- Author: Mila Grish
- Date: September 30, 2020
I don’t think we have seen any new Cyberpunk 2077 game footage outside of trailers since b-rolls accompanying Night City Wire: Episode 1. So, seeing new dialogue samples from the game is fairly rare and quite exciting! Even if it’s in Japanese. If you have followed the news recently, you know that this footage came up at Tokyo Game Show 2020 a few days ago.
We already looked at the general changes demonstrated by most of the footage (with an excellent visual analysis by Daniel) in this news post from around the time the footage came out.
Please beware that with the story analysis ahead, even in summary, there will be spoilers for the beginning of the main story of Cyberpunk 2077.
Read further at your own discretion.
We don’t know how old the featured game build is, but it seems to be newer than the 48-Minute Walkthrough from 2018 and pretty much matching the footage of Braindance from Episode 1. So, what we are analyzing here might end up looking very different upon Cyberpunk 2077‘s release.
Regardless, now that the community translation is out, there is a lot to talk about in regards to the dialogue content and the story and that’s precisely what we will be discussing in this article!
First, we will look at the changes in dialogue between 2018 Walkthrough video and the TGS footage in regards to the Maelstrom gang and Flathead. Then, we will recount what we remember about the main questline before Johnny Silverhand and give context to the footage we haven’t seen before.
Maelstrom Mission Dialogue Changes
It’s hard to evaluate an in-game dialogue that’s gone through a translation to Japanese and then back to English (the latter being unofficial translation). For the following discussion let’s assume that not too much was lost in the process.
Context for the Scene
Let’s re-cap the 2018 Walkthrough Demo of Cyberpunk 2077: Dexter sends us to obtain the Flathead (a military spiderbot) as a test of our loyalty and skills before he hands us a larger gig. We decide to make a deal with a corporate agent who would likewise be interested in this deal, Meredith Stout, and after a tense confrontation she hands us a chip with enough currency to purchase the bot. Now the demo’s manifestation of V is paying a visit to the Maelstrom gang and attempting to acquire the robot via peaceful means.
First of all, the situation in the new footage seems to be a bit different to begin with. We already paid some higher-up from Maelstrom by the name of “Brick” before we start talking with Dum Dum and meet Royce. Still, the ultimate situation with the chip remains unchanged.
There is a lot that can be said about every timing, tone, and line change between 2018 Demo and TSG, but we will stick to just a few examples to make our point.
Here are some of the examples:
- Dum Dum has a softer language.
- Note Dum Dum’s lines, “You need to sit down too, fatty.” and “Come on… let’s get into business.” vs. the original “Well, shit. Sit down.” and “Well all right, fuckin’ bravo. Come on, lighten up.” You will see this change reflected in the general language of the dialogue coming from all of the characters.
- Some confident jargon, cursing, aggressive verbal attacks, and certain exchanges were cut from the scene.
- There is a bit that was cut out with Jackie leaning in and telling us, “Can’t move on your culo (Spanish: ‘ass’). Makes you an easy target.” and “That really necessary, hombre (Spanish: ‘man’)?” The entire exchange is missing from the Japanese footage.
- Dum Dum does not finish his discussion of Flathead crawling up the walls and dangling from the ceiling with the line, “You could lose your lunch” done after he gags. In the new footage V is the one to state, “I’ll have to keep myself from getting sick, then.”
- Royce doesn’t throw angry curses at us when he first emerges and moves away silently when he accepts the chip at the end (he commands, “Move it.” in the original).
- Royce has a longer confrontation with more dialogue responses.
- Before V and Jackie get up with their guns pulled out, Royce has a longer bit of dialogue with V where turns away three times. He only ever turned once during the original with a silent moment in the background music and where the option to pull out guns seemed inevitable (you get two options in the TGS footage).
- Information about Dexter’s involvement in Pacifica is revealed during the longer conversation and Royce seems to care about that.
- Royce makes fun of V by calling him a “boy scout” and stating that he is “not worth the effort”. This word choice softens the edge Royce had in the 2018 Demo. Royce is also breathing with frustration in the new footage when V is holding a gun up to his neck, visibly losing his cool.
The overall tone to the new footage, as you might have already gathered, is less verbal assault and less confidence on the part of Maelstrom.
Remember that we are evaluating specific word choice here (although we can certainly see which parts were cut out completely), and this kind of analysis is to be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to localization and translation. We don’t know if these changes apply to the original version of the game.
Regardless, there is something to be said about Maelstrom being one of the most dangerous gangs in Night City, and definitely the most unstable due to the cyberpsychosis caused by their excessive augmentations. Does the new tone suit them better? If these changes reflect the English dialogue, why did CD Projekt Red introduce them? Could these changes be Japan-specific due to their own rating system?
We don’t have confident answers to this as of yet, but it’s understandable that for many viewers on YouTube the change in language and timing was considerable between the 2018 Demo and the TGS footage. Many did not like it.
Should the community be worried about such changes? After all, the game is heavily story-based and CDPR seems to listen to the community’s concerns at least to some degree. On the other hand, should we stay patient and make such observations after we have the released copy on our hands? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
New Puzzle Pieces to the Main Questline
The previous section ties well into the discussion of Cyberpunk 2077‘s main storyline. At this point we can confidently put some pieces together to give some solid context to the last two scenes featured in the TGS footage roll.
Context for the Scenes
If you don’t know how the main quest begins once V and Jackie are out of the Lifepath-specific starting questline, that’s what the 2018 Demo Walkthrough is all about. Yet, we will probably see some changes to it. The part we know is still retained in one form or another is us meeting with Dexter DeShawn and completing the Flathead mission for him. Read the re-cap in the section above if you forgot the order of events.
Once we deliver the Flathead there is quite a bit to do before we meet Johnny Silverhand and kick off the next story arc. That’s when we go to Lizzie’s to meet up with Evelyn Parker. Her memories will contain the clue to where we need to go to get closer to our next, highly ambitious target: the chip of immortality.
Evelyn will sneakily offer us to ditch Dexter out of the deal, but will lead us to Judy to learn how to work with and study Braindance, the virtual reality footage that captures not only the visual and audio information, but also the sense of smell, touch, and emotion.
Tokyo Game Show’s Two New Scenes
You can see Evelyn and Judy in the second bit of TSG footage. (We already know both of them to be possible romance choices in Cyberpunk 2077 and Judy is currently the most popular option among fans. We also know that the two are members of The Moxes gang.)
Judy is “the best braindance editor there is,” and she will walk you through the first bit of a braindance footage – a flatliner, valued on the market for the adrenaline rush the viewer experiences when the braindance recorder dies at the end of the footage. As far as we know, this will be V’s first experience with braindance.
Once you watch the footage through once, V will jump out of the virtual reality, startled. After a small bit of a dialogue with Judy, the Japanese preview will end. If you would like to see V and Judy go through analysis of the footage and learn how to use the editor, you can watch the official Night City Wire: Episode 1 (starting at 11:09) and check out our analysis of it.
We don’t have the footage of it, but after this tutorial V looks into Evelyn’s memory in Navy Plaza. What we know coming from people who got to play the game, like Alanah Pearce, is that we will be using temperature analysis to locate the chip’s storage location during the braindance recording. It seems like we will be exploring a luxury penthouse location and looking for a very cold temperature signature. As it seems, we now suspect Yorinobu Arasaka, son of Saburo Arasaka and the heir to the Arasaka empire.
With this victory acquired, Dexter will let Jackie and V hang out at the Afterlife: we see them do so many times throughout available footage snippets, including in The Gig trailer.
Our sit-down with Dexter DeShawn comes as last in the footage reel. V, Jackie, and their assistant netrunner T-Bug sit in a soundproof room with the fixer to discuss what comes next. V brings in Flathead. There is a chance for V to reveal that Evelyn was trying to get Dexter cut from the deal: he suspects something from her and her “friends”. Dexter isn’t too worried about Yorinobu and walks Jackie and V through the plan: get into the Delamain cab. Infiltrate Yorinobu’s penthouse and obtain the chip. T-Bug will assist remotely. Flathead will help us break in stealthily. No weapons, no causalities.
After Jackie questions the 30% cut and we learn that it will be a week or two before we even see the payment, the conversation ends. Dexter warns us that if we are discovered, it’s over.
Of course, The Gig trailer later shows us that nothing ever goes according to the plan.
And what comes after is something we have seen since the first story trailer. The confrontation at the motel following Jackie’s death-glazed eyes inside the bloody Delamain cab.
“Can’t risk it, V.”
And what comes after that after is the infamous Johnny Silverhand. The sidekick to follow us for the rest of the game.
And thus the story begins.
Did you enjoy exploring the potential changes and learning more about the main story?
How invested are you in the dialogue and the plot of Cyberpunk 2077? What about its factions, characters, and general lore?
We would love to hear from you in the comment section!