Cyberpunk 2077: What is Night City?
Night City is a dump. Don’t be fooled by that veneer of glamour slapped over the top; if anything, it’s the definition of putting makeup on a pig. As described in the E3 2018 trailer, it’s been voted in-universe as “the worst place to live in America” thanks to a “sky-high rate of violence and more people living below the poverty line than anywhere else”.
A fictional Californian settlement atop real-world Morro Bay, Night City has been the setting of Cyberpunk since its earliest days as a tabletop RPG. Established in 1994 as a haven from the crimewaves rocking North America, its utopian status didn’t last long; ironically, it was soon taken over by the mob and cutthroat businesses. This led to the dystopia you’ll find in the game.
Which is more of a mess now than ever, by the way. Divided into wildly different districts, the line between the haves and the have-nots is stark. The centre is an economic paradise of slick megacorporations, but this is surrounded by an untamed ‘Combat Zone’ filled with the desperate and the destitute. A gated slice of suburbia can be found beyond them, but only rich elitists are able to afford a home there.
To make matters worse, the city has been through the ringer in the last few decades. As well as its gang takeover and crime-ridden underbelly, it was abandoned as a lost cause by the US government in the mid 21st Century. Night City has also been struck by nuclear war in the not-so-distant past.
As described in our Cyberpunk 2077 dictionary and timeline, it’s just gotten back on its feet by 2077. Expect to find a metropolis starting a new chapter when you boot up the game.