Gamers know all the setbacks of the game Cyberpunk 2077 which, on its release, brought the disappointment to the height of the long years of waiting and the hype of the public. As CD Projekt RED continues to make improvements to the game, the Trigger studio and Netflix are launching its animated adaptation, which achieves the feat of remaining faithful to the original universe while targeting a wider audience. A success.
Cyberpunk: Edge Runners is it a series for gamers? Let’s be clear: you don’t need to know the game to appreciate the animated series – even if the fans of the first hour should wiggle more. Because if, from an aesthetic point of view, Trigger brings its own choices, it is generous in winks and other references which refer directly to the original material. Starting with the sound palette, the ringing of telephone calls (as recognizable as that of the telephones of a legendary series, 24 Hours stopwatch) to certain titles from the game’s soundtrack, through the design of vehicles and weapons, not to mention the appearance of certain characters from the game, intelligently integrated into the narrative.
Benchmarks for gamers
We won’t name them to preserve the surprise, but there is a big one, since one of these protagonists occupies a decisive role as soon as he enters the scene. Gamers will find their bearings in the hero’s apartment (the same as in the game), but also in the city itself: Night City.
In this sprawling and ruthless megalopolis, the large multinationals are waging a merciless war against each other, in the midst of the various gangs that abound there. A true character in itself, the city that every player has spent dozens of hours surveying is offered to the viewer in all its excess.
The game works on an open world that we discover according to the missions, but here the story takes us by the hand and the guided tour takes place over the adventures of the main characters. They lead us to various familiar places, such as the Afterlife, this club where we take orders for new contracts, the Arasaka tower, a suitable theater stage for a final fight, or even the desert which extends outside. from the city.
Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll
For the rest, no neophyte will have the feeling of having before him an adaptation, but rather a coherent universe, with its own codes, its own grammar, its own cosmogony. What you expect from a work of fiction, especially in the genre of dystopia. He won’t realize, for example, that the drug shots the characters send each other to ameliorate the side effects of each new mechanical enhancement graft or electronic implant in the body remind gamers of injections to enhance the life gauge of their avatar. Smart. Because the great strength of the game (despite its many flaws), like that of the series, lies in the writing of their respective scenarios. One resonates with the other.
In the game, the story is extremely dark with its various melancholy and bittersweet endings. Besides, she is very rock’n’roll. The chapters of its plot are titled songs from the history of rock, Gimme Danger (the Stooges) at where is my mind (Pixies), passing by For whom the Bell Tolls (Metallica). When you are driving around the city, you can zap, in your vehicle, on various radio stations with well-stocked and good quality programming. Finally, one of the main characters, played by Keanu Reeves, is himself the charismatic singer of a famous rock band, Samurai. In reality, it is the group Refused which signs its repertoire.
The series, it, offers the services of Franz Ferdinand for the song of the credits, the rest of the soundtrack being entrusted to Akira Yamaoka, famous for his work on the games silent Hill.
Resolutely adult, the adaptation adopts this rock spirit by serving shots of nudity – without ever sinking into vulgarity or easy solicitation – as well as action scenes with explicit graphic violence, in an atmosphere where the tragic mixes to a well-dosed humor, served by dialogues and characters all as charismatic and badass as each other. Heads and ribcages explode, guts spilled and eyes gouged out line the walls, and it all ends up in a colorful mush.
The aesthetic of the Trigger studio is also distinguished by a wide range of garish hues, from yellow to red, passing through the whole range of fluorescent colors and, as the rhythm of the story turns out to be sustained and the fights and other races- pursuits follow one another at regular intervals, all these colors mix in whirlwinds to make you dizzy. ‘Cause it’s going fast Cyberpunk: Edge Runners. So much so that the series displays a warning for people prone to epilepsy.
A total success, from the script to the realization
Cyberpunk: Edge Runners tells, in ten episodes of 25 minutes each, the story of David, a street child who intends to make a name for himself by becoming an Edgerunner, an outlaw mercenary, after his meeting with the beautiful Lucy, a Netrunner (capable to hack any computer system) as seductive as it is mysterious. From the opening scene, the tone is set. A cyberpsycho (a man who has become a psychopath by transforming his body by abusing technology) commits a massacre using an experimental military implant. A news item that will seal the fate of David.
In the game, we embody V, an inhabitant of Night City drawn into a tragic spiral. The intelligence of the series lies in particular in its choice to tell the story of a completely different character, created especially for the occasion, using the codes of the game, from its decorations to its clothing styles, through the jargon. local: it will take a little getting used to to integrate terms like choom, charcudoc or bastard.
If its history has nothing to do with that of the game, we understand the genius of the scriptwriters: to exploit the pool of its universe by drawing from the population of the city a destiny among many others. From this narrative choice, nothing prevents the showrunners from doing it again, either by looking at the future of the survivors (because not all the protagonists come out of the adventure unscathed), or by staging the life of n anyone else in Night City.
The licensing world cyberpunk implicitly shows us an eternal class struggle that involves the acquisition of implants that are as costly as they are dangerous for their user. Each character fighting for their own survival becomes cogs in a story bigger than their own. The series succeeds in attaching us to one of them.