I was lucky enough to get a real in-depth look at Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red’s upcoming RPG title, last week during E3 2019. While I’ll have an article up soon here detailing my hands-off hour with the game, I still have to say my favorite part of the whole experience was the fact that Keanu Goshdarn Reeves, the internet’s current boyfriend/hot dad/sexual obsession, will be playing a cyberghost named Johnny Silverhand who’s lodged in your UI and has the most lines out of any single NPC in the game. The vision for the title didn’t start off all star-studded, however. In fact, Keanu is more of a happy coincidence than anything else.
“It was almost organic how it happened,” says senior level designer Miles Tost. “We made the character, we had our story, we were playing around with it — it became more and more apparent that it’d be really cool if we could get Keanu Reeves for it,” he continued during his interview with Destructoid.
Tost says that the team didn’t exactly go in with the thought that they needed a big A-Lister in the game just for the sake of it, but that they just thought that Reeves would be good in the part. It’s implied that if Keanu had turned down the opportunity, they would have cast with a lesser-known voice actor who fit the role
What made everyone at CDPR think that Theodore Logan would be interested in the part? Well, maybe due to the similarities of the stars. In universe, Johnny Silverhand is the lead singer of the band Samurai, a group still popular almost 70 years after their debut. Keanu had, uh, Dogstar.
Silverhand is also an ex-solider, skilled in combat and experienced the loss of his one true love, due to an unfortunate AI mishap. Keanu experienced similar loss early in his life. At the end of the day though, Johnny’s a legend. “It sounds like a story that might be interesting to someone like Keanu,” Tost says, presumably with a sly grin on his face.
According to lore, Johnny’s physical form may be dead, but his consciousness lives on. This kind of reminds me of a different movie, where Keanu, like, did a bunch of stuff with computers and guns. What was that again? Ah, yes, Johnny Mnemonic, which, coincidentally, also deals with memories planted inside someone’s brain. Honestly though, Neo’s presence in the game is not distracting, and it doesn’t feel like a cheap ploy to increase hype. I mean, this is motherfucking Cyberpunk 2077 we’re talking about here; how much more hyped can you get?