Last week, I was all set to put cyberpunk on life support. William Gibson just posted this to Twitter, and I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. To add insult to injury, when I went to look at the paint splotch, their website was quick to ask: “Sherwin Williams wants to know your location.”
If Sherwin Williams can co-opt the word ‘cyberspace’ for paint colors, I say to myself, then it proves that the future is here, and it is lame. One way to see this is that we live in a boring dystopia now. Ideas are currency, but they’re being spent like Venezuelan bolívars. Human expression has no meaning unless it’s motivating you to buy something.
We’re familiar with the need to ‘“adapt, evolve, compete or die,” it’s just depressing to contemplate what that means to the average person who looks at an interesting concept and goes “We can make a paint swatch out of that.” Put a fork in her, Jackson. Cyberpunk is done.
And then …
Everything changes. Keanu Reeves shows up to say he’s in Cyberpunk 2077. I immediately take back everything I said about cyberpunk being done. If Neo himself is willing to climb back into the matrix, then we’re not done. Not by a long shot.
Reeves’ adorkable announcement at E3 is a game changer (lol, no pun intended) for the genre itself. It’s a shot in the arm for those of us that have devoured cyberpunk since its inception. He’s been a cheerful supporter of cyberpunk since Johnny Mnemonic, and helmed the legendary Matrix franchise. If you’re walking the streets of Night City or cutting ICE in Istanbul, Keanu Reeves is the guy you want by your side. Here’s a clip of the happy moment in which one guy says what we’re all thinking:
— Xbox ➡️ E3 (@Xbox) June 9, 2019
So no, cyberpunk isn’t dead. It’s taking shape, it’s moving. It’s being used and inhabited every single day. Some people are bad actors, true. But the vast majority of it is filled by people like you and me. We can decide what the future looks like. We just have to work together to make it happen.