Cyberpunk 2077 is a role playing first person shooter created by CD Projekt Red. This is the same game developer who brought us the award winning Witcher series. Unlike The Witcher, Cyberpunk 2077 is an 80’s cyberpunk themed game that takes place in the dystopian metropolis of Night City. Similar to the Witcher, Cyberpunk 2077 has deep lore and fans are excited to jump into the universe. The Witcher video games were based off a book series, which causes us to wonder…
What is Cyberpunk 2077 based on? Cyberpunk is primarily based off the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk 2020 created by Mike Pondsmith. In addition, the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 video game was influenced by the writings of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick. Lastly, it is clear that the game drew inspiration from the Japanese film Akira and the classic Blade Runner movie.
In the remainder of this article, I will dive into each one of the influences that have helped inspire and shape Cyberpunk 2077.
William Gibson’s Neuromancer
William Gibson is a writer who wrote one of the best novels in the cyberpunk genre. It’s titled “Neuromancer” (see on Amazon) and it won multiple awards including the prestigious Philip K. Dick, the Hugo Award, and even the Nebula award. This novel would launch the Sprawl Trilogy which would go on to become a huge success.
Neuromancer is the story of the hustler Henry Case, a “washed-up computer hacker who is hired for one last job” that pits him against a very powerful artificial intelligence. Interestingly enough, one of the play styles in Cyberpunk 2077 will include hacking which will allow you to harass enemies. One of these hacks allows you to jam the guns of enemies which is great if you’d like to get up and close for a melee kill.
Neuromancer has not only influenced Cyberpunk 2077, but countless other projects including The Matrix Trilogy, Blade Runner, and Akira. Many claim that Gibson’s Neuromancer is what brought the cyberpunk genre into mainstream. It truly was radical piece of literature when it came out, and it continues to influence. If you’re hoping to get in the Cyberpunk spirit it would be a great read before playing Cyberpunk 2077.
Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk 2020: Tabletop RPG
Cyberpunk 2020 is a role playing tabletop game created by Mike Pondsmith. Characters are cyberpunks on the streets of Night City available for hire. Willing to work for whoever pays the most – tasks include fighting gangs, battling multinational conglomerates, and more. Within the game there are multiple character roles each with a unique backstory, skills, and abilities. Does this sound familiar?
CD Projekt Red has been working with Mike Pondsmith on Cyberpunk 2077 since 2012, and they have been clear that their game is an adaptation of his RPG.
While the details are vague, Mike Pondsmith will even have some sort of role within the game as a character. You probably already heard that Keanu Reeve’s is playing a character within the game. His character, Johnny Silverhand, is a character straight from Pondsmith’s 2020 pen and paper game.
If you’re wanting to see what the source material for 2077 is you can pick up a copy of Cyberpunk 2020 on Amazon.
Akira’s Influence on Cyberpunk 2077
Akira is a Japanese animated cyberpunk film that was released in 1988. The plot follows Shōtarō Kaneda who is the leader of a biker gang. He rides a red motorbike that looks very familiar to a bike in Cyberpunk 2077 that you can see below.
Cyberpunk 2077 is not the only one who loved the design of this motorcycle. The futuristic, high speed motorcycle is also the main vehicle for Art3mis in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One film.
In Cyberpunk 2077 the bike is called Yaiba Kusanagi. Similar to The Witcher 3’s horse companion, you will be able summon this vehicle (and others) when its time for you to cruise around town or leave a sticky situation.
The devs have also said that they drew inspiration from the 2012 film Judge Dredd. The opening sequence of Cyberpunk 2077’s gameplay trailer resembles the lighting, the color scheme and the broken down residential area found in the plot of Judge Dredd.
Also as seen in the tweet above, Cyberpunk 2077 has Megabuildings which are basically similar to the Megablocks in Judge Dredd. These are huge (mega!) buildings with stores and apartments that people can live in.
Blade Runner Film – The popular Blade Runner film (featuring Harrison Ford) was also influenced by Gibson’s novel Necromancer and partly adapted from Philip Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Sheep?. Any fans of the film will see the correlations between it visually and Cyberpunk 2077. The combination of low and high tech set against the contrast of a futuristic city that has dramatically broke down. If Keanu Reeves has a part to play in Cyberpunk 2077, can we expect to see a Harrison Ford cameo too?
Johnny Mnemonic Film – Keanu Reeves is a man with a cybernetic implant that allows him to store information. Carrying an important message he must deliver it before he’s killed by bad guys or the burden kills him. It’s cyberpunk. It’s based on Gibson’s writings. It’s Keanu Reeves. Clearly – the Johnny Mnemonic film influenced Cyberpunk 2077.
Philip K. Dick’s Writing – Dick wrote the famous book, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” The story is of a bounty hunter who is hired to hunt down and kill six escaped androids. If you’ve watched the original Blade Runner than the story sounds familiar as it was based off this book. The book explores themes of human empathy and whether artificial intelligence is capable of true empathy. These themes are seen in the original Blade Runner film, but also the 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049. While no one at CD Projekt Red has said that Dick’s writings inspired Cyberpunk 2077, it is clear that many of their other inspirations were influenced by this excellent book.
Other Video Games & Ghost in the Shell Anime – According to CD Projekt Red’s community manager Marcin Momot, Cyberpunk 2077 also was influenced by, “Ghost in the Shell anime and manga, System Shock and “the first part of Deus Ex.”
If you played the video game Deus Ex, than you know that Cyberpunk 2077 has some of its mechanics. In Deus Ex, characters are able to develop and customize their character with cybernetic instruments that give the player additional super abilities. Cyberpunk 2077 has a similar leveling mechanic. Players can install cyberware to help boost their stats and open up new skills and perks.
In an interview Senior Quest Designer Philipp Weber said, “you can also have a character that you want to be more like the major from Ghost in the Shell, basically a cyberninja, there are skills for that as well.”
All of you Ghost in the Shell fans can rejoice! Being a cyber ninja sounds pretty awesome!
The Comprehensive Art and Lore Book of Cyberpunk 2077
If you love the artwork and lore of Cyberpunk 2077 than you’ll need to get your hands on a hardcover copy The World of Cyberpunk 2077 (see on Amazon). Dark Horse Studios is known for working with game publishers to create beautiful books that showcase the art and give insight into each game’s universe. You can see some of their other books they’ve created here.
This hardcover book will release on April 21, 2020 and is a tome filled with everything you could ever want to know about Cyberpunk 2077 characters, history, and world. I’m sure you’ll notice other influences and inspirations for this game as you spend time in the universe and check out the art.