CD Projekt RED and the “Cyberpunk Controversy”

Cyberpunk Editorial 1

Is there really any controversy? Is it really a big deal at all?

Okay, so. This is apparently a thing. I’ve seen a few people post about it, and while some folks are a bit confused, I don’t really understand why. CD Projekt RED’s next project is going to be based on/set in the “Cyberpunk 2020” universe by Mike Pondsmith. It’s a Cyberpunk game [duh], which began in the 80s. It had a few authors tied to it, and definitely, has a lot of that 80s feel to it. Stylish and interesting, it was not the only Cyberpunk style game, especially not in the 80s. It was all the rage, as computers were becoming more and more popular, people were having wild fantasies about what the future would hold. Soon we’d see Ghost in the Shell, just to name one art piece inspired by a Cyberpunk Future. In 1989 we’d get Shadowrun, probably the longest-running cyberpunk tabletop franchise ever, with not just the tabletop RPG, but games on the SNES, Sega Genesis, and PC. So, with that in mind, it’s not the only Cyberpunk game, but probably the only game with “Cyberpunk” in the title. That’s the big takeaway.

Cyberpunk Editorial 2

The 80s were a weird time. That’s TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

All CD Projekt RED did was buy up the “Cyberpunk” franchise copyrights. The copyrights to the actual “Cyberpunk” games by Pondsmith, not the concept of Cyberpunk. That’d be ludicrous. I’m reasonably sure you can’t copyright something like that anyway. So, you can still make Cyberpunk RPGs, tabletop games, books, comics, manga, without being sued. But if you make a game called “Cyberpunk Tales of Intrigue” or something stupid, they can and probably will take action. What they’re trying to do, is make sure someone doesn’t piggyback off of their success, assuming it will be a hit. But if the Witcher franchise is anything to go off of, it will make piles of money, they’ll make several sequels, and they don’t want anyone horning in on their territory. There’s nothing wrong with that in the least. You don’t need the word Cyberpunk in your game title to tell you what the game or book is about. Hell, I read a list of the top 23 best Cyberpunk stories, and not a single one used that word in the title. Not. Even. One. It’s nothing to get in arms about, or even be upset about. It’s going to be magnificent for sure, if you’re into that kind of story. I am, to be certain. Though I do wish they would have worded the news a bit better. That way they didn’t have to go and explain it on IGN or other websites. It makes sense to me right away.

At the end of the day, I’m very curious to what we will see come out of their studios, but I doubt it will be anytime soon.

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  • Herschel Pilcher III

    If the end of the day result is a cyberpunk version of the Witcher… then consider me sold as hard as humanly possible.