Games

Why Cyberpunk 2077 is a dystopia especially for transgender people

Indeed, Cyberpunk 2077 has a dark appeal (Photo: CD Projekt).

With the release of the long-awaited video game Cyberpunk 2077 last week, we couldn’t escape the attention of those who catch up with the video game industry.

It is set in the future of dystopia, inherited by megacorporations and technological advances.

Cyber ​​technology, guns, excessive sexualization, and extreme violence are common here. Advertising promotes the sale of products such as guns, neurostimulators, and even cyberware. Cyberware uploads your consciousness to your hard drive when you die, allowing your loved ones to stay with you forever.

When the poster posted in the fictional world leaked in June last year, the game was controversial and criticized long before it was released.

A poster promoting a fake soft drink by ChroManticore Co., Ltd. depicts a woman in a tight leotard, and you can see the detailed outline of a large inflated penis.

This image has been criticized for objectiveizing the transgender people, and many claim that the transgender body has been commercialized by the game developers.

I knew that this poster was intended to reflect a fictional society and how extreme it was, but I was worried about how it would go down on social media.

Some people responded angry to the poster, making transphobic remarks and declaring “sick” in the image. As a result, transgender people had to intervene again and defend their right to exist.

Nevertheless, I decided to buy the game when it was released. As someone who plays a lot of story-driven games, apart from that controversy, I wanted to see what it had to offer.

Indeed, the Cyber ​​Punk 2077 has a dark appeal. Despite the despair of Night City where the game takes place, there are great story arcs you can follow and friends you can make along the way.

But anyone walking through the city of this game sees posters and TV ads that constantly make both Sith and Trance women overly sexual.

Like the leaked poster, these fictitious ads seem to reflect this horrifying world of dystopia, but that doesn’t mean less discomfort or anxiety. The damage caused by female sexualization-inequality and violence-means that this reality feels too close to home.

But perhaps one of the biggest issues is the unique ability to choose a character’s genitals.

As a transgender person, I have mixed feelings about this. It can be imagined that the same is true for many who have undergone a long medical transition, including genital surgery, because the body caused such pain.

Screenshot of Cyberpunk 2077

Anyone who walks through the city of this game sees posters and TV ads that constantly make women overly sexual (Photo: CD Projekt).

Faced with the opportunity to create a character with a particular genitals, including myself, may be a bit too close and uncomfortable.

However, from the perspective of transgender people who do not want surgery, allowing them to create characters that reflect themselves can be seen as a great option. This is an interesting addition and definitely makes people think about different bodies.

There is also a bug that the wrong genitals may be displayed when looking in the mirror, and there are considerable complaints from developers.

The forums are full of cisgender people who complain that a character with genitals that they didn’t choose or felt uncomfortable was suddenly born.

The irony of the cisgender people who are very angry about having the wrong genitals in video games is not lost to me. Perhaps it makes them a little more sympathetic to the struggle of transgender people.

Oddly enough, your character’s voice seems to be a deciding factor in how it is referenced by the character in the game. If you choose a masculine voice, the character will call you “he” and for a feminine voice,’she’.

It’s a missed opportunity, as it not only allows people to choose their pronouns, but can also include pronouns for non-binary people.

To be fair to the developers, the story of the game has some rare but strange expressions of people. The most notable things I’ve come across include a lesbian named Judy and a bisexual character called Johnny Silverhand. Both play part of the main story to some extent and are a romance option for some players.

There is also a transgender character called-Spoiler Attention-Claire. This is part of the main story and will greatly help the character if you make friends with her. If you deepen her friendship, you will find out later that she is transgender. I personally think this is a good feeling.

It reminds people that, as in real life, it is not always possible to know if someone is transgender. Therefore, I believe that expression has become almost casual and is a major step towards the acceptance of transgender in society.

So, in this game of despair and despair, there are beautiful moments of character connection and friendship. It shows that even if things look bad, there is always an opportunity to find a meaningful connection. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to continue playing the game.

But I have to be prepared for it every time, and I can only play for a short time before in-game discrimination and objectification are overwhelmed.

The world reflected in Cyberpunk 2077 can be difficult to digest and trigger if you experience these things in person to some extent.

It’s interesting to see where developers take it and how they react to negative feedback. There are many opportunities for improvement, but I hope that even in the setting of dystopia, it will respond to the demand for more authentic queer expression.

By 2077, we want to live in a world, or game, where gender expression and gender identity are far more diverse and vast than they are today.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Please email jess.austin@metro.co.uk

Share your opinion in the comments below.

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Choosing your character’s genitals might seem like a gaming step forward – but it’s not always an easy decision

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