Cyberpunk 2077 has a wordlwide rollout planned for September, but there’s one market that its content may run afoul of the law: Australia. Infamous for its heavy-handed censorship programs that have seen many a game refused a “G’day mate” and a legal release, Cyberpunk 2077’s inclusion of sexualised violence and hard drugs may soon see history repeat itself.
Technically referred to as stims in the world of Cyberpunk 2077, these more illicit substances can be used for speed, strength and intelligence boosts during the game provided that you don’t mind wrecking your organic body in the process and replacing those parts with mechanical substitutes. It’s a double-edged sword that touches on drug abuse and the consequences attached to these banned substances, content that CD Projekt Red doesn’t want to shy away from.
“We have a big list of things that could be bad for us in Australia,” producer John Mamais said to ONMSFT.
The two big things are sexualised violence and drugs with rewards but you can’t really do cyberpunk without drugs, right? In the real-world, there’s lots of sexualised violence, right? It happens. So it might exist in this world but the player will never be involved with something like that.
Some games have gotten around the Australian bans by altering their content to remove more risque elements, but CD Projekt Red is banking on player choice and the Australian Classification Board rule that “sexual violence is permitted only to the extent that they are ‘necessary to the narrative’ and ‘not exploitative’ or ‘not shown in detail’.”
“Yeah, we’re trying to make it more mature, right?,” Mamais explained.
It’s an art form, or we want it to be an art form, and we want to talk about difficult subjects like that but, yeah, we won’t… We’re not going to make a game where the player can do those kinds of things. It would be awful and tasteless.
There’s most likely a good message layered within Cyberpunk 2077 and its take on drugs, but like most people, I’ll probably be too busy focusing on the neat explosions, street stories and action to really be bothered with that narrative come September 17.
Last Updated: February 5, 2020