From the announcement to the release of Cyberpunk 2077 took almost ten years. But despite years of development and several postponements, CD Projekt Red has somehow miraculously kept the key features of the story and universe a secret. Even the Night City Wire video series shed light on only a few details - many still have a bad idea what Night City is and how it differs from dozens of other neon-cyberpunk anthills. And the difference is an incredibly rich story, about which the trailers and YouTube videos did not tell anything much. To compensate, we've compiled a brief history of Knight City: in this text we'll tell you when and why this city appeared, how it found itself on the verge of destruction several times and what Keanu Reeves has to do with it.
Cyberpunk 2077 has a rather complicated relationship with the canon of its own universe. The original tabletop role-playing game has three editions - and the last one was unanimously excommunicated by fans from the canon. In addition, Cyberpunk Red (the starter set was released back in the summer), a full-fledged new edition, designed to create a bridge between the old editions and the video game, is now being prepared for release.
In fact, Cyberpunk 2077 takes elements of the lore from all of these books, including the "heretical" third, so the authors had to rewrite some of the nuances to tie everything together. What exactly this chimera will look like in the game, we will know only after the release, so in some details the text may diverge from it. But we expect that it will be just little things like the exact dates. The events of Cyberpunk are set in an alternate universe, which, until the early nineties, was almost the same as ours. The starting point just can take 1989-1990: at this time, power in the U.S. was secretly seized by the Union of Four - the FBI, CIA, National Security Council and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The coup effectively destroyed democracy, and the president was now a mere puppet. Once in power, the new government immediately launched a series of interventions in Central America, by analogy with the Vietnam War (history, as usual, teaches no one anything). These conflicts served as a good testing ground for the first battalions of augmented soldiers. And the thousands of ordinary conscripts who returned home maimed gave even more impetus to the development of the cybernetic prosthetics industry.
The next few years passed relatively quietly. The Cold War gradually waned, and the USSR began to cooperate closely with Europe. France, Italy, Great Britain, and united Germany created the European Economic Community and switched to a single currency, the eurodollar. Together they built the world's first electromagnetic catapult for cargoes delivery into orbit on the Canary Islands. The U.S., on the other hand, refused to join the community: the Union of Four continued to pursue its policy of "paranoid isolationism" - never mind that the Soviet Union had long since renounced communism. But the United States seriously overestimated its position in the world. Although the government did everything it could to undermine the growing power of the European Community, the superpower was rapidly losing prestige. In 1992, Colombian drug lords detonated a mini-nuke warhead in New York City, killing 15 thousand people. In response, they attacked the DEA, which developed a special virus that destroyed more than 90% of coca and poppy plantations world-wide. And soon the US was caught red-handed in a financial manipulation that caused the world's foreign exchange market to collapse like a house of cards. By 1996, the U.S. was catastrophically weakened by European Community sanctions: so much so that many city governments collapsed and declared bankruptcy.
The events of that year (and everything that led to them) were called the "Collapse of the United States. In the midst of the Collapse, the crime rate soared so high that Robocop seemed like a children's cartoon by comparison. People lynched criminal attorneys en masse just doing their jobs, one in four Americans were left homeless, and bloody riots broke out across the country. The most desperate victims of the Union of Four's actions huddled together in nomadic groups, like in Mad Max, and scattered across the country, ravaging everything in their path. And, to make matters worse, the first gangs of "boosters" emerged, the head-to-toe, augmented mobs wreaking havoc and destruction. And when the president and vice president were assassinated on the same day, the provisional U.S. government had no choice but to suspend the constitution and impose martial law.