I ❤️ Night City

Braindancing with my Chooms

Thursday 29 February 2024

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

When William Gibson begun Neuromancer with that, a dead channel meant static. As technology has changed, so has the meaning of that description. We begin the story in Chiba City with a downtrodden hacker, Henry Case, as he is given a chance at redemption. Neuromancer deals with technology, sentient Artificial Intelligence, Space Colonisation, simulated reality in a technological singularity, and many other themes that we’re used to now, but at the time, they were groundbreaking.

An illustration of Chiba City

Chiba City streets by Andrew Porter

Cyberpunk as a genre started with Neuromancer. Through Ghost in The Shell, The Matrix, and more, we end up with Cyberpunk 2077.

In Cyberpunk 2077, we explore Night City. Sitting on the Californian coastline and independent from the New United States of America, Night City exists as a capitalist maximum in a society ruled by corporations.

Night City

A view of Night City

The technological singularity has reached a crescendo - Humans swap their organic limbs and organs for artificial versions, giving them an advantage in the workplace, sports, and sex. Memories can be recorded and played back as Braindances, leading to a whole new industry of recorded entertainment, crime, death, and pornography. NC’s leading cab company is run by an AI that doesn’t ask questions. The highest earners in society play fast and lose with those who live literally and figuratively below them, while the poorest have no choice but take out huge loans and upgrade their bodies to have any chance at escaping poverty.

Japantown, Night City

The Arasaka parade flows through upper Japantown

Cyberware surgeries are done by Ripperdocs - back alley surgeons with a vibe more akin to a tattoo studio than a hospital. Ditching your ‘ganic parts for chrome doesn’t come without risks though - some people with chrome lose it and lash out, often killing others in the process. Although Cyberpsychosis is rare, nobody knows what causes it. Even if your brain survives the upgrades, since you’ve got cyberware, you’ll need to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of your life.

While human limits can be surpassed, healthcare is still an issue. Ambulance services are stretched thin, so if you’ve got the money, you pay for a Trauma Team subscription. They’ll monitor your vitals and swoop in via Arial Vehicle, dropping their crack team of paramedics who are armed with enough firepower for any issue.


Two shipping vessels on approach, seen from Arroyo

All of this technological integration comes with other dangers too. Netrunners can hack and control any connected device, and in 2077, all devices are connected. Security cameras, lights, doors, windows, cars, guns, eyes, ears, limbs, and even your impulses, could all be coerced into doing what the attacker desires.

Gang warfare ravages the city. The Tyger Claws rule Japantown, Little China, and Kabuki, while the Valentinos own Heywood. The Voodoo Boys specialise in Netrunning, ruling through extortion and dealing in cyberware. Maelstrom goes for more chrome than the general population, even in 2077, and has no issues with flatlining you to take yours. If you’re unlucky, you might be an innocent bystander in daily disputes between the gangs.

A Gang meeting

Gangoons meeting over a drink

You’ll encounter back alley deals, some of which have clearly went wrong for one of the parties involved. Domestics are common too, but intervening might not be advisable - you don’t know if someone has Gorilla Arms ready to punch a hole through your organic ribcage.

Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of new friends out there for you to meet too! The law abiding denizens of this wonderful city are just as interesting.



Night City is pure visual cacophony. Neon signs pulse along lively streets filled with markets and traders. Graffiti follows buildings and walkways like urban snakes. Advertisements fill screens, persuading you to buy synth-meat or promoting the newest episode of Watson Whore. Above you, roads, public transit, and Aerodynes, pass between gargantuan residential mega-buildings and corporate headquarters - huge blocks of steel and concrete that blot out the sun. Holographic beams shoot out of the tallest buildings, occupying premium adspace that trails off into the sky. Music, sirens, disagreements, conversations, and the occasional sound of gunfire fill the air.


Heywood Waterfront

After dark, the city gets upgrade. More lights and more sounds push the limits of your attention span. Head to famous clubs like The Afterlife or The Totentanz to get a real taste of what Night City citizens enjoy when the sun goes down.

The Afterlife

The Afterlife

A preem place

My time with Cyberpunk 2077 is nearly coming to an end. I’ve stopped the main storyline just short of the last mission and I’m working my way through Phantom Liberty. At times, the game has bugs and is still a bit janky, but overall it’s a solid mix of immersive sim and Grand Theft Auto.

While the side quests and gigs sway between dull and interesting, the main storylines and characters are incredible. Night City is filled with plenty of weirdos and scum so you’ll make many friends and enemies during your time there.

It’s astounding that CD Projekt Red have done what many others haven’t - built a world that feels truly cyberpunk. It’s captivating, terrifying, and awe-inspiring. I think everyone should visit.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a game unlike any other.