Cyberpunk 2077 is thriving with it’s highest player count since release. That’s thanks, in no small part, to Cyberpunk Edgerunners.
When Cyberpunk 2077 was released, in a buggy state that was unplayable to most with last-gen consoles, it was deemed to be one of the biggest flops in gaming.
The hype surrounding Cyberpunk 2077’s release seemed to be a mirage, and it had all the markings of a game that was set to slowly wither, die, and fade into obscurity. A year later, and CD Projekt Red’s landmark game isn’t just clinging to life, it’s thriving with the highest player count since 2077 launched.
This surge in players has been credited to the recently-released Netflix anime Cyberpunk Edgerunners, which tells the story of another Street Kid in Night City as they navigate the life of crime just like 2077’s main character, V.
But Edgerunners didn’t just remind players that Cyberpunk 2077 is (now) a good game to play; it subliminally brought players back to that familiar feeling of being in Night City.
Why Edgerunners feels just like Cyberpunk 2077
The first, and most conspicuous, aspect of Cyberpunk Edgerunners is that it borrows heavily from the sounds and sights that Cyberpunk 2077 players are familiar with.
From the unique trill of the player’s phone to the eclectic soundtrack to the sound of a shard chipping in, the show almost sounds as if it were created within the game.
The same can be said for the heads up display, video messaging, the hacking decryption menu, and even the font used in displays, which matches the game perfectly.
Night City, though redrawn in a completely unique anime style, still feels like Night City.
There are allusions to the same locations like Santo Domingo, Heywood, Arasaka Tower. The roads and bridges have the same bright coloring of the futuristic Cyberpunk world, but still with that element of neglect and decay.
The weapons, clothing, character designs and how their cyberware fits their body may not look exactly the same, but it feels the same.
Heck, the protagonist David even lives in an apartment in a tower that looks identical to V’s first pad in Cyberpunk 2077.
And it’s not just the fact that David is wearing a jacket that looks eerily similar to that on the Cyberpunk 2077 game cover, or that jargon like “choom,” “gonk,” and “nova” are littered throughout Edgerunners.
It’s not just that you can look at scenes from the show and recall that you’ve almost certainly seen that location in the game at some point.
It’s the entire atmosphere that Edgerunners creates, and how it fleshes out a Night City players already know.
A new, yet familiar, Cyberpunk story
Cyberpunk 2077 followed the story of V as they navigate Night City, trying to find a cure for a corrupted shard that’s infecting their mind.
Along the way, V encounters gangs, infiltrates high-security buildings, and performs jobs for a number of different allies. However, the game is still very much focused on V and their interaction with “deceased” rocker boy Johnny Silverhand.
2077 gave fans a taste of life in Night City. But Edgerunners really lets you experience it.
Edgerunners elevates the Cyberpunk franchise by filling in all the little cracks in the world that 2077 never could.
We get to see the disparity in the lives of Corpos and Street Kids, how living without a Trauma Team policy means that you won’t get even decent healthcare, how cyberware can turn normal folks into Cyberpsychos, and how the different entities from the game will actually interact when V isn’t around.
David isn’t like V, going on an epic quest to try and find a cure to save their life while unravelling the conspiracy behind the world of Night City that’s been decades in the making. He’s just a kid with no money and no hope, trying to survive.
Yes, he joins the life of crime like V, but unlike the game, Edgerunners lets fans see where the scavs, gonks, and gangoons that V mowed down so indiscriminately come from.
The itch to return to Night City
This familiar feeling, along with the new story that unfolds and gives us a look at life in Night City, is certainly what has inspired so many to boot up the game again.
With positive news about the state of the game, particularly the many bugfixes since launch, the anime may have been enough of a selling point to get some to pull the trigger on the purchase.
With a new expansion DLC in the future for Cyberpunk 2077 and more potentially to come, fans will have plenty of chances to dive deep into the world of Night City.
And with the positive fan response to Cyberpunk Edgerunners, its entirely possible that we may run into David, Lucy, and the whole gang in 2077.