Meaningful Cyberpunk 2077 trans character missed by journalists

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Credit: CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 is now out, and it has been a rough week for CD Projekt Red. This includes getting flak from fans experiencing bugs and crashes and outlets saying that the game “perpetuates transphobia.” One outlet is saying that it didn’t meet “a single character of any significance,” and another finds it odd that reviewers didn’t “encounter any meaningful trans NPCs.”

“I could have forgiven it if the rest of the game took strides to humanize trans identities, but boy, it sure doesn’t,” Polygon’s Carolyn Petit wrote.

“In my 40-plus hours in Night City, I never met a single character of any significance whom the game made clear was trans, and one of the only queer-coded characters I encountered was an extremely unsavory cybernetic surgeon who does extremely unsavory things,” Petit continued.

“It seems odd that reviewers who have played anywhere from 40 to 60 hours have yet to encounter any meaningful trans NPCs,” CBR’s Anthony Gramuglia writes. “The only trans characters seem to be iterations of the playable character, V, or the models fetishized on posters.”

Cyberpunk 2077 Collector's Edition (PS4)

Cyberpunk 2077 Collector's Edition (Xbox One)

Cyberpunk 2077 Collector's Edition (PC)

Potential Spoilers Ahead

Journalists are quick to judge CD Projekt Red for not including any trans characters. However, I have played 40 hours of Cyberpunk 2077, and I have learned that there is a meaningful and significant trans character in the world of Night City.

Meet Claire

Credit: CD Projekt Red via Nerd Reactor

Claire is a character you meet early in the game at the Afterlife bar. Later on, she’ll invite you to join her on deadly car races all around Night City. These races are a nice diversion from the main story, but players will get to learn more about Claire and her past. You have the option of racing in her vehicle or yours, and if you check the back of her ride, there is a Trans Pride Flag.

Credit: CD Projekt Red via Nerd Reactor

As you spend more time with her, she opens up about why she wanted to race again and about the passing of her husband, Dean.

Credit: CD Projekt Red via Nerd Reactor

As for making it clear that she’s transgender, she said, “Sweetest man I ever knew. We were friends before my gender transition.” This is right before you have the option of helping her out by bringing justice for her deceased husband.

With game journalists rushing their reviews, they miss out on these character moments. The end result is writers jumping the gun and assuming things are left out since their focus was on completing the main story to meet a deadline.

Journalists have also criticized the game for not having LGBTQ characters.

“Trans identity is treated as a product because everything is a product designed to be sexualized in this future,” Gramuglia writes. “However, there’s never any contrast established. With other elements of Night City, players see how the commodified image contrasts with the rougher, harsher reality. This is not the case with LGBTQ characters, especially not trans characters.”

However, Cyberpunk 2077 features other LGBTQ characters including Judy Alverez and Kerry Eurodyne, both of who have appeared in promotional materials from CD Projekt Red. Players will have the option of romancing these two characters depending on the player’s version of V.

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John Nguyen
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