CD Projekt Red blew up E3 2019 when it revealed that Keanu Reeves will have a major role in its upcoming RPG Cyberpunk 2077. Reeves stole the show (although it was arguably stolen back by Ikumi Nakamura during Bethesda’s reveal of Ghostwire Tokyo) when he appeared on stage during Microsoft’s E3 press conference. He doesn’t just have a cameo role, though–we found out later from CD Projekt that Reeves’ character, Johnny Silverhand, is the second-most prolific character in the game, after player character V.
Johnny’s presence in the story runs throughout the game, lead quest designer Pawel Sasko told GameSpot during the show. He’s a “digital ghost” who resides in V’s head, which means he’ll pop up often to quip about stuff and to give you a bit of guidance as you play the game. But Johnny is a character in his own right, too. He has an agenda of his own that doesn’t necessarily align with V’s, and how you shape your relationship with him through the choices you make will be impactful on the story as it develops.
There’s a lot of backstory about Johnny in Cyberpunk 2020, the pen-and-paper RPG from which Cyberpunk 2077 is adapted. Before he existed as your almost-imaginary friend, he was a revolutionary and the lead singer of the band Samurai. He died in one of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebooks, but though he lacks corporeal form, he still speaks and appears to V in the game.
Johnny’s musical background raises one essential question, however: Will we get to hear Keanu Reeves serenade us when we play Cyberpunk?
“Oh, I can’t talk about it at this point,” Sasko said when our Jordan Ramée put the question to him.
But it’s not like Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t acknowledging Johnny’s musical legacy all over the place. Look at how loaded this screenshot released during E3 is:
A guitarist playing under a big graffiti sign asking about Johnny? Could they be any more obvious about setting up Johnny Silverhand’s music in the world? They might as well just come out and release a trailer of Keanu singing right now. Like today. Like later this evening. They’re not fooling anyone.
There was also some provocative set dressing in the room where CD Projekt sent journalists to hang out while they waited for their demo:
It’s a rough photo (sorry, my fault), but you can clearly see a Silverhand record displayed here, plus an actual guitar. Johnny might be dead in Cyberpunk, but the preponderance of circumstantial evidence I’ve gathered suggests his music is alive and well in 2077. And what has music? That’s right: video games.
And you don’t hire freakin’ Keanu “Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan” Reeves as a cyborg singer in a band that’s central to the franchise and just, like, not ask him to sing, right? That would be, and I cannot stress this enough, absolute madness.
This would be specifically ridiculous because Keanu is an actual singer! He was in a band! When he shreds air guitar in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, that’s (probably) not acting–he knows how to play guitar!
I MEAN LOOK:
And then there’s the most glaring piece of pro-Keanu-crooning (Krooneanu) evidence: CD Projekt dodging the question. If Reeves doesn’t sing in Cyberpunk, wouldn’t Sasko have just said so? Saying he can’t talk about it means there’s something to talk about, and that thing is that Keanu sings in this game, probably to you specifically because he lives in your head: a private concert in your brain, and by extension, your living room (or wherever your PC is I guess).
The pieces all add up. I’m calling it: Keanu sings confirmed.
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