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Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty's lovely launch trailer is making Male V fans sad

Alas for Vincent

The female-presenting incarnation of V from Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
Image credit: CD Projekt

CD Projekt have dropped the launch trailer for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, in great news for fans of driving-combat-cutscene montages and wailing, rain-slicked theme tunes, but less great news, apparently, for mega fans of the male-presenting incarnation of player character V, voiced by Gavin Drea. I haven't touched Cyberpunk since release in 2020, and I'm sort of intrigued to discover that the female-presenting version of the protagonist, voiced by Cherami Leigh, has become the default for marketing purposes.

The trailer runs through a few Phantom Liberty highlights. We're introduced to Idris Elba's Solomon Reed and the new Dogtown area, alongside new scenes with existing characters like Keanu Reeves' Johnny Silverhand, who advises V to "play but don't get played". There's a pinch of bike combat, a smidgeon of swordplay, and an evocative theme tune with vocals from Dawid Podsiadło. It certainly looks like the tour de force Graham described in his Cyberpunk 2007: Phantom Liberty review. But yeah, if you favoured Drea's V you're fresh out of luck, chooms.

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There's been a certain amount of pushback on socials and forums about the absence of "Male V" or Vincent from Phantom Liberty's marketing materials. To head off the obvious response, I don't think it's all down to sexism; Drea does a fine job with the character and has many fans, including Gene Park off the Washington Post. Mind you, I'm not sure this unofficial poster is the one the petitioners should be sending to CD Projekt PR. It makes Male V look like the last hamster in the petshop, the one that's been there so long he's fallen in love with his water bottle.

This kind of tug-of-war between versions of a customisable protagonist has unfolded many times before. Comments thread blood is still shed over whether Femshep is the primary manifestation of Commander Shepard, for instance. For me, it's a question of ethics - Manshep makes more sense to me as a glowering Renegade protagonist, whereas Femshep is my go-to for virtuous Paragon versions of the character. By contrast, I will always lean towards Kassandra when it comes to Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.

Which performance of V do you prefer? And are you giving that there Cyberpunk a whirl?

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