Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Cyberpunk Now! Upcoming and Recent Cyberpunk Computer RPGs

Posted by Rampant Coyote on May 11, 2015

cyberpunk2013contemplationBack in the early 90s, I got into the science fiction subgenre called “Cyberpunk.” My gateway drug was primarily a tabletop role-playing game by the same name, by Mike Pondsmith through his label R. Talsorian Games. The rulebooks were full of drawings in a style reminiscent of Patrick Nagel, but with critical differences – particularly with cybernetics. For some reason, I was attracted to the genre particularly for this vision of the setting – casual high-tech consumerism turned into a distopia.

To grok the setting and idea better, I started reading. Naturally, I started with the book that started it all – William Gibson’s Neuromancer. From there, I read plenty more – Pat Cadigan, Walter Jon Williams (who actually had a supplement for the game for his world), George Alec Effinger, Bruce Sterling, and others. Great stuff.

But for me, the roots were still in the RPG. I played a couple others (though, ironically, not the most popular one… the hybrid Cyberpunk / Fantasy system Shadowrun), but I really loved the way Cyberpunk (and its sequel, Cyberpunk dealt with rules and the setting. And since that time, there have been a number of Cyberpunk-themed games – from Interplay’s Neuromancer, the not-too-serious adventure game with RPG elements based on the novel, through the excellent Deus Ex series.

It seems that as we’re finding the world changing beneath our feet along the very lines conjectured in cyberpunk, with social networks, our lives on our personal phones, drones, spying and surveillance, 3D printing, and so much more, maybe the genre is getting a bit of resurgence. It’s certainly looking that way with a bunch of recent and upcoming computer role-playing games making their way through development right now.

I thought I’d take a look at a few of them:

Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt Red): This is the game based on the tabletop RPG that got me started. It’s by the makers of The Witcher series, which to me suggests high quality and no shying away from adult content. But if that wasn’t enough to convince me, their teaser video from a couple of years back remains an indicator that they get it. This little video nails it for me in terms of maintaining the look and feel of the R. Talsorian dice-and-paper game. They’ve also enlisted the original author, Mike Pondsmith, as a consultant, which should help. The details have been minimal, but once The Witcher 3 has been out a few months and is no longer dominating their PR, I expect information to start trickling in.


Rain of Reflections (Lion Bite): This game, from Indie Studio Lion Bite, should be coming in 2016. It sounds like they are doing some very interesting, experimental stuff to mix gameplay and mechanics, and tell the story through three different protagonists.


Technomancer (Spiders): A Semi-Sequel to Mars: War Logs, this is advertised as a cyberpunk RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world (huh, sounds familiar). It will be available on PC as well as major consoles.



Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut (Harebrained Schemes): Recently released as a stand-alone title, this was a major improvement over the original Shadowrun Returns (which I found enjoyable but kinda empty).


Shadowrun: Hong Kong (Harebrained Schemes): Recently successful in Kickstarter fundraising (to the tune of $1.2 million), Shadowrun: Hong Kong promises more of what made the other two games a success. This time, the game takes place in – surprise – Hong Kong, with a different culture, style, and enemies.



Ama’s LullibyA Survival CRPG set in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world.


Transistor (Supergiant): Another semi-recent release. This is a nice, weird, futuristic action-RPG (which I felt was more RPG-esque than their previous hit, Bastion).


Dex (Dreadlocks): This is a 2D RPG currently in early access.


Satellite Reign (5 Lives Studios): By one of the creators of Syndicate Wars, this is a real-time strategy / RPG set in an open-world Cyberpunk city. The big emphasis is on a living, dynamic simulated city going on behind the scenes. Could be pretty cool.



Reborn (Elemental-Labs): This was a failed Kickstarter project. But there are signs that it might be getting…. um…. reborn?



Deus Ex – The Fall (Eidos Montreal): Well, let’s not make too many jokes about the appropriateness of the subtitle. A somewhat recent action-RPG release to the PC ported from iOS.



Honorable Mention: System Crash. It’s not an RPG, but it’s by a friend. A digital CCG (Collectable Card Game) set in a very cyberpunk setting.



Filed Under: Game Announcements - Comments: 7 Comments to Read

  • Lee said,

    I’d add E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy.
    Although that game is a mess, there are some brilliant parts.

  • McNutcase said,

    My first taste of cyberpunk was George Alec Effinger’s Budayeen. I keep thinking that I should use the Shadowrun Returns toolkit to put together a module in that setting.

  • Andy_Panthro said,

    Good timing with this post, I’ve actually just finished Shadowrun Returns (late to the party, as usual). I thought it was great, it had a certain noir-ish charm to it which coupled with the cyberpunk stuff was right up my alley.

    I’ve started the Berlin expansion now, and I would say I’m not immediately hooked like I was with the first game. Lots of characters but not enough info on the main quest at the moment. Feels like it’s trying to be mysterious, but lack of information makes it hard to care about the characters/location/quests.

    Also despite the apparently disappointing “The Fall” (not played it myself), Deus Ex has a sequel on the way of course: “Mankind Divided”. I really enjoyed DX:HR, so I am optimistic they’ll do a good job there. Still need to replay DH:HR with the directors cut changes + missing link DLC.

  • Anon said,

    And we are still waiting for you to revisit “Netrunner: Pawn’s Gambit”, Jay! 😉

    And what’s up with the images?

    Thanks for the overview as always, Jay, but let’s leave it at: I’m not impressed by anything here, except the artwork…

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Ah, the images are missing due to a goof-up while I was nuking the entire blog after it had been hacked. I thought I was erasing an older backup, but it was actually a symbolic link to the current version. OOPS. So I have to manually replace any image by hand for older blog posts, assuming I can still find the original.

    I hadn’t heard about the new Deus Ex sequel. Cool!

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    When Gravity Fails and the rest of the Buyadeen series are among my favorites – probably just behind Neuromancer and Snow Crash.

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