Home » Cyberpunk 2077, Broken & Jank, Helped Me Leave A Closeted Life

Cyberpunk 2077, Broken & Jank, Helped Me Leave A Closeted Life

by Jerry
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Image for article titled Cyberpunk 2077, Broken And Jank, Helped Me Bid Farewell To Closeted Life

Cyberpunk 2077 launched as a damaged sport. But as somebody who was going by way of the early work of gender transition throughout a world-stopping pandemic on the time, it by some means made sense that the big-budget, mega-popular online game everybody was so hyped about was additionally falling the fuck aside.

Most nights in the course of the warmth of the pandemic for me would finish the identical, particularly earlier than I began hormone remedy: I’d drink myself to sleep, often waking up with the solar evident by way of the window of my toilet, the place I’d ended up in some unspecified time in the future within the night. I might simply lay there, staring on the ceiling earlier than lastly pulling myself as much as look within the mirror, the ache of which was all the time a trial.

Peeling myself away from the mirror these mornings (which had been typically in reality afternoons, or evenings), I’d mosey over to my laptop to play a distracting online game. Cyberpunk’s disastrous launch state was alluring. I had sufficient of seeing the catastrophe of myself within the mirror, sufficient of seeing the catastrophe of the world exterior, so why not go try one thing else busted to make me really feel a bit of higher about this fucked-up world, and my place in it?

Image for article titled Cyberpunk 2077, Broken And Jank, Helped Me Bid Farewell To Closeted Life

V looks at herself in the mirror after throwing up.

Screenshot: CD Projekt Red / Kotaku

A damaged girl taking part in a damaged sport

I selected the Corpo lifepath for my first V. You start that chapter throwing up in a sink earlier than looking at your self within the mirror…besides after I performed Cyberpunk in its early, beyond-broken state, myself a broken-down trans girl making an attempt to make this mess of a sport run on my poor GTX 1060, it was like looking at my very own face within the mirror: a fucking catastrophe. Half the textures loaded, the sport stuttered always. This preliminary opening state, each narratively and technically, was the other of escapism. It was a mirrored image of how loosely held collectively my life felt.

Playing Cyberpunk 2077 in its launch state was an expertise in concord with gender dysphoria, which for some trans folks is a situation that’ll spontaneously ebb to the purpose that it feels prefer it was by no means current within the first place. It will misinform you, creating an phantasm that the life you’re dwelling is ok, is sweet sufficient. Gender dysphoria will shrink till it’s simply tough edges of discomfort you may excuse away as one thing else. You simply get used to it. Until you may’t.

Like a violent glitch that spontaneously sends your automotive flying midway throughout Night City and buries V into the aspect of a constructing, you’ll catch your self within the mirror or discover one thing about your physique and understand it’s not advantageous, and that some combination of the software program and {hardware} that’s “you” shouldn’t be taking part in properly, is crashing to desktop once more. Or in my case, the beer-bottle-littered ground.

But for me at the very least, the sport was steady sufficient, typically sufficient that I might proceed to play it—identical to I did with my life previous to popping out. I might proceed to play it. When the sport would do bizarre shit, like having an odd graphical glitch obscure my imaginative and prescient anytime I exited a automotive, I might simply reboot, or roll again to a earlier save that wasn’t too distant. I’d do comparable issues with my very own life earlier than transition: Dysphoria would rear its head and I’d simply concentrate on the occasions I loved my id and life. My personal reboot course of.

Somehow Cyberpunk simply continued to make it private, this time with the precise narrative expertise I encountered beneath all these glitches in its matrix.

Johnny Silverhand smokes a cigarette while looking down at V in an elevator.

Screenshot: CD Projekt Red / Kotaku

An undesirable visitor in my head

After the early mission “The Heist” kicks issues off, the sport’s story takes the strangest of turns. Here, V awakens from a mission gone mistaken to search out out she’s not alone in her head. In Cyberpunk 2077, that extra psychological assemble is a messed-up former rockstar from whom the world has moved on, zealous in his views on society and utterly prepared to threat his life for them. It was the form of particular person I knew properly; it was the form of particular person I personally had been earlier than popping out, having traveled the nation and different elements of the world taking part in steel music in venue after venue, night time after night time.

That additional particular person, that assemble, wished to take over my mind and push me out, turning me into nothing greater than a loud-ass strolling stereotype. It was what I had to withstand. Am I speaking concerning the sport or about how laborious it was to lastly come out and override my very own fake assemble? Probably each.

Whenever a pal would ask me what I considered Cyberpunk 2077, I’d give some variation of the identical reply: “It’s a damaged sport a few damaged world the place I’m a trans girl with the consciousness of a self-destructive male rockstar caught in her head and he or she has to take tablets to make him go away.” Anyone to whom I might’ve stated this already knew I used to be trans and knew about my earlier life as a touring steel guitarist. There’d often be a collective second of silence and an voiceless, “oh…” in response.

The state of the sport and the disastrous scenario my V discovered herself in from the start mirrored my life…after which the Johnny Silverhand flashbacks solely doubled down on the parallels. The opening moments of “Love Like Fire,” wherein you first expertise this determine now using shotgun in your mind by way of Johnny’s recollections of being backstage at a small membership earlier than occurring, jogged my memory vividly of numerous nights I’d lived by way of myself, and the way in which the sport framed Johnny’s expertise there was primarily how I’d felt for 30 years of my life: that I’m not me. That I’m simply going by way of the motions—the script.

’I’m right here to say goodbye to all of you’

In the primary flashback the place you “play as” Johnny Silverhand, you understand you’re not the particular person you’re controlling. That’s a heavy a part of the narrative: You’re not you. And the place are you not you? In the again rooms of a membership, the form of place I’ve been my entire life, notably throughout a concentrated variety of years in my twenties when it was all however my full-time job to be in such locations.

I moved Johnny towards the stage, the identical means I moved myself towards one every night time in my earlier life, when there would possibly as properly have been a W key I used to be urgent. And it was a smaller venue, the sorts I might play on tour—random, no-name locations, only a stage with amps, drums, musicians, the odor of booze, cigarettes, weed, loud voices, even louder guitars, and the strangest fucking folks you’ll ever meet. I wasn’t simply immersed within the sport; this was mainly a reminiscence from my very own life.

Johnny Silverhand plays his guitar on stage.

Screenshot: CD Projekt Red / Kotaku

When Johnny says into the mic, “I’m right here to say goodbye,” it jogged my memory of the final present I performed earlier than quitting tour life. And simply as that night time ended violently for Johnny, so did my very own closing present throughout that chapter. Full of rage concerning the music business and my place in it, I threw my guitar towards the wall and give up the band just a few quick days later.

My departure meant the dying of the band, an costly, formidable mission. “So you’re simply going to fucking burn this all down?” a bandmate requested me after I give up. Yeah. Like the Arasaka Towers, I did.

But in 2020 these recollections had been almost 4 years previous. I had come out as a girl, prepared to begin medical transition, and was dwelling my life anew. And like Johnny glitching himself into existence to hang-out V, so did my former life bedevil me. For the primary 12 months and a half of transition it was a trial to even contact a guitar. To achieve this would simply summon my very own Johnny Silverhand, interrupting me and fucking with my sense of actuality and id. And like V, I had a option to make.

V takes pills to make Johnny Silverhand go away.

Screenshot: CD Projekt Red / Kotaku

Been good to know ya

Cyberpunk 2077’s narrative was typically fantastical sufficient that I might separate it from my very own life and simply eat it as a bit of science-fiction media. But each interplay with Johnny Silverhand made it too laborious to disregard the plain query I’d been wrestling with and would proceed to wrestle with: Do I select hostility or grace when confronted with features of my life that make me uncomfortable? Do I study to make peace with this undesirable “different” self, or do I inform him to fuck off? Do I give in and simply let this different id take the wheel? Or do I simply eat tablets, take blockers, and see what occurs?

In that first Cyberpunk playthrough, I selected to let Johnny go off with Alt into the void of the online, the identical as how I selected to lastly let go of my previous self after years of making an attempt to make it work, of promising myself it’d be advantageous. V initially thought she might simply let him have her physique, till she realized she couldn’t. It’s laborious to look at that closing second with Johnny, the place she simply lets him go, falling away to an unsure future on her personal. I cry each time. But I needed to do it.

CD Projekt Red / Redacted

I made the identical alternative with my very own false assemble, the rockerboy I left behind.

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