Some top-notch, high tech, low-life Cyberpunk media you can jack in to in order to help ease the wait.
Now that we know even more about CD Project Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, including that Keanu Reeves plays a digital ghost named Johnny Silverhand in the game, we’re more excited about the title than ever. The thing is, we have to wait until April 16, 2020, for Cyberpunk 2077 to be released.
So with that in mind, we’ve got the following comprehensive list of some top-notch, high tech, low-life Cyberpunk media you can jack in to in order to help ease the wait.
Don’t expect anything obvious like Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, or Ghost in the Shell on this list, as we’re digging much deeper. Check out all of these great sci-fi stories to tide you over until Cyberpunk 2077 below…
1. Observer (PS4, XBOX, PC)
Observer is a cyberpunk old gen horror game that places you in the role of Detective Dan Lazarski. If you ever wonder what it looks like to roam around the mind of the criminally insane in a world of designer drugs, neural implants, and VR, this is the game for you. Observer does a fantastic job of shining a light on the unseen side of cyberpunk: mental warfare. The existential dread combined with some unforgettable moments make Observer a game that needs to be experienced. But be careful what you wish for — you just might find yourself 404’d.
2. Altered Carbon (2018)
If you’re hungry for neon and rain-soaked streets, then look no further than Netflix’s Altered Carbon. In the world of Altered Carbon, human consciousness can be transferred to newer, younger bodies called sleeves… for the right price. Altered Carbon follows Takeshi Kovacs, who’s resleeved for one reason: “Solve a murder, who’s, Mine.” The best thing Altered Carbon has going for it, is its imaginative take on future tech and the endless possibilities that come with merging human biology and technology. You’ll want to watch season one ASAP though, because the show’s been renewed for a second season.
3. Transmetropolitan (1997-2002, Warren Ellis)
Transmetropolitan is a comic series that follows the adventures of journalist Spider Jerusalem — think Hunter S. Thompson but with even more drugs, as impossible as that sounds. This grim look at the future is not unlike our own, and nails the transhumanist, puppet governments with corporations pulling strings. Transmetropolitan asks: if humanity is so evolved, why are we always acting like animals? It is a fantastic look into the politics of a future dystopia. Jerusalem’s fiery monologues and wild antics will stay with you well into our inevitable cyberpunk future.
4. Quadrilateral Cowboy (PC)
But maybe you’re an ace on the keyboard and want something more challenging? Channel your inner hacker and check out Quadrilateral Cowboy, a PC game about writing lines of code to break into different buildings to extract whatever objective is present. Quadrilateral Cowboy is a logic puzzle that requires clean code and precise character navigation while your code is running on your portable deck. We’d argue it’s highly underrated, and tons of fun.
5. The Sprawl Trilogy (1984 – 1988, William Gibson)
Witness the birth of cyberpunk first hand with William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy. The first book, Neuromancer, follows the story of Case, a washed up hacker hired to locate a rogue Artificial Intelligence. You’ll want to follow up your stay in Chiba City with a dip into Cyberspace in the sequel: Count Zero. Rounding off your stay in the Sprawl in the final book, Mona Lisa Overdrive. The Sprawl trilogy is a masterclass in all things cyberpunk and does an exemplary job of detailing the futurist tech littered around the landscape.
6. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
Console Cowboys, feast your eyes on Tetsuo: The Iron Man. In the film, a businessman accidentally kills a metal fetishist. But before biting the dust, the dying man curses our hapless businessman by slowly turning him into a gross mish-mash of flesh and rusted metal. Body modification is something often featured in cyberpunk media and is a complicated subject. Sure it could be used to help the handicapped walk again. But on the downside, you could end up looking like something out of, well, an ’80s horror movie.
7. The Sprawl Tabletop RPG (2014)
If you want to extend your stay in the Sprawl further, check out The Sprawl, a tabletop RPG inspired by William Gibson’s fiction. This RPG stands out from the rest because of its focus on storytelling and cinematic moments. Forget the nitty gritty that other RPGs get lost in, and focus on what really matters: having fun and looking cool doing it.
8. Dredd (2012)
For something that looks like it can take place in Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City, check out Dredd. Enough people haven’t seen the 2012 version of Dredd, so it’s our duty to sing its praises. Dredd is judge, jury, and executioner in a city hungry to see cops like him dead. Complete with stylish action and scenes that look like they’re straight out of the Cyberpunk 2077 demo, this should certainly tide you over until Cyberpunk’s TBD release date.
9. Hotline Miami (PS4, XBO, PC) & Hotline Miami 2 (PS4, XBO, PC)
Keep the high from Dredd going by kicking some butt all on your own with Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2. They’re not cyberpunk at all, but their style, rockin’ soundtrack, and hyper-violent gameplay definitely fit the mood you’re looking for. Plus it’s way better than Ruiner – a cyberpunk knockoff of Hotline Miami that’s nowhere near as fun.
10. Cyberpunk 2020 (1988)
Our final recommendation is a no-brainer, but one that needs to be said. Cyberpunk 2077 would not exist without the tabletop RPG that came first: Cyberpunk 2020. Mike Pondsmith’s RPG set the tone for CD Projekt Red’s upcoming blockbuster. This 80s inspired vision of the future is an esoteric mechanically, but a treasure trove of lore bombs to get your familiar with the world of Cyberpunk 2077. Johnny Silverhand, anyone?
This list is far from definitive, but we only have so much bandwidth. By the time you finish enjoying this entire list, Cyberpunk 2077 may very well be out. We hope. If not, stay jacked in and explore the depths of Cyberspace this list inspires you to explore. Let us know your favorite cyberpunk stories in the comments!
Note: This story has been updated with the latest information about Cyberpunk 2077.
Nicholas Limon is a producer for IGN and eagerly awaiting our inevitable cyberpunk future. Follow him on Twitter at @AdventNick.