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What role does Keanu Reeves play in ‘Cyberpunk 2077’?

Gelo Gonzales
What role does Keanu Reeves play in ‘Cyberpunk 2077’?
Reeves extends his hot streak this year with a video game appearance as legendary fictional rocker Johnny Silverhand

MANILA, Philippines – Keanu Reeves has been killing it recently with John Wick 3, a hilarious turn at Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe, and now, a loud, crowd-pleasing appearance at the world’s biggest game show, E3.

Reeves appeared onstage during the Microsoft presentation, where it was revealed that he’d be playing a part in CD Projekt Red’s upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 – the video game incarnation of the pen-and-paper role-playing game series Cyberpunk first released in 1988.

Check out Reeves’ part in the Microsoft presentation:

Reeves appeared at the end of the game’s trailer, shown above, featuring his current long-haired looks. But what exactly is his role? Is he there just to make some noise for the game? Well, obviously, that’s part of it, and they’ve succeeded given the mileage it’s had on social media, but Reeves isn’t just another face in Cyberpunk’s gritty future-land.

In the game, Reeves plays a guy named Johnny Silverhand, which the developers have described as a “legendary rockerboy” whose name is derived from the fact that he bears a robotic, silver arm. CD Project Red says he is one of the game’s “key characters,” so we’re certainly expecting that this isn’t just going to be some marketing-fueled celebrity cameo. (READ: What Microsoft announced at its Xbox E3 2019 briefing)

Reeves also has some mad reputation in the cyberpunk-y realm with his key turns as Neo in The Matrix, 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic, and the heavily stylized sci-fi animation A Scanner Darkly. Reeves has a nice opportunity here to add memorable sci-fi geek-work to his resume.

A really, really good sign: Reeves is not just providing his voice and appearance, but is also doing full-body motion capture for the character. Plus, this is CD Projekt Red we’re talking about – the guy’s behind one of the defining games of this hardware cycle, The Witcher III.

The Cyberpunk wiki page on Fandom has some more information on Silverhand. He is described as famous and idealistic, someone who sings and plays the guitar in spite of having lost his real arm. The loss of his arm is one of the many grudges that he has with the Japanese megacorporation known as Arasaka, which has also caused the death of his close friends and family.

An ex-girlfriend of his, Alt Cunningham, was also kidnapped by the CEO of Arasaka, to extract information about a hacking program called Soulkiller.

Johnny is classified as a “rockerboy” who, in the Cyberpunk universe, are a rebellious lot who use music to sway the minds of people usually against the megacorporations. According to Cyberpunk lore, Johnny is legendary in this regard, producing influential music. And as someone established and legendary in the game, we expect him to be quite instrumental in the progress of the main character V.

In fact, we’ll get to hear this music in the game as Johnny Silverhand’s fictional band will be providing some tracks to the in-game soundtrack. Cyberpunk 2077 may also be taking some creative liberties with the game as Silverhand is supposed to have died in the year 2024, according to established lore. 

Now, will Reeves go so far as to lend his voice in the Silverhand songs? Well, Reeves does have some band experience as the bassist in a band called Dogstar, but probably not. We’ll find out for sure when the game comes out on April 16, 2020. – 

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.