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The World of Cyberpunk 2077 Hardcover – 18 September 2020
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- Publisher : DARK HORSE BOOKS (18 September 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1506713580
- ISBN-13 : 978-1506713588
- Dimensions : 23.44 x 2.06 x 31.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 25,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The art within is beautiful, although it isn't that focused on the game models/graphics and features mostly concept art.
Beautiful artworks and in-depth stories that give you the complete picture of the Cyberpunk world.
Strongly Cyberpunk Style
By Chazy on 15 November 2020
Strongly Cyberpunk Style
Top reviews from other countries
The World of Cyberpunk 2077 is, as the title implies, a background setting book for CD Projekt Red's forthcoming roleplaying video game, Cyberpunk 2077 (due for release in November). It's also set in the same world as Mike Pondsmith's Cyberpunk pen-and-paper roleplaying game (best-known for its Cyberpunk 2013 and Cyberpunk 2020 editions), which makes this book doubly worthwhile, not just as scene-setting for the video game but also as a lorebook for those interested in trying out the pen-and-paper game. Semi-coincidentally, the latest edition of that roleplaying game, Cyberpunk Red, should be hitting shelves in the next couple of months.
The book is 192 pages long, full colour, with every page combining text exploring the world of Night City with art from the video game. Some of this is concept art, some are video game screenshots and some are fake (and often RoboCop levels of subversive) adverts for in-universe products. How about some Real Water®? Only 99E$ per gallon!
The book is presented as a series of articles from the Night City Inquirer, an anarchic news and press organisation determined to get the real truth out there (with the implication that maybe you shouldn't take everything in the book as being 100% reliable).
The first section focuses on history, mostly alternate history since the Cyberpunk universe deviated from our own in the 1980s. The devastating impact of climate change, resource conflicts, declining nation-states, growing international digital supercorps, a new Dustbowl and three corporate wars fought in the 1990s and 2000s are detailed, along with the founding of Night City on Morro Bay. The devastation of the Fourth Corporate War gets a spotlight, followed by the lengthy rebuilding process for both Night City and the Free State of Northern California.
Once that is covered, there's a lengthy section on the technology of the setting: cyberware, weapons, vehicles, braindance (a potent VR experience where people can go for rides in other people's lives, experiences and hallucinations) and netrunning. The implications of cybernetic technology are covered and the dangers, such as cyberpsychosis, whilst the moral question of how much of yourself you can replace whilst still being considered human is briefly pondered (although not in too much detail).
The longest section details Night City itself, its districts and neighbourhoods. This is fairly bare bones - which given its length is a surprise - since a lot of the detail of the setting will be found in the game itself. It does provide an overview of what districts to avoid after dark (unless you want to get jumped by gangs), where the most exclusive bars are and where might be the best place to procure some shady items. Further chapters look at the the society of Night City, from the rich megacorp regional directors down to the homeless, and at the city's forces of both law and disorder: the police, the gangs and the Nomad tribes who live beyond the city limits. The book ends with an interview with Rogue, an infamous operative of the 2020s who's now in semi-retirement but unofficially still working as a "fixer."
As these kind of companion books go, The World of Cyberpunk 2077 is pretty good. The artwork is excellent, as you might expect given that the book is able to draw on seven years' worth of concept art, finalised design work and renders. The production value of the book is very high and the writing is surprisingly engaging. Lore fluff for video games can be hit or miss, but the immense amount of background material developed previously for the pen-and-paper game means there's a ton of information available on the factions, politics and tech of the setting that goes far beyond what you'd normally expect from this kind of tie-in. There's enough meat here to help run a pen-and-paper game in 2077 Night City as well as prepping for the video game.
In terms of flaws, there's not too many. The book seems to assume knowledge on the reader's part about certain characters like Johnny Silverhand and Morgan Blackhand which the overwhelming majority won't have. There's also a distinct lack of deep context on some things, like the gangs. Some of the gangs are based on fairly obvious cliches (the Haitian gang is called the Voodoo Boys, because obviously that's the only thing anyone knows about Haiti; both the Japanese Arasaka Corporation and the Tyger Claws yakuza gang are about honour and face in public, whilst being corrupt behind the scenes), but without the context of the video game it's hard to know if they get more development than that. The book's maps of Night City are also a bit odd, omitting the shoreline, so it's hard to tell at a glance which is an inland district of the city and which is a coastal one.
Beyond that, The World of Cyberpunk 2077 (****) is a readable and solid worldbuilding guidebook, and it does several jobs of providing background for the game, acting as an advertisement for it and providing context for the new Cyberpunk Red pen-and-paper game.
It looks like there is a lot of information here, lots of artwork and text, just what I wanted.
The problem for me is that even on a 10" tablet it is quite hard to read the text (quite small) and make out details in the art. There seems to be no option to change the text size, there seems to be no way to zoom in on the art.
Needless to say this turns something that looks quite promising into an exercise in frustration. If the book could be updated to allow the reader to zoom in and read it properly, Im sure it would get 4 or 5 stars from me, but as it is Im considering trying to get a refund. Very disappointed.
"Those natural disasters were accompanied by political ones. Thermonuclear war in the Middle East turned that part of the world into a radioactive wasteland, causing a global oil crisis."
"Makeshift barricades at the Night City limits during one of the many riots in 2021" bear striking resemblances to modern day lawless Portland. I absolutely didn't expect Cyberpunk 2077 (release date 19th Nov 2020 developed and published by Polish studio CD Project Red) to be a social commentary but the parallels between its Lore and modern day society are too striking to ignore.
If this segment "Weapon manufacturers often use modern society's ubiquitous sense of insecurity as leverage to increase their sales" doesn't sound like an NRA mission statement then you are enchantingly childlike naïve and trapped in Never-land or still plugged into the Matrix. Deus Ex Human Revolution touched upon these themes regarding cutting edge technological cyber ware and the description in this book about artificial implants being seen as status symbols and being utilized in modern culture like tattoos and mobile phones did in the beginning of the 21st Century no longer seems like a distant Sci-Fi pipedream but a serious realisation and I believe that people with money would adopt this technology as soon as it became available, like the latest IPhone, IPad, Apple Watch etc.
In the beginning of the Smartphone Era an IPhone seemed out of reach for most us. Is it an outlandish statement to suggest a significant portion of the population now own one? Prosthetics were initially invented for the medical market to help war veterans accept their prostheses, as they became more popular and affordable in the following years they became adopted and utilised by the general masses, this seems to myself a non too distant realisation. And as with Drink, Drugs and Tattoo's is it beyond the realm of human consciousness that certain individuals would become addicted to cybernetic prosthetics and blur the line between being human and becoming an android?
I am not even half way through this "tome" but it has heightened my anticipation for this games release exponentially. The level of detail and depth to this world may surpass what Rock-star has achieved in the medium. Consuming the fictional "Braindance" by wearing a "Brain-Dance Wreath" a VR Headset to experience a trancelike state of euphoria reminiscent of Shrooms or Ayahuasca that monitors you're vitals so you don't forget to eat or drink during its duration is a staggering detail for what I imagine will be an incredibly minor part of the game.
Similar to Bars, there are Brain-Dance Arcades that cater to customers of every budget with locations ranging from ultra exclusive to more modest parlour's. "Brain-Dance Type: Type Black" referencing psychotically violent and sexual or both seems to directly correlate to the Dark Web. I haven't even touched upon dedicated Net-Runners that incorporate personal ports directly into their cerebral cortex (think the Matrix) for improved performance and data transfer. The twelve different weapons manufacturers and twelve different automobile producers.
I haven't even alluded to Night-City itself, which with each district containing sectors with there own unique distinct identity, Little China, Japan-Town, Wellsprings, Vista Del Ray, North Oaks, Charter Hill Etc, Etc. This book is incredible and surpasses the recently released God Of War Atreus's Diary and book released with The Division. Absolutely incredible, Highly recommended and I am now going over to Game to Pre-Order the Collectors Edition.
There's nothing groundbreaking from a writing perspective here, this is classic Cyberpunk with very little of the post-cyberpunk transhumanism that's quite a thing in modern cyberpunk stories, this is very much your classic 1980s and early 1990s Cyberpunk stuff, and it's good stuff and will serve as a good foundation for the game I'm sure.
Good artwork too.
For a similar book, , check out The Worlds of Android based on the Fantasy Flight card and board games. It's very similar, though they both take a different road in the Cyberpunk journey.
The book is hardback and is of very good quality, pages are a thick glossy paper and feel great to turn.
I found most of the pages filled with adverts to buff out the lack of actual content, its great for immersion and gives you an idea of the world, but as a result I find the content is seriously lacking.
The layout is generally confusing and off-putting as you read through, one minute you're reading on the left, then the right, then there's a small section on the next page, its all over the place.
I found the images of poor quality, nothing is sharp and clear, images are blurry, lack colour and are generally washed out. This may be a stylised thing, but I was hoping to see high contrast, sharp and clear screenshots, instead its just a mish mash of concept art and poor quality images, adverts and generally filler.
Very disappointed with this, there's nothing here you cannot find out online for free, the book whilst good quality doesn't give you anything new, its overpriced and generally boring to read.
Its missing so much content I don't even know where to begin!