Cyberpunk 2077’s controversial ray-tracing image is commentary on corporate influence

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Cyberpunk 2077 (1)

Cyberpunk 2077: It looks stunning, it made Keanu Reeves more breath-taking than usual and already has some controversy attached to it. Earlier this week, Nvidia and CD Projekt Red released a bunch of screens detailing how the game is going to look delightful on PC with ray-tracing technology. Screenshots of the game that featured light dancing on surfaces hit the scene, although one image drew criticism for featuring a transgender woman in a super-duper-sexualised in-game advertising poster.

The brouhaha from social media seemed to be centered on the idea of having a trans person used for marketing purposes in an ultra-sexual pose for a soft drink about mixing and matching flavours (nothing subtle there), which is…kind of the point in Cyberpunk 2077 according to the artist responsible for the image.

“Personally, for me, this person is sexy,” CD Projekt Red arist Kasia Redesiuk said to Polygon.

Cyberpunk 2077 (2)[3]

I like how this person looks. However, this model is used — their beautiful body is used — for corporate reasons. They are displayed there just as a thing, and that’s the terrible part of it. Cyberpunk 2077 is a dystopian future where megacorporations dictate everything. They try to, and successfully, influence people’s lives. They shove products down their throats. They create those very aggressive advertisements that use, and abuse, a lot of people’s needs and instincts.

So, hypersexualization is apparent everywhere, and in our ads there are many examples of hypersexualized women, hypersexualized men, and hypersexualized people in between. I would say it was never the intention to offend anyone. However, with this image of an oversexualized person, we did want to show how oversexualization of people is bad. And that’s it.

Makes sense to me. Context always helps explain an image, although the other side of the coin here would also make mention of how CD Projekt Red has occasionally messed up some of their social media such as the infamous tweet regarding assumed gender last year. Whatever your stance, I doubt that these images are done with ill intent and when examined they do have a valid point to make.

Whether that point can be made with better forms of satire is up in the air, but at least CD Projekt Red is listening to any concerns that fans express over this highly anticipated 2020 game.

Last Updated: June 13, 2019

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