By now, many who picked up Cyberpunk 2077 and played it non-stop would have unlocked one of the five different endings in the game (and maybe even the secret-ish ending). There are significant differences in each and some require completing specific characters’ side quests to unlock them. Spoilers are inbound for each and every single one so if you’ve yet to complete the game, now is the time to bail.
The most basic ending involves storming Arasaka Tower to access Mikoshi where the minds of the Soulkiller victims are stored. You’ll have to kill Adam Smasher along the way and when it’s done, V is taken to a space station by Arasaka where they have the Relic – and Johnny Silverhand – removed. Unfortunately, V has only six months left to live due to the damage that the Relic has caused. It’s possible to upload V’s consciousness into Mikoshi for some kind of solution to emerge down the line or return to Earth and use whatever time they have left. Either way, V’s ultimate fate is unknown.
Three other endings depend on completing side quests for either Panam or Rogue. Completing quests for the former has Panam helping in the assault on Arasaka Tower. From here, you decide whether V regains control of his body or Johnny gets control. Opting for the former sees the player joining Panam to leave Night City with her group and effectively live out whatever time he has left. If someone becomes V’s romantic partner, then they’ll also feature in this. Giving control to Johnny effectively allows Silverhand to be reborn. However, the rocker undergoes a change of sorts, becoming more somber and eventually leaving town. He doesn’t have to worry about dying in six months though so it’s a happy ending for him.
If you complete Rogue’s side quests, Johnny will take over V’s body and assault Arasaka Tower along with her. Opting to give control to V will see them taking charge of Afterlife and becoming a legend of Night City, though his life is still on a timer. The next job sees V engaging in a heist in space so that’s neat. Of course, one could also opt to just end it all before even assaulting the tower. V essentially commits suicide, taking Silverhand with him. The two come to terms with it – and each other – but it’s still a sudden end to the game.
As for the “secret-ish” ending, it’s more of an alternative to how you’d normally assault Arasaka Tower and leads to the second and third endings. Become friends with Johnny and choose specific dialogue choices when visiting his grave. Then during the final mission, one must opt out of all the other choices. Eventually – somehow – Johnny and V will attack Arasaka solo. This mission has no checkpoints, several difficult enemies and dying will immediately end the game.
These are the endings that have been discovered based on current playthroughs. It’s possible that there are other options as well but for now, it is what it is and Life Paths don’t make any real difference. Now the real question: Where does the story go from here? CD Projekt RED has already confirmed the existence of paid expansions and multiplayer, though it’s likely that the latter has you playing as a custom mercenary. We’ll get to that in a bit.
All in all, the story really wants to convince you that V doesn’t survive in the long-term. Given that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be supported for many years, not to mention the developer hinting at wanting to return to The Witcher, a sequel already seemed unlikely from the start. But if it ever does happen, the chances of V being playable are incredibly slim. At this rate, it’s safe to assume that any continuation of the story will take place in the expansions.
This is where things get dicey. Despite the number of endings, they all point to V having a limited amount of time to live (if he doesn’t upload his consciousness into Mikoshi, that is). Any expansions that release could thus focus on him searching for some kind of cure for his condition. Again, this also seems unlikely for a number of reasons. Firstly, when becoming a legend and heading up Afterlife, V seems content to just be a high-profile Solo and take on any big jobs he can get his hands on
Secondly, the Panam ending is all about leaving Night City – having the expansions take place outside wouldn’t make sense, given all the work that went into making the city. But if there truly is a cure outside of the city’s walls, and CD Projekt RED is serious about releasing new areas, it could very well create different scenarios to have V travel outside to. This may seem fairly complex but it’s still doable.
The other alternative – and one that would make more sense – is to expand on the game before the main storyline’s final mission. The Witcher 3 did something similar with its expansions which introduced new areas and storylines within the core game but were pretty much standalone. You could go in and effectively complete them without worrying about the base game’s quest being disturbed. From this perspective, there’s a lot that the development team could do.
It could introduce entirely new storylines and systems. Perhaps a gang war is brewing, which isn’t impossible given the city’s history, and the player has to choose a side. Add a reputation system in with different rewards depending on your choice and you’ve got a pretty lengthy expansion that encourages replay value. Another possibility is that Saburo Arasaka, who’s revealed to have taken over the body of his son Yorinobu in the first ending, becomes V’s next target. There could be an expansion set after the main story that sees the player finishing what Johnny Silverhand started and taking down Arasaka’s main man for good.
It’s also worth noting that the person who doesn’t get the body in the second and third endings heads into cyberspace. They’re not permanently “gone” per say and it’s possible that exploring Cyberspace is the focus of the expansion. Then again, the same problems arise, whether it’s creating new areas or trying to justify Keanu Reeves returning to play Silverhand. The cost of recording extensive new dialogue and Reeves lending his likeness again may be too much for the developer, especially for a simple expansion. So it’s also unlikely that one of the expansions focuses on Johnny’s past, especially with all the flashbacks seen in the main game already.
It would be interesting if we get to see what happened to Morgan Blackhand though. In the lore, he joins Johnny and Shaitan in the assault on Arasaka Tower which eventually leads to Adam Smasher “killing” Johnny. As the tower blew up, Smasher and Blackhand engaged in a battle to the death. But during Silverhand’s flashbacks in Cyberpunk 2077, the legendary Solo doesn’t show up at all. He’s effectively retconned out of the storyline. Maybe an expansion could release that adds him back in, retconning the retcon, and allows us to play as him. One can certainly dream.
It should be interesting to see if multiplayer ties into any upcoming expansions as well. Touted as a standalone product – but still its own mode so don’t get too hyped – multiplayer will likely use the base assets of Night City for its purposes. We could get a Grand Theft Auto Online-like situation where players interact with characters from the main campaign, perhaps a few months or years later. Hints of V’s fate may also be reflected along with other choices the player made. If new areas are added via the expansions, it remains to be seen if any multiplayer content will utilize them. This further fuels the possibility of having new systems and missions in existing areas of Night City, with perhaps a few remodeled interiors here and there for the expansion-exclusive story missions.
Of course, given the current state of the game, it’s hard to say when the expansions could release. CD Projekt RED has released expansions for The Witcher 3 while the base game required bug fixes. But considering the state of the console versions for Cyberpunk 2077, not to mention lingering issues with the PC version and prior delays pushing back the development of the expansions and multiplayer, it’s hard to say. All of that is in addition to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrades that are in the works. For the first year at least, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the developer focus entirely on quality of life improvements and adding initially promised features that are missing.
At this point, the fates of V and Johnny Silverhand are pretty much set in stone barring any deep secrets that must be unraveled by subsequent replays. So let’s hope there’s some other intriguing direction that the universe could go in the future.