Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) studio CD Projekt Red has shared the final entry of its frame-by-frame trailer breakdown series, and I thought I'd return the favor with a similarly in-depth break down. The two featured images (opens in new tab) include a close-up of the car protagonist V drives in the trailer, which is cool, but as soon as I saw this this high-res image of the advertising-studded Night City skyline I knew what I had to do.
I zoomed right in and started picking out all the ads and try to figure out what they're actually for, and what that might mean for the game itself. Also because ads in cyberpunk worlds tend to be pretty cool just on their own. Before we get started, here's the original version of the image. Press the shaded button in the upper right to get a full-screen version.(opens in new tab)
And here's the marked-up version, complete with number designations for further analysis. You ready? Let's talk cyberpunk marketing.
1. Sortsys and Data Inc.
I grouped these two signs together because "Sortsys" and "Data Inc." are the two most mundane names possible for a futuristic corporation. In my estimation, this means one of two things: a) CD Projekt Red doesn't intend for everything in its cyberpunk future to be glitzy and action packed; or b) they're cover operations for more sinister (and probably cooler-sounding) clandestine groups.
2. A woman with a gun
There's a retro feel to this poster of a scantily clad woman with what looks to be a pistol held casually in her right hand. Her posture and armament suggests an advertisement for a Connery-era Bond film. Good to see we still have an appreciation for the classics in 2077.
3. A rocket with the word "Limit"
This ad, which occurs at least twice in the image, seems to depict a rocket in front of the word "limit." Unfortunately, I can't quite make out what the other word above and to the left of "limit" is, so I'm left wondering if this is an ad for a movie, an extraterrestrial travel service, or something else. Though we'll get to a definite extraterrestrial travel service later.
4. Repeated ads
This cluster of smaller ad blocks pops with slight modifications no less than three times, all on the left side of the image. If you wanted proof that this frame of the trailer was made with in-game assets and not just some idealized render, there you go! I wouldn't be surprised if the final version of the game spreads out the duplication a bit more, though.
5. Cybernetic butts
Here we see a bigger version of one of those small ads. And this particular product being sold is… butts. Cybernetic butts. What else could it be?
6. A futuristic combat car
Night City is a dangerous town, so you might as well be the one driving around in a bulletproof battlecar, right? This design kind of resembles the Tumbler Batmobile from the Nolan North Batman movies - it's about as different as a car could look from the sleek Quadra our protagonist V seems to favor.
No, I don't think this is actually Tracer from Overwatch. But the spiked-up hair and goggles do certainly give the image some resemblance.
8. Frau Engel
And I don't think this woman is actually Frau Engel from Wolfenstein either, despite the short, blonde hair and smartly tailored pantsuit. Cyberpunk 2077 isn't secretly another Wolfenstein alternate timeline, is it?
9. Virtual reality specs
This image is so faint and dark I almost didn't include it… but if you really squint, you can sort of see a figure wearing some virtual reality goggles - like the one the kid was wearing in the E3 2018 trailer. VR's finally made it as a consumer product!
I'm happy to report that people still speak Spanish in the future. Or at least they use bits and pieces of it in their advertising. Oh, and caliente means "hot" so make of that what you will. Maybe it's a spicy restaurant?
11. Kiroshi Implant
This sign is partially obscured by a tower that… um, seems like shouldn't be obscuring it? Maybe my sense of perspective is getting thrown off from all this detail-obsessing. Anyway, what we can see of the sign says "Kiroshi インプラント" - the Japanese text there reads "Implant." Kiroshi is an established cybernetics manufacturer in the lore of the Cyberpunk tabletop RPG, so that checks out.
I'm sure there's nothing untoward about a business, product, and/or service calling itself "Bliss" in 2077's hypercapitalist vision of the future. Nope, nothing untoward at all.
13. Some kind of yellow fantasy
I'm having a heck of a time making out what this is supposed to be. It looks like there's a title in pink at the top, then some… other business going on below. Maybe a caped hero confronting a dragon? I mean, they'll probably still make fantasy movies in the future, right? Great spot for a Witcher shout-out (aside from the potential Ciri cameo).
14. A classic car
Contrast the car in this ad (which appears twice) to the vehicle featured in No. 6. This thing is the spitting image of a '70s era muscle car, complete with what what appears to be an air intake sticking out of the hood. A century later and the look is still going strong.
15. A jacked-in operator
I'm getting very strong Ghost in the Shell vibes from this one. We seem to be looking at the profile of a person wearing a mask with a breathing tube in the front and a bunch of cables plugged into the back of their head. Just some good, classic cyberpunk imagery going on here… maybe advertising some anti-netrunner (AKA hacker) services?
A big, handsome, nude man named "Greaser." Is he an actor? A singer? A particularly sought-after escort? Why not all three?
17. A handsome cyborg
Speaking of good looking fellas, here's the Veronica to Greaser's Betty. He's all brooding and intense, and he also has some pretty noticeable cybernetic implants installed across his face. Kind of looks like Deus Ex's Adam Jensen, actually.
18. Orbital Air
Here's another corporation that's been pre-established by Cyberpunk lore. As the name suggests, Orbital Air is a transportation company that specializes on transit into and through space.
Cyberware is the in-universe term for cybernetic augmentations installed in the body, so I reckon this is just a business (rather generically) advertising that it sells or installs implants.
It's no coincidence that this is the brightest, easiest to read sign, and that the whole image seems to kind of point toward it - Arasaka is huge. The Japanese megacorporation does just about everything, legitimate and less so, using its huge production network and connections in both political circles and criminal underworld. You'll definitely cross paths with Arasaka numerous times in the course of Cyberpunk 2077's story.
Need to know more about this near-future world? Check out Cyberpunk 2077's weird celebrities and nostalgic band jackets. (opens in new tab)