Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty seriously impressed me with its RPG reactivity—the written-in bits that show CD Projekt Red anticipated and accounted for players’ actions. The goofy rocket guy easter egg was certainly fun, but I’m thinking more in terms of life path-exclusive dialogue or main game events that get a nod in Phantom Liberty.
It turns out this goes both ways, though, with special dialogue in 2077’s main quest if you beat the expansion first, with at least two of those scenes providing insight into the setting’s mysterious Blackwall: the barrier between the normal internet and a cyberspace dominated by highly advanced AIs that outgrew their programming. Cyberpunk 2077 and Phantom Liberty spoilers ahead.
The first instance of unique dialogue I noticed was when talking to Arasaka flunky Anders Hellman after finishing the critical path portion of Panam’s questline. V gets the opportunity to tell the architect of Arasaka’s Johnny Silverhand-storing Relic about their encounters with the anti-AI Blackwall in Phantom Liberty, with the scientist seemingly spooked by behavior he never accounted for from his creation. You can watch this new version of the scene in a YouTube video from The Dissassociative [sic] Den.
The next scene, demoed here by Alasadi on YouTube, builds on the Blackwall connection, with interesting implications for the Cyberpunk lore and possibly CD Prjoekt’s follow-up Cyberpunk game, Project Orion. In the lead-up to the Mikoshi assault in Cyberpunk’s endgame, hacker-turned-rogue AI Alt Cunningham will mention the AI tech V found in Phantom Liberty: “You have encountered entities from the other side, not so?”
Alt goes on to provide some insight into those entities: “In colliding with your reality, their infinite permutability would grant them their desired, tangible form.
“Fortunately, your reality’s technology is too rudimentary to let open the floodgates. In lmiiting you, it limits them, keeps them at bay. Though this will not last. You will hasten this change, for you have something that belongs to them. A deadly weapon to you. A backdoor to the future for them.”
I love this scene and how it hammers home the sense of an out-of-control cyberspace becoming some kind of Lovecraftian other dimension, and this isn’t the first time Cyberpunk 2077’s teased an inevitable Blackwall catastrophe—the Voodoo Boys are preparing for just that in their portion of the main quest.
The weapon Alt references could be anything, really, but The Relic, Johnny, or one of the Blackwall-themed weapons you can get in Phantom Liberty immediately come to mind. It’s notable to me that an AI being granted its “tangible form” already features in one of 2077’s best questlines: Epistrophy. Those missions see you resolving a crisis with Delamain, an AI who runs a cab company and is implied to have escaped from beyond the Blackwall, though this one’s content to just observe humanity and interact with the physical world through its cars.
The last scene I’m aware of, shown off here by The Dissassociative Den again, is far less serious. Pop star Grimes’ groan inducingly-named Cyberpunk alter ego, Lizzy Wizzy, will comment on her actually quite cool in-game concert from Phantom Liberty if you wait to do her original quest, Violence, until after the expansion.
More the fool me, then, for rushing to finish Violence ahead of Phantom Liberty and getting hit with the same progress-blocking bug PC Gamer online Editor Fraser Brown did. I knew she showed up in the expansion, and figured I should get things sorted with Lizzy ahead of time, but she doesn’t have speaking lines in Phantom Liberty, just her performance—I could have saved past me a half hour of frustration during a review rush by just saving it for later.
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