A city immersed in endless rain. The eternal night, interrupted by the colourful play of glistening neon lights, while cars are flying through the canyons of a futuristic skyline.
What is it, that makes this typical Cyberpunk premise so intriguing, that it still draws unbroken attention?
In a dystopian futuristic setting Cyberpunk portrays disconnected humans, living with futuristic technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with societal collapse or decay.
Cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Michael Moorcock, Roger Zelazny, John Brunner and others examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution.
Comics exploring cyberpunk themes began appearing in 1977. Released in 1984, William Gibson’s influential debut novel Neuromancer helped solidify cyberpunk as a genre, drawing influence from punk subculture and early hacker culture.
Genre defining films include Ridley Scott’s Masterpiece Blade Runner (1982), The Matrix trilogy (1999–2003) and the original Ghost in the Shell anime (1995) by Mamoru Oshii were some of the most successful cyberpunk films.
Newer cyberpunk media includes Blade Runner 2049 (2017) by Denis Villeneuve and Alita: Battle Angel (2019).
The award winning and best selling game Cyberpunk 2077 is an action role-playing video game. Within twelve hours after its release, the game had over one million concurrent players on Steam.
The story takes place in Night City, an open world set in the Cyberpunk universe.
Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth.
Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from hardboiled detective fiction.
Crime writers like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler invented the anti hero as a new type of protagonist: a lonely and cynical but compassionate hero in a world where disloyalty is ubiquitous.
The genre’s vision of a troubled future often features a nihilistic underground side of an electronic society.
Settings are dystopias with corruption and artificial reality, where giant corporations have replaced governments as centers of political, economic, and even military power.
Cyberpunk is often set in urbanized, artificial landscapes with an abundance of brightly glowing neon lights and giant video billboards reflecting the major influence of Japan on the genre.
Many cyberpunk protagonists are manipulated, placed in situations where they have little or no choice.
They were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society.