The fifth episode of Night City Wire, the official livestream for Cyberpunk 2077, has revealed new details on Keanu Reeves’ Johnny Silverhand character, as well as provided behind-the-scenes looks at how the game’s 90’s-inspired soundtrack was created, and how the hundreds of characters are animated.
Johnny Silverhand is a key character from the tabletop Cyberpunk game, and CD Projekt Red considers him a “co-protagonist” of the video game. Played by Keanu Reeves, he is both a rockstar and ex-military, has his own specific agenda in the game, and players will find that many quests are to further his ambitions rather than their own.
CDPR considered many approaches for bringing Silverhand to life before it cast Keanu Reeves in the role, including rock band frontmen. Interestingly, it even considered bringing a rock star back from the dead in animated form for the role, although the stream stopped short of revealing exactly who that star was.
Keanu Reeves is not the only famous voice in the game; Cyberpunk 2077’s soundtrack has numerous real bands on it, making up some of its 150 custom tracks. Featured artists include Run The Jewels, Grimes, Nina Kraviz, Gazelle Twin, and Rat Boy. CDPR wanted to bring some 90s influences to the soundtrack since the cyberpunk genre has traditionally been so heavily 80s influenced. You’ll be able to get a taste for the soundtrack by listening to a new six-track EP that has just been released on streaming services.
Talking of music, if you’re a streamer then Cyberpunk 2077 features a mode that disables any copyrighted music tracks so you won’t get DMCA’d. This can be toggled on or off in the menu on all versions, but the console versions can auto-detect when you’re streaming and automatically activate the mode. The copyrighted tracks will be replaced with something suitable for streaming.
This episode of Night City Wire also provided a quick insight into the procedural animation system behind the facial performances. Due to the hundreds of NPCs and the 10 languages Cyberpunk 2077 will be available in, facial animations are handled by a software called JALI rather than facial capture. The results seem rather impressive.
Finally, the standard edition of Cyberpunk 2077 will come with some digital bonuses: an art book, the official score, and a comic. There are also in-game items that can be redeemed by linking your game to your GOG account, including the Wolf School jacket that features the wolf head insignia from The Witcher.
For more, you can read our latest Cyberpunk 2077 preview right now, which provides brand new insights from 16 hours with the game.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.