“Every piece feels unique.”
Cyberpunk 2077 was a game that promised the world, and even its staunchest defenders would have to admit it didn’t deliver. For all of the controversy surrounding it in terms of crunch, its depictions of minorities, and the many cut corners CD Projekt evidently took, one of the most surprising issues sprung up around customisation. In part thanks to its genderless genitals, the character creator was a hot topic in the months leading up to release. In the end, it was emblematic of Cyberpunk 2077 – on first impression, it seemed to be a staggering step forwards for gaming, but that idea crumbled the longer you looked at it.
The character creator lets you customise your irises, fingernails, teeth, and yes, genitals, but offers just two body types – athletic masculine and athletic feminine. Any body can have any genitals, but voice is fixed to gender, as are hairstyles, and no non-binary options are present. Piercings and tattoos are limited to preset combinations. Most disappointingly, you’re fixed with your original character design for the entire game. You can add gorilla arms or mantis blades, but you can’t implement any aesthetic cyberpunky characteristics, nor can you switch your tattoos, piercings, make up, or even get a haircut.
That’s why the brunt of in-game self-expression falls to fashion, and on that front at least, Cyberpunk 2077 delivers… kind of. It has all of the pieces, but can’t quite assemble them, and that’s why it fell to one of the players to patch them together in Cyberpunk 404, an online Cyberpunk 2077 fashion magazine designed to showcase all of the game’s clothing.
“I loved the clothing and fashion aspect of Cyberpunk since before it came out and always knew I wanted to get really into it,” says the magazine’s creator, who elected to go only by ‘V’. “What I wasn’t expecting was how hard [it was] to see what stuff would look like, and the price attached to some items when they had some more exotic modifiers. So after completing the main campaign I made a little prototype web page with around five to six outfits on it just to see how it would end up. More like a ‘try this look on your avatar’ type of setting. But it escalated pretty quickly to say the least. I got really into the photo mode and the wonderful city and all the sights. So it just kept growing.”
V has no professional experience in fashion, and has a day job in warehouse logistics, but says that fashion has always been an interest of his. With the outline now in place, V imagines it will take around a year to complete the project entirely, but a COVID-19 spike in V’s native Norway combined with CDPR’s slow updates have stalled progress. However, V says he’ll “be getting back on it soonish.”
V runs the site with a small team, with the main workload handled by himself, while a small team helps track progress with various spreadsheets. He also credits a woman named June for helping with the site’s English; V is fluent but it is not his native language. Aside from that, there are a few one-off contributors on the site who have submitted their own outfits to help V’s mission to include every piece of clothing in the game. “My primary goal is to get all the different clothing items on the page to mainly work as a wiki of sorts regarding all the possible clothing items available in the game,” V says. “There really isn’t an easy way to see all of them right now on console. So it’s the only real source to get an idea about stuff.”
The site also includes various lookbook pages, which function more as couture fashion shoots at the variety of different locations in the game rather than a catalogue or wiki. V says he’ll return to that in the future “but that’s not a huge priority honestly. Getting all the clothing articles ready to be seen is the main thing right now.”
Despite some controversies around the customisation options, V feels the clothing at least goes above and beyond. “The game does much better than most when it comes to re-textures of articles [of clothing],” V says. “Many games just throw a different shade of colour on items and call it a day. While there are a lot of same looking articles in the game, almost all feel unique because of the clever use of different textiles, patterns, and the likes to really make each piece unique. The people that made them are really a cut above the rest.”
For obvious reasons, that means V’s pretty satisfied with the current selection of clothing, though his in-depth experience with the game’s fashion means he has identified some areas to be improved upon in future updates. “Right now we’re in a pretty good spot,” V says. “But there’s certainly a little lack in more ‘normal clothing’ in certain categories. Some categories are a lot better fleshed out than others. For example, the 20 [types of] aviators make up a good amount of sunglasses. I think the main thing all buffs would love is to see more of the huge NPC clothing selection be available to players. DLC wise, I doubt fashion on its own will ever be a pack in itself, but I have a feeling we’ll be blessed with a lot of cool fashion as it goes forward. I just hope console players can enjoy it like us PC players can, seeing as most of the more unique NPC clothing articles can be added through user [mods] that are really amazing.”
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