The science fiction genre is not devoid of possibilities.
In a setting that surely allows the most creative freedom, there’s simply no excuse for poor character development and storytelling.
The good-hearted protagonist may be an alien veteran of the Battle of Zingydaar, and the evil wizard looking to defeat the good guys may very well be a former Barnsley scaffolder. The immense scope of the genre means that all possibilities are firmly on the table.
There are traits that are universally intriguing no matter what star cluster you reside in, and each serves to heighten the greatness of the character. Empathy, camaraderie, malice, or heroism are essential building blocks to ensure a personality is relatable, admirable, or loathsome, and achieving such a feat is more difficult than the sci-fi genre without limits would have you believe.
The games medium is ripe for such characters to be forged, as the player spends a lot of time with each of them. An epic hero destined to save the galaxy from a sentient race of ancient machines or an edgy, cyber-enhanced rocker living in your head rent-free, the relationships we develop with such characters are so powerful, many having a significant impact on us after the credits.
Surely enhanced significantly by Keanu Reeves serving as the character’s likeness, voice, and presence, Johnny Silverhand is a shining spark in a somewhat insane Cyberpunk 2077 experience.
Silverhand is the frontman of chrome-rock band SAMURAI and creates strictly anti-corporate music. His aesthetic alone is mesmerizing, sporting a shiny mechanical arm that would spawn his surname and a pair of aviator sunglasses that never let the player know too much about him.
Johnny is sarcastic, aloof, and condescending, but never in a dull or unwelcoming way. He’s a welcome addition to the story, and while his inclusion bears uncanny similarities to Handsome Jack’s presence in Tales From The Borderlands, the way he accompanies V through the player’s journey feels like a team effort rather than a lone wolf scenario.
Keanu Reeves’ robotic delivery (although this time it’s deliberate!) adds greatly to Silverhand’s character. Ultimately, he’s a man forged by his surroundings, and Night City’s fascination with cybernetic enhancement and the fight against organized crime means his outspoken, blunt personality fits right in. That said, even in a town full of complex characters and unsettling neighborhoods, Silverhand still feels cool.
Johnny, you are amazing.