Everyone had their breath taken away when prolific action star Keanu Reeves revealed Cyberpunk 2077’s release date on Microsoft’s E3 2019 stage. We know Reeves will play the “legendary rockerboy” Johnny Silverhand, but how CD Projekt Red got the Canadian-American actor to be involved with the upcoming first-person shooter has remained a mystery–until now. We sat down with senior level designer Miles Tost to talk about how the Polish developer recruited Reeves.
Reeves is a new addition to the game, only being approached about a year ago or so. When asked why Reeves and not some other action star, Tost said Reeves was the perfect fit. Tost mentions his “rich background [in] cyberpunky stores”–titles like Johnny Mnemonic and The Matrix come to mind–and says “the roles he’s been playing really fit” the team’s vision for the game, calling it “a very natural match made in heaven.”
When asked about Reeves’ reaction to CD Projekt Red’s inquiry, Tost said Reeves is a “super cool guy” who “seems really into this and very passionate about the project and the role he’s playing.” Tost recalls a vivid moment during the pitch process where Reeves was “really getting into the role,” enacting mannerisms Johnny Silverhand might actually have.
It’s worth noting that, while Cyberpunk 2077 is Reeves’ most recent video game casting, he’s appeared in a handful of titles before, including action-adventure game Enter the Matrix, cooperative first-person shooter Payday 2, and big-name battle royale game Fortnite.
While the game won’t come out until next year, Tost says he’s confident the team will pull the project together and ship it when it’s ready. “Our studio is one that really puts quality above everything, and it’s also reassuring for me as a developer. I know we will not ship this game if it isn’t ready by the time we decide to ship it. With that, I think gamers will be able to expect the kind of quality that we had with The Witcher 3 and then some.”
Cyberpunk 2077 will launch on April 16, 2020 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. CD Projekt Red previously announced a North American-only PC version but swiftly changed its mind amid fan outcry.
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