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  • Writer's pictureIndy Goodwin

Life and Death in Night City

SPOILER WARNING FOR CYBERPUNK 2077

“Where can you find all of Night City’s legends? Try the graveyard!”


In Night City life and death can be freely traded, provided you’ve got the eddies to back it up. For a small fortune Arasaka can render you immortal, existing in a biochip so your friends and relations can still visit you after you’ve gone. Implants can be installed to ensure you live far longer than your natural years. Trauma Team platinum will swoop in and save you if you even get so much as a papercut.


Yes, it’s good to be rich in Night City, but what about your everyday citizen? Night City is a testament to how trickle-down economics is the biggest hoax this side of Bigfoot. The gap between the Haves and Have Nots has never been wider. So how do you cope with death when immortality is possible, but out of your reach? So close yet so far?


The answer to that would seem to be get as famous or infamous as you can before you die, hopefully, in a blaze of glory. There’s a reason why all the Night City legends are dead, because to be remembered like that you need to pull off something seriously spectacular and the only acceptable stake for a job like that is your life. Johnny went down in history for dying during the Arasaka Tower bombing. Rache Bartmoss took down the literal internet and ‘disappeared’. Jackie Welles nicked a biochip from Yorinobu Arasaka and died during our escape.


Sure, they’re all now figuratively immortal now, but what about those they left behind? I’m not just talking about V. Mama Welles, Misty, Viktor… His absence is keenly felt. I’m sure they all would rather have had Jackie there than his name immortalised as a cocktail at the Afterlife.


That’s what made Jackie’s ofrenda so beautifully bittersweet. With people from all over Night City paying tribute to arguably one of the best characters in the game, it was difficult to think that his death was worth it, even ignoring the fact that V is also dying because of it. Sure, his name will be spoken for a lot longer, but that won’t give Mama Welles her son back. It won’t give Misty her love back. It won’t give Viktor or V their best friend back.


In a game that treats death as yet another transaction, attending a funeral really brought home what death means to the people left behind. Jackie was so loved, and could have had a wonderful life if he had stopped chasing glory. He wanted more than anything to be somebody, forgetting that to some people he was the world.


Night City may be the City of Dreams, but not every dream is a pleasant one. Not unless you have money. Perhaps the Aldecaldos have the right idea, family is what's important, not this feverish hyper capitalist nightmare.

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