- Author: Daniel Downey
- Date: November 19, 2020
Focusing on Keanu Reeves and his character, Johnny Silverhand, remains one of CD Projekt Red’s main marketing strategies for Cyberpunk 2077. The latest episode of Night City Wire was no exception, and contained a myriad of information surrounding the long-dead, silver-armed rockerboy Keanu who lends both his voice and face to in Cyberpunk 2077.
For starters, we finally learn exactly why V has the ghost of Johnny Silverhand haunting him: the sealed container holding the chip V and Jackie steal in the prologue ends up ruptured, and the only way to to prevent the biochip from failing is to — at some point after the heist — put it into V’s cyberware. Little does V know that the biochip contains the “soul” of Johnny Silverhand.
In one scene, the ripper-doc Vic tells V that they weren’t dreaming, that “those were memories”. This dialogue is accompanied by scenes (the referenced memories, presumably) from Johnny Silverhand’s perspective, including him with an unknown woman, and Johnny talking with what appears to be a fellow rocker named Kerry. It seems we’ll learn quite a bit about the man floating around our cyberware as we play through Cyberpunk 2077 and relive key moments in Johnny Silverhand’s life.
Vic also tells the player character, “you two are connected in a way I can’t make heads or tails of”. This intriguing dialogue suggests that either the biochip is new tech that Vic simply doesn’t understand, or that perhaps something strange happened when V installed the biochip. Considering the chip is touted as a key to immortality, it makes sense that its original design didn’t involve having the person on the chip being put into a living person.
It seems more likely the chip was intended to be used on a body that didn’t have a living person already using it — given the potential of cyberware in the Cyberpunk universe, this doesn’t seem a far-fetched idea. An intriguing line has V asking, “how to get rid of it,” to which Vic replies: “you don’t have much time left”. Maybe if the biochip remains installed in V for too long, there will be side effects, or maybe Johnny Silverhand will be able to more fully assert control over V’s body. An unknown NPC tells V, “he already tried to take over your body. You know, just for a little while?” This has interesting implications for both the game’s story, as well as potential game mechanics that involve Johnny attempting (or succeeding) to take over V’s body.
We already knew Johnny was kind of a jerk, but the new footage makes it even clearer that Johnny is single-minded in his goals and doesn’t care what he has to do to accomplish them. “I’ll kill anyone who gets in my way”, he tells us; presumably he plans to use our body to do the killing, considering he doesn’t seem to have one of his own.
Johnny’s motivations are clear in the new footage — the man wants to take down the Arasaka corp once and for all. Why he is so dead-set (pun intended) on destroying Arasaka, however, is less clear. According to the Cyberpunk TTRPG’s lore, Johnny was killed in an assault on Arasaka’s corporate headquarters in which he had hoped to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend Alt Cunningham from the corps’ clutches. Unfortunately, he arrived after her body was already dead and her mind trapped in Arasaka’s mainframe.
We don’t know whether or not the woman that makes an appearance in the new footage is supposed to be Cunningham, and it also isn’t certain that she has anything to do with Johnny’s grudge with Arasaka. Exactly what caused him to want to take down Arasaka so badly is yet to be revealed.
While “buddy” style narratives are nothing new, the way the protagonist of Cyberpunk 2077 has an unwanted guest in their head for potentially the majority of the game feels like a fresh take. Borys Pugacz-Muraszkeiwicz, the English Adaptation Director for CP2077, described Johnny Silverhand and V as co-protagonists, which implies that the two characters’ goals and motivations have at least somewhat equal importance when it comes to the games’ quests and narrative. It could be an interesting element of the story for V to get to decide how much he is willing to help his unwanted guest accomplish their goals.
Are you excited to have Keanu’s character hanging around as you play Cyberpunk 2077, or would you rather get the chip out so you can have some alone time? Will you help Johnny Silverhand take down Arasaka, or pursue your own goals instead? Let us know in the comments!