- Author: Daniel Downey
- Date: September 16, 2020
One of the big draws of an RPG like Cyperpunk 2077 is the freedom that it offers. Whether you want to be a lithe, sneaky assassin, or a hulking, punch-first-ask-questions-later brawler, you get to interact with the world around you in the way that you choose. CD Projekt Red are giving players a plethora of customization options, including some fairly controversial ones. One of the many ways CP2077 offers players to customize their playstyle is with the Lifepath system.
What’s a Lifepath?
Before players begin their adventure in Cyperpunk 2077, they will choose from three “Lifepath” options, which will affect the game throughout that playthrough, from dialogue options to the opening quest. Before embarking on the main quest, players will need to complete a prologue that is unique to the Lifepath they chose. The Corporate and Streetkid Lifepaths start the player character in Night City, but the Nomad option is unique, starting the player in the Badlands outside the city.
The Nomad Start: What We Know So Far
Nomad V begins the game at a mechanic’s shop, looking into a mirror while removing a patch from their Nomad tribe they presumably use to roll with, the “Bakkers”. The mechanic tells V about a problem with their car, and V get’s to decide whether to trust the mechanic or try to take care of their car trouble themselves. One way or another, V needs to fix their car, because they’ve got a guy to meet and a job to do.
After a run-in with the local sheriff, V climbs a radio tower to get the location of their contact, Jackie Welles. V then makes their way to Jackie’s trailer by the border, and Jackie grabs a package from the fridge before the pair head to Night City. The player and Jackie are stopped at the border crossing by Arasaka security, who Jackie and V fail to bluff their way past. After money exchanges hands, however, V and Jackie are allowed to cross the border.
When V and Jackie make it through the border crossing, V starts to get a funny feeling. They are quickly proven correct as big black corporate SUVs cut them off and tell them to pull over via megaphone, and that they are transporting “contraband that is corporate property”. Naturally, Jackie does not pull over, and a car chase through a Biotechnica facility ensues. Once the player successfully fends off their pursuers, V and Jackie take cover in a garage. V takes a look inside the box to find, of all things, a live iguana. What value an iguana has in Night City is anybody’s guess; maybe iguana parietal eyes can be used to make some kind of cyberware.
Why I’m Choosing Nomad
The reason why I personally find the Nomad Lifepath interesting is that it gives you that classic Hero’s Journey arc of getting to start from nothing and make your way to the center of the action (in this case, Night City). Think Luke stuck on the ranch in Star Wars, or Harry Potter under the stairs of #4 Privet Drive.
Instead of being dropped right into the action we’ve seen in the hype videos and gameplay trailers, Nomad players will start on the outskirts of civilization, and will have to take care of some business before they make their way to the glowing neon skyscrapers on the horizon. By starting in the scorched, rundown Badlands, Night City will be thrown into stark relief when we finally make it there.
Another reason why the Nomad Lifepath could make for good roleplaying was pointed out by reddit user /u/Stalker975: Nomad V will be new to Night City, just like the player is. Dialogue options will feel more genuine, and perhaps some of the quests might even relate to your lack of knowledge about the city. When I’m trying to get immersed in a game, it’s always easier when I feel I can relate in some way to how my character would feel; by beginning the story as a new chapter in V’s life begins, the player can do just that.
The fact that you are cutting ties with the Bakker tribe at the start of the Nomad path is something else that appeals to me. In the other two paths, you start with a relatively defined social role, a place in the city. In contrast, Nomad V tears off their tribe patch at the start of the prologue — maybe not a fresh start, but a new beginning all the same. Plus, I just really want to know what the iguana is for.
How about you? What start are you most interested in? Will you work for the ever-present corps, and start at the top of the skyscrapers? Or will you start somewhere a little lower (both literally and figuratively), in the dark alleys of Night City? Or will you follow me into the badlands, and enter Night City with a lizard in a box under your arm?