In a recent interview with VGC, Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the original RPG being used as the basis for Cyberpunk 2077, spoke about the unavoidable necessity for political themes at the heart of the upcoming game.
This should be no surprise to fans of the genre, for Cyberpunk is defined by the juxtaposition between futuristic advanced technological or scientific achievements and some degree of a breakdown or radical shift in the social order. When asked what exactly Cyberpunk has to say about the current state of the world, Pondsmith states that the genre “is a warning, not, ‘hey, this is going to be great.’”
When pushed to elaborate on how political the game could be, it seems that there is no room for cyberpunk as a genre without such themes and conversations. Pondsmith continued by stating that “inherently it’s always political. It’s not politics in terms of right or left, or even conservative versus liberal… everything is political. Human beings are political.”
It seems that we must return to Pondsmith on this one, in that everything is political and can be interpreted in a way that was not meant to be by the creators but may fit within a certain context. Within entertainment and media, this type of misinterpretation of art was observed on a large scale with the 2012 United States presidential election.
By chance, the election coincided with the release of the third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, whose main antagonist was the masked-villain Bane. Uninformed and unwilling to do even the briefest of internet searches, US radio host Rush Limbaugh blasted the film for creating such a character, convinced that it was meant to demonize Republican candidate Mitt Romney and his former company, Bain Capital. Fans of the fictional character know that Bane has existed since 1993, and was likely scripted into the third film long before Romney was selected for his political party.
As for Cyberpunk 2077, the potential for political statements will most likely appear against the systemic increase in power of corporations and the disparity that can arise within capitalist systems, and not something directed towards any current living politician. Such themes are already prevalent within the Cyberpunk genre, and there is little reason to believe they would be absent from the upcoming game.