One of Hollywood’s biggest stars is now the face of one the biggest video games in modern gaming history.
Keanu Reeves surprised the gaming world when he announced he’d be appearing in Cyberpunk 2077, creating huge hype for the action-adventure game.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the latest open-world video game created by Polish developers CD Projekt RED (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt).
It’s set in a futuristic, corporate controlled dystopia where sex sells and violence is often the only answer.
Keanu Reeves plays the character Johnny Silverhand, a hot-headed rockstar who, without spoilers, joins the main character on their quest.
9News sat down with CD Projekt RED’s Miles Tost to ask the question: How do you get Keanu Reeves to co-star in your video game?
“We didn’t really go into the process thinking ‘we have to get a big star’, we were writing this character, he’s existed for a long time.”
Johnny Silverhand is based on Mike Pondsmith’s original pen and paper character in the Cyberpunk RPG created in 1988.
“He’s always been part of this universe and we wanted to bring him into our game,” Tost said.
“Wouldn’t it be cool if Keanu Reeves would play this character!? With a background of lots of cyberpunk movies like Johnny Mnemonic, The Matrix of course, and if you will – John Wick also has quite a few cyberpunk touches in it… There’s certainly some parallels that can be drawn.”
“It seemed just like the perfect fit, right?”
“We somehow managed to contact him and got him to take a look at our game! It was great to see he was so receptive; he was very responsive to the idea of being in our game.”
Tost told 9News he was fortunate enough to travel to LA in August 2018 to pitch the game to Reeves.
“The cool thing for us is also that we didn’t just get Keanu in as an [advertising mascot], but his character, that’s something that can’t be understated enough, is what we call a co-protagonist,” Tost explained.
“He really takes the front and centre of the stage, he’s always there with V, the main character that you’re playing, always there to comment – sometimes in not so nice ways, or mostly in not so nice ways – he can be a bit of a d–k really.”
“Over the course of the story you can get to know him more, see more into his motivations and all of that stuff.”
“Who knows, maybe at some point you’ll find yourself personally agreeing with him (Silverhand).”
Tost describes Reeves’ character as a great narrative tool, especially when the player’s character (V) is alone: “If we have a moment where V has to investigate something we can bring Johnny Silverhand into the fray as well and they can try to deduct information from the clues together – or Johnny can just be in the way…” said Tost.
“It’s a really cool dynamic and I hope people that play the game can really enjoy that.”
Cyberpunk 2077 is out now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One. The game is expected to be upgraded for next-gen consoles next year – a date is yet to be set.