, with the exception of the player character V.Co-founder and joint CEO of CD Projekt Red Marcin Iwiński divulged this information in an interview on the E3 Coliseum hosted by Geoff Keighley. When asked if Keanu’s role was a big part of the game and not just a cameo, Iwiński said, “The whole intention with Keanu in the game was to have a very meaningful character that fits into the lore. If we looked at all the actors out there, everything Cyberpunk, it’s Keanu.
“We had a lot of back and forth, and we decided to approach him, it was about a year ago. There was a meeting arranged and we showed him the script, and he immediately got into the role and he really liked it. I think it’s really worth to mention that, maybe it’s a cameo? Maybe it’s just a short side quest kind of person? No. He’s the number two character in terms of lines and spoken text… [throughout the] entire game. I think we have something around 15-ish days of voice recording in the studio, so it’s huge. It’s huge. You will see a lot of Keanu, you will hear even more of Keanu in the game.”
IGN’s own Tom Marks interviewed Cyberpunk 2077’s quest director Mateus Tomashkevich, info from which can be found in our Cyberpunk 2077 preview. We found out Johnny Silverhand is “this digitalized personality that is present in your head that you can see but nobody else can see in the world. He has a huge role in the game, and he’s present most of the time. You create a relationship with this character a lot as you progress through the game. […] It’s a pretty significant character in the game’s storyline and the general experience.”
Elsewhere in the E3 Coliseum interview, Iwiński discussed CD Projekt Red’s future, and how its production pipeline could potentially change following Cyberpunk 2077.
“We are getting close to 1,000 talented individuals, most in Poland. Around 700 is development, 400-something is Cyberpunk, so the vast majority of our teams are working on Cyberpunk,” said Iwiński. “We also have Gwent, we also have GOG, our digital distribution platform, and then we have a very strong internal publishing arm… Our dream for the future is to be able to have two teams, working simultaneously on the product: two big games at a time.”
Despite this desire to expand and focus on multiple titles at once, Iwiński was adamant about CD Projekt Red not having a desire to crank out games like clockwork, saying “We are not a games factory. We treat games as an art, and we want to push the bar higher with every single game release, so it’s not about getting ‘Witcher 3.5’ out there, which would be fairly easy, using the same engine, telling the same stories, and making a quick dollar. That’s not about it. That’s why we are working on CP right now.”
Johnny Silverhand isn’t a brand new character in the Cyberpunk universe, as he first appeared in the pen and paper RPG Cyberpunk 2013’s supplementary booklet, Welcome to Night City, as the lead singer of the band Samurai. However, it appears he’ll play a much larger role than ever before in Cyberpunk 2077 – if you’re curious about this established character, we’ve got you covered with our explanation of Johnny Silverhand.
IGN had the chance to sit down with Keanu, who told us why he was attracted to the role of Johnny Silverhand, and what the facial capture process and collaboration on the character was like. We also have a lot of thoughts after seeing 50 minutes of behind-closed-doors gameplay, and listed all the new gameplay details we learned from this demo, in addition to the 62 awesome Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay details we’ve accumulated over time.
Cyberpunk 2077 will officially be released on April 16, 2020 for PC, PC4 and Xbox One, alongside several other games with confirmed 2020 release dates.
Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colin Stevens is a news writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.