Cyberpunk 2077 and Japan’s Cyberpunk Culture

Japan Nakama
5 min readApr 17, 2021

Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most anticipated video games of all time.

Set in the futuristic megalopolis of ‘Night City’ (on the Californian coast), the first-person action-adventure game was first announced in 2012 — and after nearly a decade of build-up — set to be released on 16 April 2020. It was delayed until 17 September, then 19 November, and finally released on 10 December 2020. In the ten days following, it sold a staggering 13 million copies.

After 8 million pre-orders, three delays, and even death threats from impatient fans, Polish game developer CD Projekt Red (making of the Witcher series) had finally released their cyberpunk masterpiece.

What is cyberpunk?

Cyberpunk 2077 (Credit: CD Projekt Red)
Photo Credit: Game Universe

Cyberpunk is ‘genre of science fiction set in a lawless subculture of an oppressive society dominated by computer technology’, seen across literature, manga, music playlists, Tv & film, anime, and video games.

American author Bruce Sterling coined the term ‘high tech and low life‘ to describe cyberpunk. In these futuristic worlds, soaring skyscrapers rise above seedy streets and underground slums filled with criminals, cybernetic mobsters, rebels, and anti-heroes who use violence to fight back against corporate domination and corruption. Mega-corporations run the cities. Rain falls. Crime lingers. Morality is non-existent due to the dehumanizing effects of these mega-cities and the impossibility of standing out in a technologically-rampant world.

Cyberpunk underlines the struggle to resist capitalism (and the painful missions of those who do). In these futuristic worlds, the capitalist juggernaut ‘absorbs whatever bullets you fire at it and sells them back to you at a premium.’

As mangled bodies can be restored as cyborgs and people’s memories can be wiped clean, cyberpunk raises the question: where’s the line between man and machine? It asks whether this tech is dangerous or convenient and presents a conflict between the two, reminding us that it will…

Japan Nakama

Japan Nakama are a London based online publication that investigates and explores all aspects of Japanese Culture.