Cyberpunk is a desktop role-playing game created by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games Inc. This project, which came to life in 1988, was inspired by the novels of Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson, as well as the 1982 cult movie Bladerunner.
Cyberpunk, of course, is not just a genre affiliated with Mike Pondsmith. Many works that we have read, watched or played to date bear the traces of the Cyberpunk theme.
This theme, which was founded by science fiction novels written in the 1960s, brings together high technology and low living standards. Future technologies such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics combine with social corruption.
Science fiction writers of the 60s and 70s included the themes of technology, drugs, and the sexual revolution in this genre and discussed how the idea of a utopian future could easily turn into a dystopia. William Gibson, an American writer, defines cyperpunk as a genre for the first time with his novel Neuromancer and draws the boundaries. Gibson draws heavily from the punk subculture and hacker culture when creating this genre. Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker are among the other pioneering writers of Cyberpunk.
Soon after, the Japanese Cyberpunk subgenre flourishes. Big titles like Akira’s 1988 anime adaptation, Ghost in the Shell, and Cowboy Bebop are putting the genre in motion.
Developed by Mike Pondsmith, Cyberpunk: The Roleplaying Game of the Dark Future is also known as Cyberpunk 2013. Cyberpunk 2013, which went on sale in 1988, came with 3 different booklets, dice sets and character cards.
In addition to these booklets, Near Orbit, Solo of Fortune and Rockerboy supplement booklets have been published that take the story into space. Then Cyberpunk 2020 was released, the rules of which took the game world one step further. Considered an important addition to Cyberpunk 2013, this new layout was soon adopted by desktop RPG players.
Cyberpunk v3.0, on the other hand, was released in the late 90’s, was briefly revised, and later lost its canon feature.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the Cyberpunk universe is the roles we will see in 2077. For those who are bored with roles such as Knight, Mage, Priest, Cyberpunk has great charismatic roles. There are 9 different roles in board games though, and we don’t expect to see all of them in 2077. Since it was originally a group-based RPG, V’s adventure will likely go through roles like Rockerboy or Solo.
CD Projekt RED is mostly based on Cyberpunk 2020 rules and world order in its game. With nearly 20 different rulebooks, 2020 is a boon for an open world RPG. Cyberpunk 2020 timelines the beginning of the Fourth Corporate War, which broke out in 2022. Cybepunk 2077 is a direct continuation of this game.
Let’s come to Night City, the heart of Cyberpunk games. They are a city located in the state of Northern California, on the west coast of America. With a population of nearly 5 million in 2020, Night City is becoming such a corrupt city over the years that in 2077, when the video game was set, it was voted America’s worst city to live in.
Night City, like all its counterparts, is designed as a grand utopia sprouting in an entrepreneurial mind. Getting to know this special man is very important to both Cyberpunk 2077 and Night City.
Richard Night, part of Halsey, Ferris and Nigh, is dissatisfied with the management and processes of the company’s corporate construction projects. That’s why he cuts off his relationship with the company and establishes his own company, Night International. The biggest goal of Night International is to create the ideal city.
Because nothing is going well in America. The Collapse has dragged the country into chaos since the early 90s. America decides to get involved in the drug war that broke out in Central America in the early 90s. The cartels did not remain indifferent to this intervention and spread the drug war to the entire American continent by taking the European Union to their friend. In fact, these terrorist activities come to such a point that the cartels detonated a small nuclear bomb in the middle of New York in 1993, causing the death of tens of thousands of people. In 1994, the Global Stock Market Crash hits America in the worst possible way, and unemployment and homelessness hit the highest levels across the country. In the same year, a nuclear accident in Pittsburgh and drought in the Midwest trigger famine and internal migration.
In 1996, the Vice President of the United States is assassinated and the government crumbles internally. The NSA, CIA, FBI, and DEA take the name Gang of Four and begin to act for their own purposes.
Set her sights on Coronado, located in Coronado Bay, Night envisions it as a gold-standard utopia that other cities will look up to with envy. In fact, Night is not the only businessman with this aim. In the aftermath of the Crash, a pivotal event for the cyberpunk universe, many mega-corporations are trying to create areas free of poverty and criminal activity. These particular regions or cities will both enjoy high living standards and enable governments to make developments that seem unethical but are also crucial to the advancement of humanity.
In 1992, Arasaka, EBM, and Petrochem mega-companies in the USA start to make serious investments in Coronado. Night, on the other hand, takes almost every part of Coronadon’s coastline, securing the lands of the new city to be established here.
While the constructions continued at full speed in 1993, the surface area of the peninsula began to expand with the newly built places. Del Coronado’s citizens, on the other hand, begin to move to the new city center, Old Downtown.
In 1998, Richard Night, the owner of this great idea, was murdered and the name of the city was changed to Night City. But Richard’s death will bring dawn to other megacorporations that have been lurking until then.
Different companies mean different purposes, and the conflict of corporate interests leads to Night City’s confusion. Local gangs are constantly fighting companies, these conflicts are causing anarchy to spread in almost every region. Even though the Night City police opposes these groups, they cannot prevent the activity of the gangs because they are insufficient in number.
Between 1998 and 2005, the gangs gradually turned into mafias, taking control of the corporations, and the corporations withdrew into their own strongholds, leaving Night City entirely in their hands. Night City had become a crime city in just 7 years.
By 2009, the great Gang War broke out. Murder and violence on the streets became everyday activities as gang activity rose to an all-time high.
How much effort companies put into fighting gangs is a matter of debate, but such a crime rate was certainly not good news for business. That’s why Arasaka’s mercenaries took to the streets to destroy the gangs. The aim was to regain control, but heavy losses suffered by the company caused this effort to fail as well.
When the companies realized that they could not win in an all-out war, they decided to take a different path and placed their own men within local government groups. Although in chaos, these lands were still owned by companies and with the support of the local government brand new laws were enacted. In line with the decisions taken, anyone who did not renovate their homes to Night City’s standards would be evicted. Thus, while the homelessness problem in the city was getting out of control, companies’ mercenaries were placed in the vacated houses.
Although companies played with fire, this tactic prevented gang wars by 2020, and the city center became a peaceful and low-crime place for the first time in a long time.