Something Big You Might Have Missed About Keanu Reeves And The ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ E3 Trailer

    Cyberpunk 2077

    Credit: CD Projekt Red

    A helpful tip: if you are looking for the biggest reveal of a given event, showcase or expo, there are a lot of metrics you can use. You could look at viewership, pre-orders or social media engagement, for example. But the best marker is likely a lot more simple than that: density of Keanu Reeves. In the case of E3 2019, this clearly leads us to Cyberpunk 2077, which also tops most of those other metrics for biggest reveal of the show. But I could have told you that as soon as Keanu Reeves showed up, first on stage and then on screen.

    For starters, let’s watch:

    The demo at the show, however, goes a little deeper into just what Keanu is doing in this game. He’s a ghost that lives in your head named Johnny Silverhand: in the tabletop RPGs and earlier iterations of this world he’s a rock star with a distinctive cybernetic arm, which you can see in his trailer appearance. In the fiction of Cyberpunk, however, Johnny is dead, killed in an epic battle in a large-scale corporate war. That’s what you might have missed in this trailer: for the most part, he just sort of looks like a human being, albeit an exceptionally handsome one. But if you look a bit closer you can see him flicker a little bit. That’s because he’s living in your head.

    Silverhand’s non-corporeal status is a lot more evident in the behind-closed-doors demo CD Projekt Red is showing off. In Cyberpunk 2077 he’s an archetype that gamers will recognize pretty well: the AI that’s always on hand for some observation and guidance as you go about your business. He appears to be central to the plot, however: the player needs to find out exactly what Keanu is doing inside of their head, and it seems like his presence might have something to with how tough-to-kill the main character seems to be. Transience and the relationship between a physical human and an uploaded consciousness are central themes to any cyberpunk story, and that appears to be a big part of what Silverhand’s role is here.

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    Cyberpunk 2077

    Credit: CD Projekt Red

    A helpful tip: if you are looking for the biggest reveal of a given event, showcase or expo, there are a lot of metrics you can use. You could look at viewership, pre-orders or social media engagement, for example. But the best marker is likely a lot more simple than that: density of Keanu Reeves. In the case of E3 2019, this clearly leads us to Cyberpunk 2077, which also tops most of those other metrics for biggest reveal of the show. But I could have told you that as soon as Keanu Reeves showed up, first on stage and then on screen.

    For starters, let’s watch:

    The demo at the show, however, goes a little deeper into just what Keanu is doing in this game. He’s a ghost that lives in your head named Johnny Silverhand: in the tabletop RPGs and earlier iterations of this world he’s a rock star with a distinctive cybernetic arm, which you can see in his trailer appearance. In the fiction of Cyberpunk, however, Johnny is dead, killed in an epic battle in a large-scale corporate war. That’s what you might have missed in this trailer: for the most part, he just sort of looks like a human being, albeit an exceptionally handsome one. But if you look a bit closer you can see him flicker a little bit. That’s because he’s living in your head.

    Silverhand’s non-corporeal status is a lot more evident in the behind-closed-doors demo CD Projekt Red is showing off. In Cyberpunk 2077 he’s an archetype that gamers will recognize pretty well: the AI that’s always on hand for some observation and guidance as you go about your business. He appears to be central to the plot, however: the player needs to find out exactly what Keanu is doing inside of their head, and it seems like his presence might have something to with how tough-to-kill the main character seems to be. Transience and the relationship between a physical human and an uploaded consciousness are central themes to any cyberpunk story, and that appears to be a big part of what Silverhand’s role is here.

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