Welcome back to another Cyberpunk 2077 lore
discussion. In Mike Pondsmiths Cyberpunk narrative, most individuals are upgraded with cyberware,
neuralware, bioware and so on, so a question which often arises, is what happened to the
sports that many people now enjoy, given the advantages augmentation potentially provide
to an athlete. Before starting, I wish to preface the discussion
by clarifying a few terms. Due to having a global audience, it is sometimes problematic
deciding which phrases to use in my videos, or whether or not to use Cyberpunk slang.
So, for this discussion I will be using American sporting terms. For those who are from Europe,
football, the sort that Juventus, Barcelona, Manchester United etc. play, will be referred
to as soccer in this video. American Football will just be called football.
Up to the year 2000, sports, and the athletes involved were identical to what you are familiar
with today. Then came the collapse. As far as the USA was concerned, professional sports
simply stopped being relevant for a decade. As people changed, so did their taste in sport.
Increasingly, violent pastimes became the American obsession. After the martial government
managed to re-establish order, they came to the conclusion that there was a need to entertain
the populace, and thus the concept of professional athletes using cyberware came to fruition.
The huge stadiums of the pre-collapse are mostly gone, ruins at best, built on cheap,
low lying land. Some that survived served as fortresses like the Arrowhead complex in
Kansas City, or command posts and jails during the martial law period, like the Giants stadium
in New York. Others were inundated by swamp, or cannibalized by the rebuilders of America.
These relics tend to be the only reminders of professional sports prior to the collapse.
The professional sports industry of the information age needed to be truly global, truly brutal,
and truly cathartic for a population of almost five billion humans. It had to be different
on a massive scale. International Soccer was the only sport followed globally, but since
nationalism was dead in the greater sense, the corporations took over sponsorship of
games. Teams like the Arasaka Sakuras, The Militech Rangers, and the OrbAir Flyers not
only generated valuable public relations, they made money as well. The Night City death
dealers is particularly popular in Night City and on the World Sports Network sat channels.
There are no stars on this team as most players don’t survive long enough to get a following.
The first cyberware augmented players were added for the 2006 season. By 2008, so much
of the game was cybernetic that the ball had to be redesigned to handle 500 psi impacts.
In 2012, the design was changed again, to a smaller solid design that could both withstand
the pressures of augmented play and allow more finesse.
The eleven-man teams of the old days have been streamlined for modern times; the stadiums
were no longer cost-efficient. The players, however, remain expendable, and thus modern
football is the most violent sanctioned sport of 2020. As far as the players are concerned,
cyberware is the main rule. Only full-conversion cyborgs and linear frames are disallowed.
The full-body armour used is often adorned with spikes, and not just for show either.
Fatalities are a must for big ratings in 2020, and these men, and women are eager to please.
All of this cyberware is usually quick change. Constant use would cause a much greater percentage
of cyberpsychosis than is already present, and that is no small amount.
Contrary to what one might think, this version of football is not all about violence and
cyberware. Its actually a game heavily dependent upon finesse and style. This is because if
a player does get hit, the impact can be rather messy if not fatal, so most do whatever possible
to avoid that outcome. The other changes in the rules have also significantly changed
how the game is played. The field size has been cut in half, with
the goal depth shortened to five meters. Teams are seven-man, with a maximum roster of eighteen.
The uprights are only one-quarter their original width, though only half as tall. Extra points
are a thing of the past, as are roughing penalties. The field is surrounded by a five-meter concrete
wall, and there is no out-of-bounds. A touchdown is worth five points. A field goal is worth
two points. There are no other ways to score. There are still many similarities. The game
still lasts an hour, broken into halves and quarters. The skills of passing, rushing,
blocking, and blitzing are still instrumental in winning. Its been said that a fan of pre-collapse
football would still be able to recognise the sport in its modern incarnation.
While football is the most violent sanctioned sport, it is by no means the only violent
sport, and may be considered tame compared to some of the gang sports of 2020. Even the
gangs came to conclusion, that when dealing with the police and corporations, killing
each other may not necessarily be the best strategy. This supposedly enlightened thinking,
has created a number of new sports, albeit they are somewhat disorganized in comparison
to the professional counterparts. There are usually no referees, and rarely any organized
teams. On the rare occasion there is a referee, they are usually armed with assault rifles.
Teams tend to be small, usually only four or five players. Occasionally, they may be
increased in size, if multiple gangs are involved. There is no time limit, the game is over only
when one team cannot continue. The distinction in violence is very clear. The idea is to
temporarily incapacitate the other team. Open killing is forbidden, intentional maiming
is an even greater taboo. These sports are collectively known as sticking. The term sticking
is just coming into common usage. It is taken from the similarity of all the sports equipment
used. In the UK, a sport called caveball developed.
It is a highly lethal variant of ice hockey and Gaelic football. Described as having everything,
violence, blood, fast, explosive action, and frequent messy deaths, it is the sport of
the ghetto and now competes in popularity with soccer. In contrast to its American counterparts,
soccer remains the number one game in the United Kingdom, but no cyberware is allowed.
Crowd violence inside stadiums has been eradicated, as many grounds now have automatic mini guns
installed. A cyber enhanced version, more in common with the American counterpart also
exists. For those who follow the premier league or champions league, most of the teams simply
folded over due to financial issues. The UK, also has two NFL franchises, the London Ravens
and the Glasgow Lions. Many of the old sports are still around, but
they are in scattered and disconcerted states. Golf is still played by some executives, but
if you don’t play combat handball, then you are not in the in crowd. In Europe golf continues
to be popular, although participants must register all their cyberware. This has meant
that the rules were revised significantly, with new handicaps. Baseball is still a primarily
un augmented sport, there is almost no cyberware usage at all. The American pastime is not
so popular anymore, though in Asia it is still the leading sport of young people.
As for Razorball, this actually poses quite the conundrum. It’s briefly mentioned as a
sport that is played by gangs residing in the Night City combat zone within an abandoned
ice-skating ring, but details of what it involves remains elusive. Another issue that you might
encounter, is a historical one. If you played Cyberpunk 2013 and Cyberpunk 2020 when it
came out in the late 1980s or early 1990s, during this time period there was a certain
fantasy football game from Games Workshop called Blood Bowl. The relevance of this,
is that quite a few pen and paper gamers back in the day, simply called RazorBall, Blood
Bowl albeit the two have no association with each other. Not a huge issue, but some people
still tend to use the names interchangeably. The area of combat sports aka death sports,
is still rare for several reasons. The most pressing of these is money. Even in 2020,
sport is big business. It may not have reached the absurd levels of pre-collapse America,
but this does not mean that the forces of capitalism are impotent.
As a matter of fact, the global popularity of augmented soccer and football constitute
a stronger rationale for high salaries, after all, these players are world heroes, not just
national ones. How can these athletes justify their salaries?
Endorsements. The corporations that control these athletes have a monopoly on a huge sector
of market share. If these players do not have long and illustrious careers, then they cannot
recoup their respective company’s capital investment. This does not mean that players
don’t die, they do. Its predicted that almost seventy five percent of the players in augmented
football will not survive five active seasons. The advances in medical technology have reduced
most deaths to mere maiming, followed by a long recovery and training period. Enough
irreparable brain damage occurs over time, there are even rumours that some players are
actually brain-dead, living on chipped routines that keep them moving and playing under AI
control. The non-corporate controlled Nomad and Gang
sports are usually very bloody. For the most part, there is no long-term payoff in athletes
killing each other for a living. While augmented sports allow for a great deal of cathartic
violence, true combat sports have failed to make the transition.
The closest thing to a nationwide big-money death sport are the North American finals
of the World Kumite Tournament that passes through every two years. Despite attempts
to keep combat drugs and cyberware to a minimum, killings in the ring are not uncommon.
This does not mean that there are no true death sports. Some areas of the world sponsor
prison inmate gladiatorial contests, full contact obstacle courses, martial arts, death
duels, and other wargames of all sorts. Some of these sports involve condemned people who
must win to survive. These sports are still technically illegal in America, but that has
never stopped the market form suppling demand. Two main points arise from this discussion,
how many of these sports will feature in Cyberpunk 2077 and will V be able to participate in
any. Boxing and some form of Basketball has already been seen in gameplay footage, however
in terms of football and soccer the impact of the fourth corporate war on such activities
is currently unknown. In the past, during the Witcher 3, a particularly
memorable quest was the Fists of Fury, where Geralt effectively enters a combat sport.
It’s difficult to see whether or not CD Projekt Red might adopt something similar for V. In
my experience, generally the first-person perspective does not lend itself as well to
melee combat sport as the third person perspective, as movement tends to lack finesse or responsiveness.
There is also the tendency for gameplay to become repetitive for it to become meaningful
or satisfying. However, CDPR might be able to pull it off should they decide to go down
that route. Hey Choomba, I am Kazuliski and I hope you
found this Cyberpunk 2077 discussion on sport to be informative. Are you interested in more
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or feedback, please let me know in the comment section. Thank you for Chippin’In!