CD Projekt Red won over the E3 crowd at the Microsoft Press Conference by bringing actor Keanu Reeves on stage to announce his involvement in the project. It’s been one of the most talked about moments from the show so far. While we saw Reeves’ likeness in the game in a brief scene, we didn’t get much more on his role or the extent of it in the game. Today at E3, I was able to get more clarity on his involvement, and it’s much more than a cameo.
For starters, he actually plays a digital ghost that’s haunting your mind, appearing at your side throughout the game. “Keanu’s Johnny actually has a huge role in our game, says quest director Mateusz Tomasqkiewicz during our one-on-one interview. “This is like a supporting protagonist. He is present throughout most of the game.”
For those not in the know, the character Johnny Silverhand played a big role in Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk 2020, which CD Projekt’s game is inspired from. “He’s a man of conviction. He is a rocker boy, so he was a famous celebrity, but at the same time, he fights the system. He doesn’t like corporations. He stands against the oppression,” Tomasqkiewicz explains.
Due to his crucial role in Pondsmith’s work, the team wanted to make sure they did the character justice. “This is one of the reasons we cast Keanu for this role because we knew we had to get this right. This is such a huge character for the setting,” Tomasqkiewicz says. “Keanu has a long history with movies, and his characters stand for something, and we felt he would be a natural pick.
Reeves is no stranger to futuristic settings, starring in movies like The Matrix and Johnny Mnemonic, which meant he also offered plenty of input during his recording sessions. “We’re very open to working with the actors and giving them space for interpretation and guidelines, and Keanu was very open to this. He had his own ideas about the character. It’s really cool to work with someone as experienced as Keanu and see the direction that he would take the character.”
Stay tuned for more coming on Cyberpunk 2077 later today.