There’s always surprises at E3, even the leaky ones (and boy, was 2019 a leaky one). However, it’s a bit rare for the biggest and most talked about surprise to not be a megaton game reveal, but who a game is starring. When it was revealed that Keanu Reeves was going to have a key role in Cyberpunk 2077, the audience blew up, and we’re still talking about it. But was there anyone else the developer was looking at for that role, or any other role? CD Projekt RED says no- it was Keanu or no one.
Hollywood actors being featured in video games isn’t particularly new. Call of Duty has done it for years, even this year we have Ghost Recon Breakpoint featuring Jon Bernthal as the antagonist, and let’s not even get started on Death Stranding. But there’s something a bit special about Reeves, since he’s come to make his name on neo-noir and cyberpunk-based films, coming very unexpectedly to one of the most anticipated games on the planet. And in an interview with Destructoid, CD Projekt RED also said it was him or no one. They weren’t looking for a “Hollywood actor” for the role of Johnny Silverhand, they were looking for the Reeves.
“It was either him or no one,” senior level designer Miles Tost said. “That was our mindset. We didn’t think ‘We need a star for this role,’ but rather ‘Hey, he might be the perfect character’ and luckily I guess it all worked out for us.
“It was almost organic how it happened. We made the character, we had our story, we were playing around with it — it became more and more apparent that it’d be really cool if we could get Keanu Reeves for it.”
Cyberpunk 2077 will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 16th, 2020.