Cyberware is a big deal in Cyberpunk 2077, both in terms of gameplay and setting. The game world revolves around futuristic tech in all its splendor and ugly details, with cybernetics being one of the most visible and iconic element of the archetypal cyberpunk setting. V has access to a wide array of Cyberwear throughout the course of the game, most of which can enhance their combat abilities, while some provide non-combat benefits, or may even be purely cosmetic.
Cyberware or Cybernetics are various implants and prosthetics surgically grafted into or onto a human body to enhance its base attributes and give it entirely new abilities. A cybernetic eye will let you see more, switch between what light-band is visible or scan enemies. Augmented limbs can provide you with raw physical strength way beyond anything an unaltered human could possess. Cyberware can also have various side effects, the most dangerous of which is Cyberpsychosis, which will feature prominently in Cyberpunk 2077.
The game's designers applied the same four style archetypes as they did to the environmental and character design - Entropism, Kitsch, Neo-Kitsch and Neo-Militarism - to cyberwear in-game. You'll find various cybernetic enhancements from each visual style, which also informs the kind of role they fill. When not fighting, it still pays to keep an eye out for what kind of cyberwear players you encounter have equipped - it will tell you a lot about their character.
In Cyberpunk 2077, Cyberware is used to improve player stats and give an advantage during combat - or a better chance of avoiding combat altogether. Some Cyberware can also serve a non-violent role, or simply be a fashion statement.
Cyberware in Cyberpunk 2077 is broken down into three categories in terms of functionality, which determine how they affect V's performance and how you can use them during gameplay.
- Active - These kinds of implants need to be activated by the player if they want to use it. Unless you use them, the game won't do it for you. These include scanners, Mantis Blades that act as weapons and Nanowire.
- Triggered - These activate on their own when a specific criteria - the "trigger" - is met. Some cyberware gives you a buff automatically whenever you dodge an attack, or when your health drops to a specific point.
- Passive - Passive cyberware doesn't need to be activate at all, since simply equipping them will impart a stat bonus or some kind of other benefit.
Cyberware works much like any other kind of item does in most RPGs. Once you have acquired the given piece of cyberware, you open up your character screen and equip it into the right slot. While other games featuring armor items generally break things down by what sort of armor we're talking about - gloves, helmets, boots, etc - in Cyberpunk 2077 it is V's bodyparts, internal and external, that help with categorizing these enhancements.
You will have access to the following slots:
- 3 Brain slots
- 1 Eyes slot
- 3 Cardiovascular system slots
- 2 Immune system slots
- 2 Peripheral nervous system slots
- 3 Skin slots
- 1 Operating system slot
- Skeletal system
- 2 Arm slots (left, right)
- 2 Hand slots (left, right)
- 2 Leg slots (left, right)
Seen in gameplay demos, using Cyberware has a "humanity cost". While this isn't clearly described yet, a common game mechanic in RPGs with a cyberpunk setting is linking enhancements and cybernetics to a "humanity" stat economy. Depending on how the system works, this might be a hard limit to the extent of modification V can equip, a balancing method that imparts certain debuffs the more cyberware you have, or a progression mechanic that would prevent you from getting too over-powered with cyberware too early in the game. We eagerly await clarification of the humanity cost mechanic.
As of August 2020, little is known about the different Cyberware technologies available in the game, but the following have been confirmed for Cyberpunk 2077 so far:
- Mantis Blade - Possibly the most iconic piece of cyberwear in the game thanks to the announcement trailer back in 2013, these blades are installed in the user's arms from where they can protrude. They are a brutal and effective melee weapon, however the planned ability of using them to climb walls has been cut from the game. Available in many variants.
- Gorilla Hands - Installed in the hands slot, these cybernetics give you a huge strength and melee buff, with various different types available.
- Nanowire - This cyberware houses a fiber optic lasso in your arm that you can use to slice opponents into pieces, or remotely access their cyberwear to turn it against them - thus covering both meanings of the word "hack". While the nanowire has some very overt offensive functions, it can also be used to hack networked devices, not just people.
- Blood Pump - Installed in the cardiovascular system slot, this upgrade improves your health regeneration rate when active.
- Micro-rotors - Passive cyberware installed in the nervous system that improves movement speed and precision.
- Krenzikov - This activates a slow-motion effect when you dodge an incoming enemy attack.
- Synlungs - Artificial lungs that are installed in the cardiovascular system slot, boosting endurance regeneration rate.
- Reflex Tuner - Like the Krenzikov, this too activates a slow-motion effect, but this time whenever your health drops below a critical threshold.
- Subdermal Grip - Passively increasing melee damage, the real benefit of the Subdermal Grip implant is the ability to use "locked" weapons, albeit with a 50% damage debuff.
- Kiroshi Optical Scanner - As the name implies, this is a cybernetic eye that provides additional information by scanning opponents, objects and your surrounding area. There are multiple tiers, which offer greater advantages.