Drug abuse is a common theme within the Cyberpunk
genre. Whether developed in black-alley pharmacies or huge corporate refineries, there are drugs
to cater to almost any desire in Night City, so long as you have enough eddies.
Many drugs are experimental chemicals dumped on the street by unscrupulous corporations
looking for guinea pigs. Some are home brewed horrors designed in basement labs. Still others
are military combat drugs designed to create armies of efficient killing machines with
complete disregard for the user’s long-term health.
The most commonly taken drugs in Night City are amphetamines, barbiturates and combinations
thereof. Amphetamines are stimulants that can be used for performance enhancement or
recreational purposes. Barbiturates are sedatives that induce sleep and reduce anxiety. Hallucinogens
are perhaps less common, as Braindance has become ubiquitous.
While it is rumoured that the financial elite can acquire bespoke drugs to minimize physiological
side effects, drugs are often designed with the aim of creating a captive market. Afterall,
a Dorph addict with an insatiable desire to get their fix is always best for business.
In Cyberpunk 2020, the myriad of drug side effects includes nausea, tremors, hallucinations,
paranoia, delusions, psychotic rage and death. While the list of adverse drug reactions is
almost endless, I envisage CDPR will not include many of these in the gameplay mechanics of
Cyberpunk 2077. For example, giving V a contaminated Dorph inhaler during the middle of gunfight
for her to subsequently suffer from explosive diarrhoea, just to satisfy a pharmacologist’s
penchant for “immersion”, is nonsensical. Aside from alcohol, which I covered in a previous
video, in my experience, the top ten interesting drugs that may be referenced in Cyberpunk
2077 are as follows: LeSade used by sadomasochistic vampire gangs
on their victims through their injector fangs. While a potent aphrodisiac, it scrambles pleasure-pain
signals to the brain. A victim under the influence of LeSade becomes sexually aroused when receiving
pain. SythCoke or Snapcoke are synthetic versions
of cocaine. Its side effects include paranoia and psychological addiction, while providing
the user a minor increase in strength. Boost is a nootropic, that increases intelligence,
but users may develop full tolerance resulting in the drug no longer having an effect. Addicts
will begin suffering screaming fits and hallucinations unless they get their fix.
Smash is a euphoric, providing a strength increase and is an alternative form of alcohol
sold in cans. Its side effects include psychological addiction and the user may sink into catatonia
or feel suicidal, making them a ripe target for some Booster looking for spare change.
Dorphs are the primary combat drug and painkiller in Cyberpunk 2020, manipulating endorphins
to reduce pain and stress effects. Dorphs increases the user’s strength but may reduce
their reflexes. Black Lace, an upgraded version of Dorph,
imparts euphoria, adrenal rush and invulnerability to pain. Black Lace users become fearless,
cold-blooded killing machines. Black Lace will significantly augment a user’s strength
and cool, but it may cause someone to go cyberpsycho. Mr. Ex, a powerful stimulant which increases
metabolic processes to such a level that the person may stay awake for almost a week. It
is used primarily by busy Corporates and Netrunners. Speakeasy was designed as a truth serum, but
has aphrodisiac side-effects. Speakeasy is now used in certain brothels of Night City
to gain access to valued information carried by corporates and other individuals of interest.
A powerful truth serum, it tends to function best when the subject is engaged in copulation,
as it reacts to the hormonal imbalances found during orgasms.
Jazz was developed under contract by the United States Air Force for combat pilots to increase
reflexes. It failed miserably due to the permanent nerve damage it caused. Jazz hit the streets
in a corporate play and ever since has been a mainstay of street gangs and desperate solos.
Rambo-7, developed by the Colombian Army, is only used by the crazy, desperate and suicidal.
A soldier on Rambo-7 can literally break their spine and keep on fighting. The formula was
astonishingly simple and relatively easy to replicate on the black market.
As for Cyberpunk 2077, I envisage addiction and withdrawal symptoms will most likely be
translated into lowered stats, and impact upon the interactions with other characters
through the availability of dialogue options. Another possibility is adopting a toxicity
system similar to Witcher 3 which determined side-effects when Geralt used multiple potions
or decoctions. In addition, CDPR may also make V susceptible to death from overdosing.
In the recent Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay demo CDPR have already demonstrated the modus operandi
and modernization of certain drugs, such as adding reflex boosters in the form of Kereznikov,
delivered via an inhaler. In contrast Kereznikov was limited to neural ware enhancements in
Cyberpunk 2020 where it was called Kerenzikov. It also had significant humanity costs. These
changes may reflect CDPR giving the player the opportunity to balance their playstyle
versus humanity costs. When the Kereznikov reflex booster was used, it granted V the
“Bullet Time” ability for approximately 59 seconds.
An air hypo, sometimes called the “Bones McCoy” in Cyberpunk 2020, a reference to Dr Leonard
‘Bones’ McCoy from Star Trek. is used on Sandra Dorsett, when she began to flatline during
the quest “Breaking Through”. The Trauma Team medics administer 70 mg dopamine, 110 norepinephrine
and 800 Fibrin. Dopamine and norepinephrine are catecholamines released by the body in
response to physical stress, while presumably fibrin glue is used for wound healing.
During the negotiations with Dum-Dum for the Flathead MTOD12, he offers V an inhaler containing
S-Keef. S-Keef appears to be a form of cannabis or marijuana which has a currently unknown
affect for 54 seconds. Drugs provide CDPR with fertile ground to
incorporate a myriad of innovative quest possibilities. A fine exemplar of CDPR’s previous work on
drugs was the Witcher 3 quest Equine Phantoms. Geralt imbibes a concoction that has a surprising
side effect, allowing him to converse with Roach. I am Kazuliski and I hope you found this succinct
discussion on potential drugs and Cyberpunk 2077 to be informative. If there is a topic
you would like me to discuss you are always welcome to leave suggestions in the comment
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