Out of all of the interesting features of Cyberpunk 2077 and all of the interesting characters that we’re definitely going to encounter at some point in the game’s main campaign, there is clearly a nearly infinite amount of topics to dig into. We here at GamingBolt have certainly demonstrated as much lately, but today we’re going to dig into one of the Lesser talked about facets of Cyberpunk 2077 and that is the lifepath mechanic, that lets you choose who your character is according to the confines and labels of the society and which they exist. It’s one thing to pick a list of attributes and assign a certain amount of emphasis for each one, but to choose a backstory to start with and the social standing that comes along with that opens the door to a lot of intriguing possibilities that Cyberpunk 2077 seems intent on exploring, or rather, letting you explore your way.
Right away, Cyberpunk 2077 lets you choose between several different lifepaths. The different paths you can choose from include the street kid where the tricks and hustles of the streets are all your character knew growing up. Interacting with street criminals of all shapes and sizes will be a snap, and navigating through illicit dealings will come naturally. The nomad, who has never known anything other than being an outcast and bending the world to their will to create their own meaning. Nomads exist largely on the road and bounce between various other groups of nomads depending on their needs. This particular social system is looking rather interesting to me, as I am a huge Mad Max fan.
But then there is also the lifepath of the corpo, who has clearly drawn a better hand economically when compared to the street kid and the nomad, yet still has their own set of high-stakes challenges coming their way that, despite existing in the upper-echelon of the corporate world, amount to the same sorts of societal betrayals and political intrigue. All of these lifepaths are different, have their own storylines, and serve as wildly different springboards from which you will start your journey in Cyberpunk 2077. These choices will also affect your apartment, and various other cosmetic elements, but the differences are deeper than skin or just story beats though.
For starters, depending on which lifepath you decide on, your character will start out in completely different areas of the world at the beginning chapter of the game. They do all lead to a similar spot at the end of the prologue, but that prologue will play out differently and set you on your way with a very different set of proclivities and character traits, many of which other characters you come across you may or may not share, and you may or may not be able to weaponize against them depending on your particular lifepath and the situations you find yourself in. It might not sound vast, but once all of the different facets of Cyberpunk start unfolding, and all the different relationships with other characters starting forming, it appears that the true depth of lifepaths will be revealed in how those characters see you, and what they expect and do not expect from you.
Different dialogue options will be available to you depending on your choice, as such, different responses from you will also be at your disposal. The gangs of the streets will perceive a corpo much differently than a street kid, and thus, talk to him or her differently. The nomads of the outer-limits of Night City will take a corpo’s presence very differently than a fellow nomad’s, and obviously the more politically and economically connected corpos will barely bat an eye at a street kid, where as they pay very close attention to the rest of their ilk. With this, as you might imagine, potential romance storylines will also follow suit with those who are already familiar with you and those who are not having different levels of interest between each other, which can also vary widely depending on particular individuals’ personality types. So just because you are a corpo going to talk to another corpo doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work out, as that particular person might be into nomads.
Maybe your particular lifepath is appealing to another character and maybe it’s not, or maybe it is at first, but because you give a stupid answer to a question that’s only available to your particular lifepath it all falls apart. It’s going to be rather hard to play through Cyberpunk 2077 the exact same way twice with this level of depth and I think that’s exactly the point of lifepath and Cyberpunk 2077 on the whole. But no matter where the chips fall it’s going to introduce an unparalleled level of replayability that most games even from this genre are going to struggle to compare to. One thing that could be cause for concern with this lifepath system is the finality of that decision that you make at the very beginning of the game before you even know what’s what. Maybe you pick one lifepath but later on decide you’re a little more interested in a different one yet don’t want to start completely over just because of that. knowing CD Projekt RED, it looks like this potential scenario is being mitigated to at least some extent.
While the lifepath does create your starting point for the game, it doesn’t totally remove sections of the world or main story beats that you encounter. It doesn’t appear to be a way to make Cyberpunk feel like three different games as much as it is just three different ways to experience the same game, which is exactly the right way to go about it. While these three different lifepaths are certainly going to be different enough to warrant multiple playthroughs of the same game, it doesn’t look like that they’re going to change too much about any one playthrough to make you regret picking one choice over another later on if you decide that you’re interested in other things that might not necessarily come naturally to the lifepath that you chose. A corpo can still interact with street gangs and a nomad can still interact with others that exist in the corporate world. Those interactions will be different depending on who you choose, but because of the depth of these choices that you’re going to have you can still nudge any character in any direction if you put enough work into it.
Having choice and variety but still leaving plenty of room for flexibility for the player is always a good sign of a well-made RPG, and Cyberpunk is definitely shaping up to be such a game. As was said previously and as many of us already know, Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a massive game that ups the ante for the genre and a lot of different ways. The lifepath you choose will simply be one of those many different things that change your experience. whether or not it dictates the ending of your story will still be up to you and the many decisions you make throughout the experience. thanks to all of those different decisions as well as the lifepath system is looking like Cyberpunk 2077 it’s shaping up to be the seismic shift for the genre and that we all have suspected it would be.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.