Cyberpunk 2077 reviews highlight transphobia issues

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Cyberpunk 2077 reviews highlight transphobia issues
Kallie Plagge at Gamespot
:
The ads are one of many, many aesthetic choices in Cyberpunk 2077 that are grating with no real point. There's one ad in particular that was the topic of much discussion pre-release; it features a feminine person with a giant, exaggerated, veiny erection in their leotard and advertises a drink called Chromanticore with the tagline "mix it up." It is everywhere. And while the "purpose" of it may be to show what a sex-obsessed, superficial, exploitative place Night City is, there's nothing in the main story or any of the side quests I did that gives it even that much context--I found just one message on one of the many computers I logged into that commented on how low-brow Night City culture is. The result is that there's a fetishization of trans people at every turn, in a game with only one very minor trans character (that I found, at least) and no way to play as an authentically trans character yourself.

I found and read tons of text logs, scoured people's private messages, listened to radio and TV programs and random NPC conversations, and I struggled to find justifications for many of Cyberpunk's more questionable and superficial worldbuilding choices. It's a world where megacorporations rule people's lives, where inequality runs rampant, and where violence is a fact of life, but I found very little in the main story, side quests, or environment that explores any of these topics. It's a tough world and a hard one to exist in, by design; with no apparent purpose and context to that experience, all you're left with is the unpleasantness.

...

There's so much to cover that I can't possibly touch on everything, but my experience is that there are aspects of the game that feel lost in translation, invoking cultures that aren't adequately explored or contextualized. Characters in one side quest use the word "ofrenda" as if it means "funeral" when it's actually a particular kind of altar primarily for Day of the Dead--it's unclear to me if this is a translation issue or an overall misunderstanding of Mexican customs, since you do put together an altar during the event that's being called "the ofrenda." As another example, you can go to a clothing store in Japantown and buy "yukata" that are just wrap shirts bearing only the slightest resemblance to real yukata. It's not that Cyberpunk always gets everything wrong in its incorporation of a variety of cultures and backgrounds but that the world is so big and unruly that I never knew what I would find around any corner or understand what the intent behind it was--I just grew to accept that whatever I did find, at least in terms of setting and worldbuilding, would likely be superficial.

Carolyn Petite at Polygon:
For elements like the inescapable dehumanization of trans people on imagery throughout the city to function as any kind of critique of transphobia, the game itself would need to create tension around those images by showing us humanized trans people navigating that world. But it doesn’t. The result is a game in which transphobic players (of which there will be many) can just laugh at us by using the character creator to generate models they consider worthy of mockery and derision and by gagging at the Chromanticure ads they see everywhere, or perhaps by fetishizing the model while continuing to see trans people as objects of desire but not as full human beings. Meanwhile, we trans players are left wanting in its world for depictions that humanize us.

Gene Park at The Washington Post:
While “The Witcher” was based on a novel series that pulled mythological inspiration from CDPR’s native land of Poland, “Cyberpunk” is a vision of a much broader, more diverse world, one that CDPR seems less equipped to depict. That’s not to say that this story and its characters aren’t engaging, but that it relies on giving virtual life to caricatures drawn by the original board game. A Latino character leans too heavily on overused Spanish swear words in normal conversation. Sex workers are given little nuance to their characters beyond the parameters of their chosen profession.

And for years, trans activists have shone a light on why its depiction and seemingly willful ignorance on gender can create damage for a marginalized community, even within the game’s context of capitalism objectifying humanity for gain. In its narrative, CDPR chose adherence to a known and problematic formula over upending the cyberpunk genre. This might be an insurmountable hurdle for some — and understandably so.

Rob Zacny at Waypoint:
Cyberpunk 2077 happily embraces the tropes of 80s cyberpunk, where ethnic stereotypes were often deployed to provide an air of unearned worldly sophistication. So the Japanese characters who work for Arasaka speak the language of samurai movies: it's all honor, duty, and cherry blossoms despite the fact that Arasaka is a cynical and self-interested multinational. The game nods to some of the complications of representation: the game is at pains to indicate that the tech-savvy Voodoo Boys gang are not actually practitioners or believers in voodoo, but they are proud members of a Haitian diaspora that are building a Black nationalist movement in their quarter of Night City who adopt the symbols of voodoo as an expression of heritage. Which is all well and good but then you realize that the only Haitian dudes you've met in this whole game are Voodoo Boys and you're right back at a setting where, functionally, ethnicity is identity. And that identity frequently comes with a costume and an occupation.

More complicated is how Cyberpunk 2077 approaches sex and sex work, which says a lot about the places where its imagination is detailed and specific, versus where it is vague and uncommitted. A lot of Cyberpunk 2077's story hinges on sex workers and the types of sex work and hierarchies that exist in this world. ... It's dark stuff, but it's fairly well-handled. Cyberpunk 2077 approaches sexual violence like a lot of detective fiction approaches it, with a fair amount of sensitivity but also an uncomfortable level of interest that flirts with being fetishisizing.

...

What's profoundly strange is that, here in the final game, there is scarcely any portrayal or interrogation of how this society's understanding of gender and the human body have changed. The marketing-driven discussion around Cyberpunk for the last few years has often centered on CD Projekt Red's transphobic "edginess" and its misbegotten philosophizing about how body modification and augmentation come at a cost to one's humanity. This is a small mercy: the game at least never sinks to the lows promised by some of the terrible art that has been shown over the past few years (and which still remains in the game). But it also helps make Cyberpunk a game where race, gender, and transhumanism are reduced to background set decoration in otherwise familiar stories.
 

snaliex

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The result is that there's a fetishization of trans people at every turn
The result is a game in which transphobic players (of which there will be many) can just laugh at us by using the character creator to generate models they consider worthy of mockery and derision and by gagging at the Chromanticure ads they see everywhere, or perhaps by fetishizing the model
activists have shone a light on why its depiction and seemingly willful ignorance on gender can create damage for a marginalized community, even within the game’s context of capitalism objectifying humanity for gain.
This is coming from someone who doesn't give a shit personally over whether a guy or gal believes their a gender they ain't as that's their business and not mine as long as i'm not asking you on a date, if I am then disclosing such a thing is mandatory (as courts would agree).

But a good number of these read like people who just like to thought police everyone when in reality everyone holds different beliefs and cultures, which makes life beautiful in a way. In my book though complaining about a make believe entertainment product over it's portrayals of those with Gender Dysphoria meanwhile ignoring countries out there where you can go to jail for having it makes me just believe that those that preach the loudest about "accepting trans" are all talk and no action internet clout chasers.

Also the fact that they are peeved over being fetishized and joked on when japan has been doing it for over a century now makes me just tune those types of people out even more so since they're just being over sensitive. Either way though the "problematic portrayals" they are highlighting wont harm their profit margins in the stretch of things. instead all it's going to do is draw in more attention and thus more profits as per normal human curiosity.

they should be more focused on the glitches and such though, tbh.
 

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I'm just glad to see some reviewers are actually covering it, its not a lot but more than I expected.
 
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