With launch day only a few months away, now's a good time to get acquainted with the Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) cast and characters you'll be interacting with in CD Projekt Red's RPG. And because they live in such a detailed world with decades of history behind it, there's plenty to catch up on. More specifically, the Cyberpunk universe has existed in one form or another since the 1980s. Created by R. Talsorian Games and Mike Pondsmith as a tabletop RPG (TRPG), it's built up years of lore that'll directly influence Cyberpunk 2077. Cyberpunk Red (opens in new tab) is a good example.
Even though the full Cyberpunk 2077 cast and characters haven't been announced yet, we've got more than enough to go on thanks to trailers, demos, and the TRPG prequel, Cyberpunk Red. So get ready - here's a crash-course on everyone you need to know ahead of release. Oh, and by the way - if you've not got your copy put aside yet, you can pre-order Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) via our guide.
Johnny Silverhand - rockerstar and freedom fighter
Played by Keanu Reeves
If you've kept up with any Cyberpunk news in the past year, you'll know that Johnny Silverhand is kind of a big deal. Played by Keanu "You're Breathtaking" Reeves, he'll be our guide to this dystopian world.
Trouble is, he's dead.
Let's rewind a moment. Silverhand (who literally possess a metallic arm, by the way) has been around since the earliest days of the Cyberpunk TRPG. He's also what you'd call a 'Rockerboy'. Rockerboys use music to inspire others or fight oppression, and Johnny did that as part of a band called 'Samurai'. The group's influence can still be felt in 2077; their song Never Fade Away is a classic in the Cyberpunk world, and the player character wears Samurai merchandise.
Anyway. When Silverhand's girlfriend was kidnapped in 2013 by megacorporation Arasaka for creating the digital 'Soulkiller' virus (more on that later), he staged a concert and whipped the crowd into a full-blown riot. This allowed him to attempt a rescue. Sadly, he fails - his girlfriend winds up dead.
Sort of, anyway. More specifically, she has her mind trapped in the Cyberpunk internet. Silverhand is unaware of this, and spirals downward in grief as a result.
Fast-forward a decade to 2024 and Silverhand has transformed into even more of a badass. Thanks to his reputation, he's hired by a megacorp known as Militech to raid Arasaka HQ in Night City. The aim? Strike a blow against their mutual enemy by destroying the Arasaka database. There's a complication, though; mid-raid, Johnny comes to realise that his girlfriend's mind is trapped within the Arasaka database. He therefore abandons the mission and is killed attempting to save her.
Following this tragedy, someone - be it a Militech goon or Arasaka flunky - sets off a tactical nuke that levels the entire building. It's assumed that Johnny is history at this point, but rumours abound that a mega-fan found his body in the wreckage and put it into cold storage. Gross.
Now it's 2077, and Johnny Silverhand's legacy is still going strong. He's also 'appearing' to the player character as a digital ghost. How? Well, it's possible that he also had his mind ripped out and dumped across the internet between the 2020s and now. This would allow him to cheat death and guide us around Night City in Cyberpunk 2077.
Alt Cunningham - programmer extraordinaire
Alt Cunningham is a straight-up genius. Unfortunately for her, that intellect wound up getting her killed. Back in 2013, she was responsible for the creation of the 'Soulkiller' virus - a computer program that digitizes your consciousness and puts it on the internet, effectively allowing you to live forever. Because this is kind of a big deal, she was kidnapped by megacorp Araska and forced to work on a weaponized version that would suck out the user's mind and kill the body.
As you'd expect, Alt wasn't thrilled. Her boyfriend, Johnny Silverhand, wasn't either. He caused a riot at one of his gigs that would allow him to free her, using the protest as cover. This was all very noble, but he was missing a crucial piece of information: once Arasaka had everything they needed, they'd used the Soulkiller virus on Alt.
She was far from a damsel in distress, though. Alt managed to wrest control of Arasaka's defenses from within their computer system, and she almost managed to return to her body. Unfortunately, that's when Johnny's rescue attempt kicked off. This accidentally broke the connection, trapping her online forever. Oops.
Johnny didn't know any of the above, of course (as far as he was concerned, his girlfriend had been murdered), but still. By the time he realised his mistake - that her mind was floating around in the Arasaka database - the damage was done.
We lose track of Alt after this, but it seems that she survives within the NET until Cyberpunk 2077. More specifically, a gameplay demo from last year's E3 has the player attempting to draw her out using Johnny's digital ghost. What has decades of isolation done to her? We can't imagine it's anything good.
Her Soulkiller virus looks like it'll be a big part of the game as well. The synopsis hints that we'll be hunting down a program which offers immortality, and Alt's handiwork fits the bill. That would also tie in nicely with Johnny's involvement, as he has a personal stake in all this.
V - the hero of Cyberpunk 2077
Played by Cherami Leigh, Gavin Drea, Kamil Kula, and Lidia Sadowa (player choice)
V is the player-character in Cyberpunk 2077, so you'll be getting very familiar with them over the course of your adventure. Although they're a gun-for-hire, everything else about them - including their background and motivation - is up to you. For example, they may have come to Night City because of unfinished business or an ex-lover. Maybe their defining event was their first kill. Either way, it's your choice. All we can say for sure is that "V has already lost everything", a titbit taken from the Cyberpunk website (opens in new tab).
It's tricky to say more about V as a result, but there are a few things we can piece together based on what we've seen so far in gameplay demos. Firstly, they're a big fan of Johnny Silverhand's band, Samurai. They even have branded clothing that's been displayed prominently in screenshots and trailers. Next, they're fitted with a whole host of cyberware tools, weapons, and gadgets like the arm-blades seen in prior footage. That implies they're good at what they do, and committed to the job; those fancy toys don't come cheap. Speaking of which, V has a room dedicated to weaponry in their apartment. That tells you a lot in a city where space is at a premium.
However, they and their friend Jackie clearly haven't hit the big leagues yet. They both discuss 'making it' with visible excitement during gameplay demos, and that suggests they're relatively new to this despite their abundance of hardware. That idea's backed up by V's modest home in a rough-and-ready high-rise.
Jackie Welles - your new best friend
Played by Jason Hightower
Jackie is the player-character's best friend and ally in the early stages of the game. He ran with the Valentinos gang as a teenager, but has since struck out on his own as a mercenary hoping to make it big in the world of Cyberpunk. More specifically, he ditched organised crime "because his mother found out". Besides being an amusing factoid, this offers a revealing glimpse of the man behind the swagger; as explained on the Cyberpunk website, "friendship, loyalty and family ties are what drives him. To Jackie, blood is always thicker than water".
Much like V, he's eager to move on from small-time jobs and become rich. Judging from the footage we've seen so far, he's going to get his chance before long.
Dex DeShawn - rich, shady, and dangerous
Played by Michael-Leon Wooley
Described by CD Projekt Red as one of Night City's biggest players, Dex DeShawn is an infamous 'fixer' who knows about everything and everyone in the dystopian metropolis. That means he handles illegal contracts of all kinds, and those jobs pay very well. Which shouldn't come as a surprise; the man is driven around in the fanciest car with a luxurious red leather interior, for heaven's sake. You don't want to cross Dex as a result. He's a powerful figure in the underworld, with all the perks that brings.
Although your eye will likely be drawn to the golden cyber-arm fitted below his right elbow, there's a cool easter egg hidden in the most unlikely of places - his boots. Look closely and you'll see a golden wolf emblem taken straight from The Witcher, CD Projekt Red's other video game series.
Maman Brigitte - Netrunner extraordinaire
Leader of the Voodoo Boys gang and all-round tech whiz, Brigitte has had some serious upgrades to help her control the Net. Although she might seem unassuming in the real world, you don't want to tangle with her online - her Netrunning skills make her a force to be reckoned with in the digital space.
Not much else is known about this mysterious figure, but she has ties to Pacifica's Haitian community.
Placide - second in command
Played by Lovensky Jean Baptiste
Placide is Brigitte's second in command and a leading figure within the Voodoo Boys gang. An imposing figure with a glower that could kill, he doesn't say all that much. He also knows his way around the Net. We get the impressions you don't want to cross him.
Victor - back-alley cyberdoctor
Everyone who's anyone has cyberware in the Cyberpunk universe, but it can be difficult to get hold of without breaking the bank. That's where 'ripperdocs' come in. They're back-alley surgeons who'll get you what you need for a far lower fee. Naturally, that comes with risks.
Victor is V's ripperdoc, so we suspect you'll be returning to him throughout the game as you level up your cybernetic implants. Because the 2019 demo has him implanting various upgrades before a mission, we wonder whether that's how Johnny Silverhand becomes a stowaway in your head.
TBug - hacker and eye in the sky
When the game begins, TBug acts as your 'person in the chair' - she'll be directing you from afar, giving tactical advice and layouts to help you get around. As such, she's presumably going to be another voice you'll be hearing a fair bit over the course of your adventure.
Morgan Blackhand - gun-for-hire
An infamous gun-for-hire that's been part of the series almost as long as Johnny Silverhand, Morgan is Cyberpunk creator Mike Pondsmith's player-character in the TRPG. An ex-army mercenary with expertise in demolitions, he has a bad attitude and a reputation for getting the job done. Employed by Militech to deal with problematic clients, he was part of the strike team that assaulted Arasaka's HQ in Night City. Which means he was almost certainly blown to hell when things went sideways.
So, why bring him up? Although it's unlikely he'll appear in person during Cyberpunk 2077, he does have a presence within the game nonetheless; when creating your character, you can select him as a 'childhood hero'. What's more, Cyberpunk Red implies that he was seen alive in the years following that nuclear strike.
Lizzy Wizzy - cybernetic superstar
Played by Grimes
There's dedication to your craft, and then there's Lizzy Wizzy. The lead singer in a band called 'Lizzy Wizzy and the Metadwarves', she committed suicide on stage during a concert. After being revived by a Trauma Team who replaced many of her body parts with cyberware, she returned to the performance and carried on. What a trooper.
Played by musician Grimes in Cyberpunk 2077, she's a superstar who likes to parade around in a full chrome body. She's also built up a cult following, resulting in a dangerous gang called 'the Lizzies' that you're probably going to encounter on the streets.
That's everything we know about the Cyberpunk cast and characters so far. For more info on the world CD Projekt Red are cooking up, don't miss our explainer on the Cyberpunk 2077 map (opens in new tab). Still a bit lost when it comes to all things Cyberpunk? Check out our Cyberpunk 2077 dictionary and timeline (opens in new tab) for everything you need to know.