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Cyberpunk 2077 [split from video games]


C.T. Phipps
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I remember that joke -- found a clip when Googling for it. Funny one. And yes, I think that's probably the only direct use of "lesbian", and I'm pretty sure "gay" is never used. People just swing how they swing in 2077.

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22 minutes ago, IlyaP said:

Hurm. Interesting. As a cis bi male, I never really thought about it much beyond "hey you like girls that's cool, whatever you prefer". 

I now need to think about what that says about me as a person and a gamer. 

I think it just says that your combination of identity and experience have meant that its never been something you've needed or struggled with, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. Its the experience I wish everyone got to feel!

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1 hour ago, karaddin said:

I think it just says that your combination of identity and experience have meant that its never been something you've needed or struggled with, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. Its the experience I wish everyone got to feel!

To be fair, I did struggle with it initially when I realised in my early 30s that I liked guys, but after a few years of vague, lingering anxiety, it just became another detail, and not a defining factor. Helped make me appreciate how much harder it is for people who might not be straight-passing and therefore have to suffer little social indignities and micro-aggressions on a day-to-day basis. 

Which is a semi-related tangent/aside that probably somehow is why, when I met Judy (playing as a - surprise! - bi male V - I didn't blink or even question anything about her or any other character with a fluid (or not!) sexuality - I just accepted it as was. Because, really, who am I to question what someone else likes? 

(Not sure if that was a tangent or not, but hey, look at what a videogame has us discussing! That's surely a win, right? ....Right?)

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Someone brought up an interesting point from a really stupid AITA thing about Skyrim marriages (where they were upset because their wife was marrying another woman in the game) that I thought was pretty profound and applied here.

The reason that that wife wanted to marry a woman in Skyrim is because the game is largely coded for men, which means all the female characters that can be romanced are significantly more interesting and fleshed out than the men. That's not quite as true in Cyberpunk, but it's still largely true. Panam is significantly more interesting and fleshed out than basically anyone else in the game, Judy is up there (including the ability to romance her as a man despite her gay coding in game) and of the male love interests Kerry is much better than...ugh, what is his name? That sentient walking coat guy. (River?)

Anyway, I thought it was interesting that it's one of those biases that sometimes creeps into games even when they're trying to do something relatively unbiased. 

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18 minutes ago, Kalsandra said:

Someone brought up an interesting point from a really stupid AITA thing about Skyrim marriages (where they were upset because their wife was marrying another woman in the game) that I thought was pretty profound and applied here.

The reason that that wife wanted to marry a woman in Skyrim is because the game is largely coded for men, which means all the female characters that can be romanced are significantly more interesting and fleshed out than the men. That's not quite as true in Cyberpunk, but it's still largely true. Panam is significantly more interesting and fleshed out than basically anyone else in the game, Judy is up there (including the ability to romance her as a man despite her gay coding in game) and of the male love interests Kerry is much better than...ugh, what is his name? That sentient walking coat guy. (River?)

Anyway, I thought it was interesting that it's one of those biases that sometimes creeps into games even when they're trying to do something relatively unbiased. 

That makes sense to me. When it's an option I usually play as a woman in games. If there's romance options I've always gone for female characters. I think mostly because that's who I'm attracted to, but also yeah, they are almost always more interesting. One of the only exceptions was Dorian from Dragon Age: Inquisition, who was an incredible character and I totally would've seen what that romance looks like; but he's gay so I couldn't. Which, yeah, means that's yet another character that's more likely to be romanced by male players.

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Yes, River.

I feel like Kerry and River both suffer simply because they are in side quest-chains whereas Judy and Panam are part of the three main story sections needed to advance the game. So they're optional -- you can get away with not meeting them at all, in fact, outside of seeing Kerry in a couple of Johnny flashbacks.

I can't imagine making it any differently, though. Except... maybe include a Voodoo Boy-adjacent love interest that you meet in that part of the story? Could have worked, but then again I can see some potential issues with that.

 

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3 minutes ago, Ran said:

Yes, River.

I feel like Kerry and River both suffer simply because they are in side quest-chains whereas Judy and Panam are part of the three main story sections needed to advance the game. So they're optional -- you can get away with not meeting them at all, in fact, outside of seeing Kerry in a couple of Johnny flashbacks.

I can't imagine making it any differently, though. Except... maybe include a Voodoo Boy-adjacent love interest that you meet in that part of the story? Could have worked, but then again I can see some potential issues with that.

 

Right, but I think that's another thing that because it's male-coded, that is part of the setup. Panam - being the most notable woman NPC in the game and the one you have the most interaction with - is naturally the romance interest in the classic 'lead actor/lead actress' way. Judy is similar in that vein. 

An equity thing they could have done is simply not allowed you to romance Panam. Instead, add some other woman in there (or flesh out the romance with Rogue a smidgen more). But that would have sucked, because that's one of the better parts of the game and Panam really is awesome. 

Another possibility is allow you to romance Tanaka. He would have had at least a similar position to Judy in the overall game (multiple mainquest adventures, pretty cool guy on his own). And much like Judy I'd imagine after romancing him he wouldn't actually stay with you in most of the endings (especially if you fuck over Arasaka). 

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1 minute ago, Ran said:

I think you mean Takemura. There were definitely some very thirsty folks on Reddit wishing he were an option.

Ah, yeah. Sorry, been a long time since I played and names aren't as good for me as they used to be. 

He would have certainly been better than River, who is one of the most passive and boring NPCs in the entire game. Saul would have been a better choice than River. Part of it is that River's a sidequest, but part of it is also that River is just not that interesting of a thing. Kerry has significantly more interesting quest bits, is a lot more interesting of a person and has a better backstory. River's personality trait is...large and coat-wearing?

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14 hours ago, Kalsandra said:

 (including the ability to romance her as a man despite her gay coding in game)

That's not correct, she rejects male V and isn't particularly gentle about it. I think the issue is that some of the lead in flirty dynamic is still there right up until you try make it overt and she rejects you. The same is true with Panam and River though, which is actually most egregious with River and I'll comment more on below, but Panam still puts her legs up in your lap. Which I'm fine with, I've literally been in that situation with friends, but most guys at least do read that as romantic.

13 hours ago, Ran said:

I feel like Kerry and River both suffer simply because they are in side quest-chains whereas Judy and Panam are part of the three main story sections needed to advance the game. So they're optional -- you can get away with not meeting them at all, in fact, outside of seeing Kerry in a couple of Johnny flashbacks.

Yeah this is very big issue and I have to assume it was something that would have been fixed they'd had until 2022 to finish it. Kerry in particular isn't just buried in a side quest, he's gated behind finishing one side quest series (Chippin' In) that isn't even available until poor Hanako is waiting for you at Embers. And then each of his quests have that same "24h in game time passes and he calls you" so is super easy to miss. At least River comes in during the Peralez quest before the games narrative is pressuring you to go into the the game.

And Kerry's final quest is one of the best moments in the game, the riff he's plucking out while talking about bleeding in service to the rich which people misunderstand is just chefs kiss.

River is ultra bland, but he's also where I felt "being rail roaded into straight romance" the hardest. You get multiple opportunities to imply (or more) that you're into him and don't take them, but still get pushed onto the water tower to outright reject him at the last minute before the sex scene apparently happens if you don't reject him. You get asked if you already have someone and can't say "why yes, I'm already picking out blinds with my GIRL FRIEND Judy" nor can you simply tell him you're gay/not into guys.

And I've read that this all happens when you're playing male V as well, only for him to reject you on the water tower because he's not into guys lmao. He's got to simply be unfinished. Peter Pan, the guy that abducted his nephew, is from Laguna Bend which is the town at the bottom of the lake which Judy is from so it also seems likely those two narrative threads were meant to cross as well but that never made it in either.

Kal - I suspect you getting Takemura Goro's name wrong is probably due to blending it with Hanako due to the amount of time you have "Meet Hanako at Embers" show up as your current quest lol.

Edited by karaddin
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22 minutes ago, karaddin said:

And I've read that this all happens when you're playing male V as well, only for him to reject you on the water tower because he's not into guys lmao.

Happened to me my first run, that.

The writing of the River friendship definitely plays on screen much as it does if you're female, meaning that a lot is signaling a romantic relationship in terms of the mood, the writing, even stuff like how River looks at you.

I think the idea is River is just a very touchy-feely sort of guy who overshares. :rofl:

Although the same can be said for Panam if you play female, when you're in that abandoned house hiding out from the sandstorm. Her behavior towards you is exactly the same whether you're male or female, but if you're male trying to kiss her starts the romance, whereas if you're female she stops you short.

And yeah, you can't romance Judy as a man, although there may have been a bug early on that allowed it to happen? But it wasn't intended. You also get a lot of the same dialog options and so on, but I think the main difference between Judy and the rest is that you get that option to comment on her looks in the diving outfit, and depending on your gender she can appreciate it or push back on you about not getting the wrong ideas. I don't recall River or Kerry having similar moments where you can  come on to them and they push back, not before the make-or-break "Kiss them" moment anyways. But been awhile.

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You can also ask Judy if it's a date when she's calling you to ask you to meet her at the dam for the Pyramid Song quest and she shoots down male V there. The video I saw did this, and then commented on her looking fine in the wet suit and again got the push back you referred to, whereas my female V asked if it was a date and gets a "wait and see" sort of response. Then instead of getting the option to say she looks good in the wetsuit she beat V to the punch and Judy says it about V lol.

Kerry is canonically bi in the setting which makes his handling even weirder, but again it's a victim of the game being incomplete. As I understand it his rejection of female V is down to the complication of having Johnny in your head and not being able to get those feelings sorted if V is female. Apparently he just doesn't care with male V, since at least the genders are all lined up!

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14 hours ago, Ran said:

I can't imagine making it any differently, though. Except... maybe include a Voodoo Boy-adjacent love interest that you meet in that part of the story? Could have worked, but then again I can see some potential issues with that.

I romanced Kerry and...oh boy, we had some crazy sex on a burning boat. When I bought Cyberpunk 2077, at NO TIME did I ever think I would, as a consequence of playing that game, utter that sentence.

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14 hours ago, Kalsandra said:

Panam - being the most notable woman NPC in the game and the one you have the most interaction with - is naturally the romance interest in the classic 'lead actor/lead actress' way. Judy is similar in that vein. 

You know, I honestly never considered romancing them. I didn't feel like it was appropriate to put the moves on them, and I just wanted to be supportive and helpful and not ever take advantage of our relationship. 

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58 minutes ago, karaddin said:

And I've read that this all happens when you're playing male V as well, only for him to reject you on the water tower because he's not into guys lmao. He's got to simply be unfinished. Peter Pan, the guy that abducted his nephew, is from Laguna Bend which is the town at the bottom of the lake which Judy is from so it also seems likely those two narrative threads were meant to cross as well but that never made it in either.

I loved the watertower scene! It's me and a friend just hanging out and drinking beers while looking over a city nightscape! The romance angle never even *occurred* to me, as I was too busy being worried about him fretting over his nephew and not exhibiting enough self-care for himself! I LOVED that scene, we just sat there and talked about Big and Meaningful Stuff in a way that felt SO MUCH like conversations I've had with friends in similar situations (thinking in particular of one friend where we did just that at St. Joseph's Oratorium in Montreal one summer). 

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19 minutes ago, karaddin said:

Kerry is canonically bi in the setting which makes his handling even weirder, but again it's a victim of the game being incomplete. As I understand it his rejection of female V is down to the complication of having Johnny in your head and not being able to get those feelings sorted if V is female. Apparently he just doesn't care with male V, since at least the genders are all lined up!

Now THIS is interesting. I felt kind of sad for Kerry, and found him strangely compelling, as someone who had this complicated history and competing feelings and emotions about the past, which felt very human. Which is why I went down that path. There was something compelling about how he was written. 

Do you get the impression the rejection of Female V is a bug? And one that's likely to get fixed? 

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I really disliked the way he was hating on Us Cracks, but the way it played out was perfect and completely redeemed itself - he's not actually just hating on the young girls, he's a drama queen himself and it was all manufactured by the corpos. He winds up becoming friends with them and working with them, it was great! Unless you screw it up my being too hostile lol.

@IlyaP I don't see it being "fixed" as in being opened up to female V, what I think might be fixed is actually fleshing out why he's not - him actually saying that his feelings are all mixed up and it's not fair to V to take it any further when he doesn't even know who he's attracted to here.

On the water tower scene I think it just comes down to knowing where it was going and wanting to avoid having to explicitly reject him and being unable to. It's way too close to real scenarios. I can't tell if it was written intentionally by a woman or entirely by accident by a guy but I saw a comment on Reddit that nailed it. Imagine going through life surrounded by Rivers and you've got why so many women are uncomfortable with "nice guys".

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