Cyberpunk 2077’s Approach to Gender Representation Explained

Cyberpunk Developers Share Insight on Crafting a Gender-Neutral Experience for Protagonist V

In the complex and visually stunning world of Cyberpunk 2077, players have the freedom to shape their experience by choosing between a male or female version of the protagonist, V. However, the journey to create a gender-neutral narrative in a game known for its immersive storytelling involved a unique and conscious decision by CD Projekt Red.

Lead quest designer Błażej Augustynek shared an intriguing detail on the Answered Podcast, revealing that during Cyberpunk 2077’s development, the quest designers approached V as a female character, while the writers envisioned V as a male character. This deliberate strategy aimed to eliminate any specific gender bias, ensuring that neither a male nor female gaze influenced the character’s perspective on the world.

For Augustynek, V will always be a woman, reflecting his personal interpretation. However, within CD Projekt Red, other team members may view the male version as equally valid. This intentional duality in perspective was a departure from the studio’s experience with The Witcher series, where the narrative centered around the well-established character Geralt of Rivia.

Cyberpunk narrative director Philipp Weber explained the shift in mindset, emphasizing that the team was accustomed to crafting stories for Geralt. With the creation of V, a character capable of embodying different genders, a conscious decision was made to write quest design documents using ‘she’ as a reference. This approach served as a constant reminder to consider the character’s multifaceted nature.

The debate over which gender version of V is considered canon or feels more authentic has been a prominent topic among players since the game’s release. However, CD Projekt Red’s intentional decision to keep both perspectives equally valid underscores the studio’s commitment to offering a diverse and inclusive gaming experience.

As the development of Cyberpunk 2077 nears completion, marked by the recent release of Update 2.1, the journey to create a gender-neutral protagonist has left an indelible mark on the game’s legacy, reflecting the evolving landscape of character representation in the gaming industry.