As I compose this, we are approximately one week away from the launch of Cyberpunk Edgerunners 2077’s highly anticipated expansion, Phantom Liberty, on PC. Additionally, it’s less than 72 hours until the release of the substantial 2.0 patch, available for all existing Cyberpunk 2077 owners. This provides ample time for fans to revisit or discover the 10 episodes of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, the Netflix anime series that premiered last year and significantly contributed to the game’s impressive sales performance. Whether you’ve already enjoyed the series or not, immersing yourself in it is an excellent way to set the mood for the highly anticipated return of Cyberpunk 2077 this week.
Despite its brief episode duration, Edgerunners is a dense and intense experience, offering over four hours of unhinged animation. As I previously mentioned last year, this action-packed series provides a surprisingly captivating street-level perspective of Night City, centering on a gang from the city and their frequent encounters with extreme violence. Notably, Edgerunners is independent of Cyberpunk 2077’s protagonist, V, and doesn’t demand any prior knowledge of the game for enjoyment. However, it effectively enriches the world in which you’ll be immersed when playing the game by delving into concepts that the game itself may not extensively explore.
One of the most intelligent aspects of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is its narrative foundation, which revolves around the looming threat of cyberpsychosis. This psychological condition is alluded to in the game but is rarely the central focus. According to Cyberpunk RPG lore, cyberpsychosis is a violent form of madness that emerges when individuals undergo excessive augmentations. It occurs when the brain struggles to cope with the physical changes, ultimately leading individuals who have undergone extensive augmentations to become unhinged and potentially violent.
In Edgerunners, the characters resort to injecting immunosuppressants as a means to retain their sanity, progressively increasing their dosage with each additional body part they replace with cybernetic augmentations. The series underscores that for individuals like David and Maine, the addictive element isn’t solely the drugs but rather the allure of augmentation and the hunger for the power it offers. While this revelation may not delve as deeply into the complexities of the human-AI interface as some other cyberpunk anime, such as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, it still surpasses expectations for a series that begins with a cyborg character brutally dispatching 15 police officers as a tone-setting introduction.
It’s unfortunate that Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t explore cyberpsychosis as deeply as the show does. However, the mod Wannabe Edgerunner takes a step in that direction by introducing a “Humanity” stat that decreases as you integrate more cyberware and engage in more violence. If you push it too far, you can enter a state of cyberpsychosis, transforming into a ruthless killing machine but also attracting police attention and experiencing “blackouts” that teleport you to random locations. To combat cyberpsychosis, the mod provides neuroblocker injectors. This intriguing mod, hopefully, will receive an update when patch 2.0 is released.
Aside from being an entertaining and gruesome series, there are several specific reasons to consider watching Edgerunners this week:
- The infamous cyborg Adam Smasher appears both in Cyberpunk 2077 and Edgerunners. Viewing Edgerunners before encountering him in the game can add an appropriate level of tension to your interactions with his character.
- You can discover Edgerunners protagonist David’s jacket and his crewmate Rebecca’s shotgun in Night City. These are valuable items worth acquiring.
- The Cyberpunk 1.6 patch introduced more Edgerunners easter eggs, including a drink named after David at the Afterlife and apartments belonging to various characters. Encountering these easter eggs organically after watching Edgerunners can provide a deeper sense of immersion in Night City that you might otherwise miss out on.
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