In a recent interview with Metro’s GameCentral, Senior Concept Artist Marthe Jonkers at CD Project RED shared a lot of information about the highly anticipated upcoming title Cyberpunk 2077 and its Night City location following the new gameplay trailer at this year’s Gamescom. Recently the development team decided to change the way that character customization works, with players now customizing a general character instead of starting from a “male” or “female” base canvas.
In the course of the interview, Metro asked Jonkers for comments on the recent concerns some people have expressed on the way the development team were approaching issues of gender representation and trans identities. Jonkers shared that inclusivity is a priority at CD Project RED, and explained that their commitment will be on display for players starting from character creation.
We really want to give people the freedom to make their own character and play the way they want to play.
“We want you to feel free to create any character you want,” Jonkers explained. Earlier schreenshots of Cyberpunk 2077 showed the mandatory choice between a “male” or “female” character, and the development team has changed this to a selection of base body types. Jonkers didn’t explain whether this means players choose from a wide range of different body types or from either a masculine or feminine base body that is not labeled “male” or “female.” However, the decision to remove the “male” and “female” sex identifiers from character creation is a move towards inclusivity and a more immersive experience for more players.
After choosing their body type, the player then will be prompted to select a voice for their Cyberpunk 2077 character. There are only two voice types, but they will not be restricted, which means a player can choose to create a character with a “masculine” body type and a female voice. Additionally, more choices have been added for other customization options like tattoos, skin tones, and hair styles.
These changes to Cyberpunk 2077‘s character customization were not confirmed to be a direct result of criticism, but Jonkers did say that CD Project RED takes feedback very seriously, saying, “We just wanna know what we can improve on because we want to make a really good game and we really want to make a game that everybody is comfortable playing.” After all, in a game that takes an interest in cybernetic body parts and transhumanism, the question of identity can take off in all kinds of directions.
CD Project RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 aims to tell a complex and thought-provoking story, and will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia on April 16th, 2020. Check out mxdwn’s impressions of this year’s E3 footage for Cyberpunk 2077, protagonist V, the world of Night City and more here.