally. If that stings, it should, because it means that you're aware that you allow your excitement of a game prevent you from supporting the communities it takes advantage of.

What's often missing from the retorts is that I was once hyped for the game. The logo treatment reveal was stunning, the art direction posters were a lock for purchase. It looked great. However when it becomes a question of how much transphobic content I'll be expected to put up with as I attempt to enjoy the game, it's hard to remain enthused by it. It becomes a question of why I'm supporting a company that's repeatedly showing they're content to mock people like me, and perpetuate stereotypes that affect us offline in life. That continue the lines of thought that place our lives in danger and our respect in question.

This isn't some "rah rah boycott" motion that people like to distill it down to. It's what it feels like when you face a company and product that comes at the expense of you and others like you. If you don't know what that feels like, consider how fortunate it is that you get to engage with this medium without such a concern. Perhaps become more active in lending your voice toward choruses like this, so that we too can enjoy games without it. If there's one thing I'm sure of it's that both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077 have the ability to be great without being transphobic.

Do you have this pasta from ERA?
 

diablos991

Can’t stump the diablos
Jun 15, 2013
8,804
1,316
800
This is one of those games that will have a terrible "official score" and a fantastic user score.... I can feel it.
 

SlimySnake

Member
Feb 5, 2013
9,447
24,257
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CDPR is a transphobic company. That will read as being incendiary but there's little else that fits when there's a history spanning years of their disdain, mocking of and disregard for trans identities in their games, conduct and promotions. From the outset I want to make it clear that coming in with "they support LGBT" isn't needed here. It's of no material concern that members of the company go to Pride. The LGBT community isn't some homogenous lump and never has been. Many people within the community and out support the LG&B while holding contempt and dislike for the T. This topic is about that final letter and the way in which this company has repeatedly proven that they hold no regard for us in their output.

All of the below are conscious actions being spoken to. What is also worth highlighting is the lack of action as well. CDPR across these past two years have been in every position, both in knowledge and ability, to extend an olive branch toward the trans community. In among their many delays they had the option to incorporate feedback from the community and haven't. In amongst all of the videos of cars, guns, chrome and gangs they had the opportunity to take the concerns to heart and deep dive into how gender and trans representation is being handled with nuance in CP77. They haven't. This speaks as much to their intent as the elements below, and is worth considering among them.

Nor can any of this be put down to an instance of a well-meaning blunder toward being progressive, which I might buy on a single incident from a small studio. This is a giant international corporation who, had they the intent of being inclusive as a focus of the game, would have managed to avoid any of the below. This – not being repeatedly transphobic – is something that most other major companies manage to avoid. There are trans charities in Poland and many internationally that could have been brought in from the start to consult. This is a company that is content to wave inclusivity around to garner press while committing no legwork or depth of thought toward it.


Context
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I want to start by giving some grounding to the issue as far too often we have the refrain of "it's just a game" levelled against us. The truth is that the majority of people don't know someone who is openly trans. Have had no known contact with someone that is openly trans and therefore have little direct relation to the issues we face, our lives and our bodies. The majority of information people do receive about us is via the media they consume. The issue here is that trans representation or depiction in media has historically been either through mockery or disgust, and more commonly now – fetishization. We are set dressing for laughs, for being reviled or for pleasure. Frequently reduced down to our genitals and bodies in favour of seeing a person. Due to this, the way media presents us is in direct relation to the abuse, harm and threats we face in life. For more of an understanding around this in relation to film, I recommend the Netflix documentary Disclosure. This issue extends across all media, including games and print. People frequently perceive us through these depictions and when we're presented as little more than a joke, that's what we're taken as.

So if it is 'just a game' to you, consider why it isn't able to be for others. How you can help others enjoy them as just games, and not something they have to question how much mockery or harm they're expected to endure while interacting with them.


Tweets
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On the 20th August 2018 the official Cyberpunk twitter posted this tweet response:



This initial instance can seem innocuous on the surface but it's a transphobic line conjured around "outrage culture" and the notion that trans people are looking to be offended. Which, naturally, is a common pushback from people that are being offensive and how this joke is usually employed. Trans people don't respond to being misgendered with "did you assume my gender?". In fact most trans people are terrified of even raising the fact that they are being misgendered. Contesting this is something that can frequently put you in harms way and unless you're speaking to an out and out ally it's always a dice roll as to how it will be received. Often it will be through mocking, and this is where the point of transphobic jokes is worth highlighting. It renders our identities as fanciful and frivolous; something to be tolerated instead of accepted. When trans identities aren't taken seriously it directly affects our ability to live as who we are.

There is no distinction between the joke and the transphobia because transphobia has persistently centered itself around the notion that we are a joke.

In response Cyberpunk posted this:



People who have had to deal with bigotry will recognise the all-too-common apology of "sorry to those offended". The apology isn't a recognition that their actions were transphobic nor a statement that trans identities are valid. Instead it appeals to that which we've just mentioned; those that see trans people as people constantly offended by everything. It doesn't offer a recognition that the act itself was the issue, but that it happened to offend some people.

This can be evidenced by the responses, some of which shown below, which are a crowd of fans CDPR has increasingly become conscious of and pander toward:






A couple of months later, on the 22nd October 2018, the twitter account for CDPR's online storefront GOG posted this tweet:



This made light of the hashtag #WontBeErased on Twitter that, at the time, was trending because of a Trump administration memo that proposed a strict definition of gender based on a person’s genitalia at birth. Something that would work toward the erasure of trans identities. Anyone viewing the hashtag would have seen the context in which it sat. This wasn't the first issue the GOG twitter account had had either, with a prior tweet appealing to the same alt-right fanbase by posting a tweet around the death of journalism and Gamergate.

In response, and to their credit, GOG fired the person involved who then went on to work for an alt-right website. However three troubling tweets in almost as many months caused concern around the culture across the two companies, and the tolerance for transphobia in their working environment.


Cyberpunk 2077 Adverts / "It's a Dystopia"
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In one of the gameplay reveals in June 2019 this poster was spotted on a surface in the game:



It depicts a fetishized caricature of a trans women, complete with over-emphasised erection, the phrase "Mix It Up" and the name of the advertised drink; "Chromanticore". The issue will be apparent to many but I'll break it down so it's clear. First of all you have the character; a fetishized image of a trans woman's body that is only there to highlight the "trans" nature of her. As mentioned in the opening paragraphs this falls into one of the common ways in which transphobia manifests; reducing us down to our genitals for display at the expense of any sense of us as people. "Mix It Up" implies the frivolous nature of being trans as though we pick and choose our gender identity. Again falling victim to another form of transphobia.

Finally we have "Chromanticore" which on a generous read is a mix of "chrome" and "manticore" and at worst "chromosome" and "manticore". Forgiving the ambiguity of the first word the second still becomes inherently insulting. A manticore is a mythical beast comprised of parts of different animals. On a more subtle level it literally means "man eater", where the fear of men being "tricked" into falling for a trans woman resonates – though I highly doubt this specific aspect was part of the thought process, it works to support the fact that we need more trans women working on products that aim to depict us. On the overt and obvious, it's depicting an over-emphasised trans woman while relating her to a beast. Trans people will know all too well the common insults thrown at them in disgust (3 for 3), relating them to being unnatural or monsters.

In response to the criticism raised, CDPR came out with a response that included the following justification:


Which rings hollow in a few ways. The most apparent being that CDPR, themselves a massive corporation, are content to invoke this imagery and defend its use while simultaneously promoting the game as diverse and inclusive. This isn't just true of their use of it in the game, but also their literal use of it in offline events as set dressing and promo material:



Which only compounds the next point that you cannot state that it is terrible and what one is supposed to fight against, while continuing to position it front and center – completely decoupled from that message. It just becomes a transphobic advert being used to promote a game to make money for a massive corporation. In addition, there were cans of the drink available – a drink that is drawing a line to being trans – labelled as poison. One tone deaf incident is forgiven but when multiple elements come together, all transphobic, you start to question how much it's an articulation of issues in society, and how much it's using these things to reinforce a veneer of edge around their product. Appealing to a crowd of people all too content to mock trans people, at the expense of those being targeted.

This also isn't the only advert that comes at the expense of trans bodies either, as we can see below:



With no intent to explain the alleged nuance outside of defending the artwork, it's hard to take it seriously. These are plastered across Night City and seen in most promotional videos that have been put out about the game. No such video or message contextualizing these elements has been given alongside. Instead we have endless reams of how cool everything looks, what the guns are like and what Porsche model will be in the game. As mentioned earlier, if CDPR wanted to clarify these things and extend some consideration toward the trans community around them, they could – and would – have done. As it is, they're content to continue to use this imagery and claim diversity, all while leaving the extent of how much transphobic content will be in the game ambiguous to those trans people interested.

The response of "it's a dystopia it's meant to be bad" holds little weight as well when these things are constantly decoupled from any actual criticism. This is moving past the fact that just because a setting is supposed to be bad doesn't mean we need to lean on transphobia as a means to depict it. There's plenty of other awful things that the game will not invoke or use to facilitate this, and fetishizing and mocking us as the backdrop to it is an easy target. Especially in the knowledge that many fans see zero issue with these things, including Mike Pondsmith himself, so the extent to which that "terrible" message is landing is already minor.


Political Sympathies
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In among this, it's important to bring the grounding that CDPR operates from a country that's in the midst of a nationwide crackdown on trans people and all those within the LGBTQ+ community. This has garnered worldwide condemnation and even brought into question the IOC's choice of hosting the Olympics there. Townships have declared themselves LGBT-Free and propaganda seeking to exile members of the community is regularly passed around, in some cases even being included with news publications.

In addition to further raising suspicion around the internal culture of CDPR with regard transphobia, it also becomes a direct concern when met against the content being spoken of in the game. In particular because in a recent interview with Paweł Sasko, the Lead Quest Designer on CP77, the politics of staff was mentioned:


Speaking to the importance of representing various political sympathies becomes concerning when you have both the above context and a company, and game, that have pandered to the alt-right and had numerous instances of transphobia. It becomes hard to not draw the line between this disregard of trans people in the game and in the output of the company, with that importance and the political climate of Poland.

If you are interested in learning more about the situation in Poland further information can be found here (1, 2, 3), and you can support directly here.


Character Creator
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After speaking heavily to how inclusive Cyberpunk 2077 would be, it's been confirmed that the character creator will tie the pronouns the game uses to refer to the character with, with the pitch of voice chosen. Meaning that if you choose a traditionally female body type but select a deeper voice, your character will be referred to as "he" or "him" in the game's dialogue. Voice pitch is a sensitive issue in the trans community and with transition as HRT has no bearing on your voice when transitioning as a trans woman, or toward transfeminine identities. As a direct result it becomes something that many trans people are conscious of when they attempt to pass, as it's an element that works against you when people frequently associate a deep voice to being a man, and a high voice to being a women. This in a very real sense is an issue of safety for trans people offline, as having a deeper voice while presenting femme can result in abuse. However it isn't an immediate black or white picture when it comes to how trans people feel about their voice outside of those issues. Your voice is as personal to you as anything else, and there are many trans people that would prefer to be able to feel comfortable using their real voice as opposed to putting in considerable effort toward changing it in the hope of better acceptance.

So the consequence of the character creator is one that allows for cis people to make a "chick with a dick" a la the controversial poster, at the expense of trans people being able to create characters that represent them. Once again, it seems to highlight the nature of "diversity" when it comes to CP77; that it's commonly aimed toward the cisgender crowd over showing consideration for transgender people and true inclusivity. This hasn't prevented CDPR from lapping up a lot of publicity claiming that it is inclusive though, and in effect having their cake and eating it. Too often we now have cis people come back to us touting this alleged inclusivity and character creator, in the face of our issues with the game.


Official Cosplay Competition
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Now we have the most recent example of CDPR's disdain for trans people. If you recall the defense for the caricature of the trans woman in the "Chromanticore" poster was that the fetishization of the trans character was to be seen as "terrible". Something CDPR claim to see as something that should be fought against. Which as discussed is already brought into question by their own use of it in offline promos, but is completely blown apart by their choice of finalist in their recent cosplay competition. Not just via social media, but in their official Night City Wire pre-presentation.




I do believe a cisgender woman can cosplay a trans woman, and that there's little issue if it's done respectfully. That isn't the case here though. This isn't a trans character in the game with any given depth, it's an illustration in an advert whose sole purpose is to fetishize the body of a trans woman, where her transness is reduced in full to her genitals and a comparison is drawn to a beast. The only reason it was of any note was because of the controversy surrounding it and the issues trans people had with it, so it's hard not to find the choice suspect in the first place.

What solidifies the problem is when the cisgender woman in question is treating that aspect of the trans woman as a joke; as something to laugh at. Drawing primary attention once again to the genitals and making it the central part of the cosplay. There's no desire to become any character, but instead become a walking mockery of a trans person that was only ever there to begin with as a fetishization. It's not as though cisgender women are de-facto in support of the rights of trans women, so when someone is treating our bodies as something to be laughed over, and is roleplaying us purely to serve for comedic purposes, I find it poor – to put it mildly. It further reinforces us as a joke, and that in itself is transphobic.

This loops back to the advert itself, as mentioned before the justification was that it was intended to be terrible, in addition to:



If it's designed to be a terrible and distasteful advert working at the expense of trans women – something CDPR themselves tells us we should be fighting against – you can't then decouple it from the criticism to use frivolously for laughs or promotional material. Promoting someone taking that imagery, further accenting and highlighting the parts we're supposed to take issue with, all while laughing about it, renders that original intent meaningless. Put bluntly; when you're flying people out to take part in a video shoot for your promo and they're walking around with a fake neon penis representing the thing you claim to hate, how can we take any notion of nuance around trans people, issues and bodies seriously within both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077?


CDPR are content to exploit both their workers and trans people for financial gain, alongside courting an obvious and loud alt-right fanbase.
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They are a transphobic company content to lean on inclusivity as a promotional tool at the expense of trans people. Consistently treating us with ridicule and afterthought while claiming the opposite. They are happy to foster a toxic work environment grinding their workers to the bone. They are happy to lean into the chud fanbase they know they've garnered over the years.

It is obvious they don't care about us, but they still care about the fans that stick with them regardless. So it is in this that I ask that even if you're hyped to jump into Night City, you become vocal about these issues and offer support in bringing their attention to CDPR. Whether it's here, on Twitter or in feedback forms – letting them know that you're a fan but you dislike the way they have acted toward the trans community is of value. If you aren't willing to be critical of a company you like while enjoying their product, at the expense of trans voices, then – insofar as I'm concerned – you can't consider yourself a trans ally. If that stings, it should, because it means that you're aware that you allow your excitement of a game prevent you from supporting the communities it takes advantage of.

What's often missing from the retorts is that I was once hyped for the game. The logo treatment reveal was stunning, the art direction posters were a lock for purchase. It looked great. However when it becomes a question of how much transphobic content I'll be expected to put up with as I attempt to enjoy the game, it's hard to remain enthused by it. It becomes a question of why I'm supporting a company that's repeatedly showing they're content to mock people like me, and perpetuate stereotypes that affect us offline in life. That continue the lines of thought that place our lives in danger and our respect in question.

This isn't some "rah rah boycott" motion that people like to distill it down to. It's what it feels like when you face a company and product that comes at the expense of you and others like you. If you don't know what that feels like, consider how fortunate it is that you get to engage with this medium without such a concern. Perhaps become more active in lending your voice toward choruses like this, so that we too can enjoy games without it. If there's one thing I'm sure of it's that both CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077 have the ability to be great without being transphobic.

lol haha. well done.
 

Moogle11

Banned
Feb 7, 2020
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Definitely looking forward to reading some detailed reviews and impressions. I’m in the fence as I loved Witcher 3 for the story/characters/lore but wasn’t a huge fan of the gameplay and the cyberpunk serving is way less interesting to me than a fantasy setting.

Also want to see impressions of performance on PS5 and XSX so I can by the best version since I have both consoles. If equivalent I’ll grab on PS5 as I imagine the eventual next gen upgrade will make use of the Dualsense features and I currently don’t have a wireless headset as my Sony Folds doens’t work on Xbox and the Steelseries Arctis 7x I want to replace them with is sold out.
 

eyesabitdull

Member
May 10, 2020
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All I want is this to be better than average. That's all.

Just suck me in with the world building, give me a good story, and for fuck sakes be at least a little better in combat than Fallout.

I honestly think combat in this game is gonna be dog shit.
 

CloudNull

Member
Oct 14, 2019
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I'm predicting something like 80, minimum being 78 and maximum 85.

Pretty sure the metascore from users will be almost, if not, 100.
This seems reasonable. I doubt the game will break 90 because it is so controversially and some reviews will be upset..... plus it might be a glitchfest for a while.
 
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