Cyberpunk continues to be a topic of discussion on the Internet, with interest in the franchise at an all-time high thanks to a combination of constant updates to the main game and the massive success of Netflix’s Cyberpunk Edgerunners. For those out of the loop, the critically successful anime is set in the same universe as Cyberpunk 2077 and explores the rise of an upcoming punk named David Martinez.
Game fans will appreciate the attention to detail put to the show by Studio Trigger, along with the memorable characters and unique art style. However, an underestimated aspect of the show is how it explores some concepts from the game that may have gone over many players’ heads: the concept of cyberpsychosis.
***Spoilers for Cyberpunk 2077 and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners***
Before examining the concept of cyberpsychosis more thoroughly, it is important to understand the real-life motivations behind fictional mental illness. Cyberpsychosis is based heavily on psychosis which is a condition where people lose touch with reality and start seeing hallucinations and believing in delusions. Know known? Causes of psychosis can include traumatic experiences, drug/alcohol abuse, side effects of prescribed medication, and more.
Currently, there is no cure for psychosis in real life, and it remains a mystery to many professionals working in the medical field. If this sounds very similar to the cyberpsychosis found in the Cyberpunk Universe, it should be, as the lore is heavily influenced by this real-life situation. While there is a clear separation, as we are not living in a dark future with countless enhancements at our fingertips, it is not too far-fetched to think that this might happen within society if we were given the opportunity to push our bodies. is up to the limit.
Prior to the release of Edgerunners, fans of the Cyberpunk universe experienced the concept of cyberpsychosis through the eyes of V, the main protagonist of Cyberpunk 2077. In a string of sidequests, V encounters several characters who are going through cyberpsychosis; From Militek Mercs to celebrities, V Cyberpsychosis tackles hordes of baddies.
Through environmental storytelling and data entries, players are more inclined to understand cyberpsychosis than players who race through the game. However, because the narrative does not focus on cyberpsychosis, its existence as a very real menace on the citizens of Night City is never properly explored.
Another difference between Exploring 2077’s Cyberpsychosis is that the game encourages players to install as much cyberware as possible without having to search for the consequences on V. This certainly enhances V’s abilities, but it also diminishes the concept of cyberpsychosis because it makes V seem like a god between men and women. There is no line in the game that indicates that V is “special” like David.
A popular theory is that V may resist cyberpsychosis because he shares a body with Johnny Silverhand. According to this theory, Johnny Silverhand serves as a defense against cyberpsychosis as he has completely merged into V’s consciousness – you can think of Johnny as a psychic shield for V against psychosis. . While this is positive in some respects, you can’t forget that Johnny is still feeding a parasite from V’s body, so his protection against cyberpsychosis is a no-win situation. In any case, keep in mind that this is a theory and not something the game explicitly deals with.
The disease affects everyone differently, so V could naturally have the same high tolerance as David or Silverhand could actually be the deadly key behind V maintaining humanity. Until CDPR expands this lore, we may never know why V held onto his conscience until the end of his journey.
Meanwhile, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners opens with James Norris’s cyberpsychosis. Naturally, this character is unknown to the audience, but he immediately shows how powerful he is when using his cyberware. In the first few minutes, he kills dozens of policemen, and it takes an elite team of MaxTax agents to take him down. There is no rhyme or reason to this catastrophe, and the opening of Edgerunners strikes the senses without regret.
But what is interesting is that before we learn about the concept of cyberpsychosis, David is looking at James’ footage with a sick fascination. What many people can’t see away from a car accident, similarly, is revisiting the mind of David James’ incident. At first glance, you might assume that our main character has some serious issues, but instead, it serves as a reinforcement of the fact that cyberpsychosis is a well-known issue that is not taken seriously in the cyberpunk universe.
Image Source: Netflix
Unless the event happens directly to someone or a loved one, society in general tends to be concerned about more concrete and everyday threats. Throughout the show, we see a number of beloved characters, such as David, Maine and even Pilar suffer the aftermath of cyberpsychosis. The effects of the disease are so severe that when Maine loses herself, David Chrome goes deep down the rabbit hole and becomes a running tank.
Every time someone close to David is lost to cyberpsychosis (Main and Pillar), he goes through massive changes both psychologically and emotionally. While he never becomes an outright villain, he loses touch with his core morality, even going so far as to murder an innocent woman who reminds him of his mother. Cyberpsychosis, similar to many diseases in our real world, is the invisible boogeyman who preys on people attempting to escape from the gutters of the Night City.
Because for people like David, Maine and other edgerunners the only way to get ahead in life is to have the best Chrome, they felt obliged to sacrifice their humanity in the name of money, fame and immortality (in the physical and social sense). Huh. ,
What makes the depiction of cyberpsychosis in Edgerunners so fascinating is that viewers experience what it is like for a person to lose touch with their reality. The process is glamorous and far from existing when a character you’ve followed for five hours is succumbing to his cyber enhancements. In the original game, cyberpsychos simply glorified mini-bosses with intriguing backstories. Sure, time and effort went into these encounters, but the tragedies that made them this neurotic didn’t affect most players.
Future game installments should take a page from the Edgerunner playbook. Let players experience unique dream sequences that fully convey the effects of cyberpsychosis. CD PROJEKT RED can also implement gameplay mechanics based on mental illness. After edgerunners, the sky is the limit, and CDPR should not miss this opportunity. Only time will tell if they take advantage of the hype behind this concept.