Night City, the setting of CD Projekt’s upcoming title Cyberpunk 2077, is a place soaked with neon and teeming with danger. In a world where everything, even your body is a commodity, and corporations run our daily lives, there is only one other major player – the cities many boostergangs. The world of Cyberpunk is abundant with lore and backstory, especially when diving into 2077’s tabletop predecessor, Cyberpunk 2020.
Many of the same gangs from the tabletop title have made the leap to the current gen. It might behoove you to learn about the chromer punks fixing to put a bullet in your brain next April. In the Cyberpunk universe, gangs come in a variety of flavors. Boosters as they’re known in the universe, or Boostergangs, are usually enhanced with cybernetic technology and are sometimes violent but always territorial. While they have their similarities, they have distinct defining features that set them apart into sub-categories.
These gangs center their activity around their favorite rock bands, interpreting song lyrics as direct orders from their favorite musicians. Most chromatic rock gangs are prone to random acts of senseless violence. A particularly prominent chromer gang is known as Samurai, an outfit named after a prolific in-game rock band. Samurai, a band led by frontman Johnny Silverhand (played by Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk 2077), use music as a way to rebel and fight against the system. Our most recent look at Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2019 all but confirms that this gang will be making it into the game.
Combat gangs are a bit different from their chrome-clad counterparts. Their acts of violence are more elaborate, almost like rituals. Most of these gangs spend their time quarreling with each other, and once they declare war, they won’t stop. The Animals are one such gang, finding strength through combat and body modification. Members of this ultra-violent gang also rely on a steroid-like drug known as “the juice” to increase muscle mass to unnatural proportions as well as fortify their strength. These hulking boostergang bangers call an abandoned shopping mall in the Pacifica district their home. Their close proximity to the Voodoo Boys makes them bitter rivals, as well as their alliance with Net Watch, a cyber police force of sorts.
CD Projekt recently posted an image of Sasquatch, the fearless leader of the Animals, to their Twitter page. She rules over the gang with an iron fist and a massive hammer, which she can use against players. An integrated “juice” dispenser on her back affords her a constant flow of the performance-enhancing drug. She not only has brawn but brains as well. CD Projekt themselves have described her and the rest of the gang as “clever, professional, and efficient”.
Another combat gang we may have seen is Tyger’s Claw. They lay claim to Japantown and its surrounding residential areas. This defensive gang stands out by trading cyberware for traditional weapons, as well as their reliance on melee combat. What cybertech and drugs they do use, are specifically designed to enhance their reflexes. It is also rumored that they receive financial support from mega-corporation, Arasaka.
Posergangs are an interesting bunch. These gangs specifically try to emulate someone famous, adapting their physical appearance and style of dress, even augmenting themselves to attain the right look. The object of their worship and mimicry could be a movie star or even a historical figure. In Cyberpunk 2020, there was actually an entire posergang by the name of Jack the Rippers, styled after, you guessed it, the infamous serial killer of the same name. They were responsible for countless murders across Night City.
Cult gangs are made up of members who are dedicated to a specific set of beliefs or an ideology. They are considered extremists both in their belief and their actions.
The Voodoo Boys are a classic cult gang that is definitely making the leap from the tabletop to your console. This gang exhibits the behavior of your average boostergang, but with a ritualistic twist. In the 2020s this gang was mainly made up of non-Haitian wannabees, co-opting a stereotypical Voodoun aesthetic. The Voodoo Boys of old dealt drugs mainly out of biker bars, and took advantage of young and impressionable college students, siphoning off their families wealth in the process. The rise in development over the last 50 years, specifically in the Pacifica region of Night City, has led to an influx of Haitian immigrants. When the projects were eventually scrapped, the now vulnerable group would stake the area as their own and wrest control of the organization.
We’ve already seen another notable cult gang in the original 50-minute gameplay demo released by CD Projekt. During one segment of the demo, in particular, V is tasked with obtaining a military robot from Maelstrom, a gang of transhumanists. Led by Simon Randall “Royce”, these heavily augmented gang members seek to distance themselves from their humanity as much as possible. They use a variety of tech such as pain suppressors, reflex boosters, and optical units in order to achieve their desired form. Maelstrom maintains a heavy grip on the Watson district of Night City, a former financial sector of the city.
With the bustling nightlife in Night City, you can almost be certain we’ll run into a party gang. These gangs like to party, smash, steal and deal drugs. They also commit the occasional mugging just “for the lulz”. To these gangs, life is a party. One example in the original pen and paper game is the Piranhas, a gang that would mostly leave you alone if you stayed out of their way.
Some of the other gangs are generally harmless but incredibly interesting nonetheless. Prankster gangs are generally peaceful groups that just like messing with people for fun. One such gang is the Philharmonic Vampires from cyberpunk 2020. I doubt we’ll be seeing them in 2077 but things should get interesting if we do, as they tend to beef with gangs like the Julliard a gang made up of street performers.
Those are just some of the gangs you’ll be going toe to toe with come launch time, along with a few who just might make an appearance. We’ll have to wait until Cyberpunk 2077 releases on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on April 20th, 2020 to see which organizations make it into the final release.