'Cyberpunk 2077's Keanu Reeves Character Revealed in New Gameplay Demo Highlighting Deep Customization

CD Projekt Red debuted a cinematic trailer for its sprawling Cyberpunk 2077 at E3 2019, ending on a show-stopping reveal, when Keanu Reeves wakes the broken player character up from the trash heap where they've been discarded. "Wake the fuck up, samurai," he says. "We have a city to burn." But the true nature of Reeves' character in Cyberpunk 2077 wasn't revealed in the trailer. That came in a closed-door CD Projekt Red gameplay demo: Reeves plays Johnny Silverhand, a projection from the chip in V's head and a ghost in the machine.

The E3 2019 Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo followed an infiltration scenario with two radically different character builds: one a stealthy hacker and the other a brute. The two possibilities are part of the developer's ethos of "maximum freedom" when it comes to in-game customization. This extends to the option to never kill a single person, even bosses, throughout Cyberpunk 2077.

Your terrifying metal arms don't need to take life. CD Projekt Red

"Right now, every weapon and every cyberware has a nonlethal option," Lead Quest Designer Pawel Sasko told PC Gamer, making an exception for bazookas and similarly destructive options. "You're able to knock them down, choke them, make them sleep and so on."

Hacker skills include disabling cameras, or just taking over local security systems entirely. You can hack soda machines too. The hacker build had a terrifying weapon too: a nanowire. It can be used offensively to chop off limbs, or tactically, by whipping it against enemies' heads to hack their internal systems and disrupt their enhancements.

The brute build could tear open fortified doors, or rip loose the machine gun from a sentry turret. Of course, strength comes in handy against human enemies as well: V can lift defeated foes aloft and use them as human shields.

Different builds are spread over 12 branches in the perk tree: melee, blades, handguns, shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, hacking, two-handed combat, assassination, cold blood, engineering and athletics. There's also a separate skill points system, with attributes like Strength and "Cool." Customization exists at the storytelling level as well, with players choosing between three different backgrounds during character creation: nomad, street kid, or corporate, each with their own strengths and weaknesses in dialogue trees throughout the game.

Will Johnny Silverhand be a better character than Johnny Mnemonic? CD Projekt Red

But while your character, V, can be built in endless permutations, Keanu Reeves is eternal—one of Cyberpunk 2077's narrative constants and also one of the game's big mysteries. V can't control when he appears and doesn't know why he's haunted by the specter.

Plumbing the mysteries of the digital Keanu will have to wait for Cyberpunk 2077's April 16, 2020 release date.