Cyberpunk 2077 - Genre Origins

Our Recruitment Consultant, Phil Smith, is a gaming legend and enthusiast. He really wanted to follow and find out the hype around Cyberpunk 2077.

Here’s his review:

With all the hype around Cyberpunk 2077, it’s still honestly been a rough launch for this game, which is disappointing to see. However, I wanted to explore the origins of this cult followed genre and what special games are worth exploring, even today.

Snatcher (1988) (Konami/Konami)

Hideo Kojima’s entry before Metal Gear Solid was released for Japanese home computers in 1988.

Part Blade Runner, part Invasion of the Body Snatchers – this adventure game sees you play as Gillian Seed, a man with amnesia, tasked with investigating a wave of murders across Neo Kobe City by humanoid robots called Snatchers. Throughout the story, Seed discovers the history of the Snatcher project and his own memories. It’s gritty, ambitious, and covers very adult themes within a game, especially for the time. Themes that Kojima would develop further in later games.

Shadowrun (SNES) (1993) (Beam Software/Data East)

Developed by Beam Software and the game that started my cyberpunk obsession. You, Jake Armitage, wake up “dead” in a morgue with amnesia after being offed by assassins. The plot follows Jake as he attempts to uncover his own identity and the identity of those that want him dead. The game fell victim to being slightly ahead of its time, utilising a hybrid of real time action and pointer- based adventure, along with a currency-based dialogue system, pioneering the film noir style within video games in the process.

Beneath a Steel Sky (1994) (Revolution Software/Virgin Interactive Entertainment)

Co-created by the incredible Charles Cecil of Revolution Software and comic book artist Dave Gibbons of the Watchmen fame, this point and click adventure is set in a dystopian future, mixed with aborigine lore. Assuming the role of Robert Foster, a child stranded in the wasteland known as “The Gap”. After many years, armed security officers arrive, killing the locals and taking Robert back to Union City. He escapes and soon uncovers the corruption which lies at the heart of society.

DEUS EX (2000) (Ion Storm/Eidos Interactive)

I could write a video essay on this game alone and why it is so good. However, this piece would be far too long, and any game journalist or commentator has said all that needs to be said already. It’s definitely worth getting, it’s not consistently on the best games of all time lists for no reason.

TECHNOBABYLON (2015) (Technocrat Games / Wadjet Eye Games)

Wadjet Eye Games are a publisher you need to know about if you care about point and click games with an adult edge. This game by Technocrat Games contains genetic engineering, the surveillance state, tyrannical AIs, and a story that rivals any other entry into this genre. The game jumps between three characters – two members of the secret police with divided loyalties and a hermit hacker who prefers to spend their time in cyberspace, all becoming entwinned in this sci-fi conspiracy. A serious reminder that point and click games are not dead!

VA-11 HALL-A (2016) (Sukeban Games/Ysbryd Games)

A bartending visual novel hybrid? Sounds like a weird combo from Game Dev Tycoon (also a great game btw), however what Sukeban Games have created here is a very clever indie game hit. Using your skills of observation and a provided encyclopaedia of cocktails, you mix up drinks to progress the narrative for your honoured guests. A truly unique game done well, and that doesn’t come around too often.

Honourable mentions:

Blade Runner (1997) (Westwood Studios/Virgin Interactive)

System Shock 2 (1999) (Irrational Games + Looking Glass Studios/Electronic Arts)

OMIKRON: THE NOMAD SOUL (1999) (Quantic Dream/Eidos Interactive)

ANACHRONOX (2001) (Ion Storm/Eidos Interactive)

Mirrors Edge (2009) (DICE/Electronic Arts)

E.Y.E: DIVINE CYBERMANCY (2011) (Streum On Studio/Streum On Studio)

Shadowrun Dragonfall (2014) (Harebrained Schemes/Harebrained Schemes)

Invisible, Inc. (2015) (Klei Entertainment/Klei Entertainment)

The Red Strings Club (2018) (Deconstructeam/Devolver Digital)

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