Cyberpunk 2077 Review Ideals: Capital Givens of Time and Genre

To offer a view on something, one must look at it repeatedly, then repeat this process on this view before offering it as such. This process of repetition culminates to a view, views and reviews. Notions preceding these views aren’t questioned, but offered after going through this process. It is a given to offer views in reviews. Through this given, notions outline what is given in these views by relations, which relations unveil what is given in related notions. To outline and to unveil is to lay the foundations of the given in the hazy ground of notions and relations. Yet, it is views that are given, welded together by repetition to come forth in concrete by offering. Givenness thus conceals and obscures what precedes the foundation of views, which unveil and outline themselves by notions and relations. If welding notions and relations together makes the given character of offering views, then this given also gives account what is given in related notions, but concealed and obscured by welding. The task at hand is then to examine related notions that appear to be given, and look at welding that seem to imbue these notions with a dual character.

Reviews of Cyberpunk 2077 seem to relate to notions about the titular genre and the year it takes place in, such as in Carolyn Petit’s review for Polygon that outlines how “William Gibson’s genre-defining novels like Neuromancer and Count Zero first appeared in the mid-’80s,” and in Jason Sheehan’s look for NPR that recounts how they “played Cyberpunk back in the early 90’s when it was just a tabletop RPG inspired by Blade Runner and William Gibson’s sprawl stories.” Petit describes these periodic pieces “thrilling in part because they offered a vision of the future that felt entirely new,” whereas Sheehan states that it was “a product of its time,” giving a virtuous account about notions of genre and time. These descriptions are given in affirming a virtuous stance that in evaluating related notions, frame them as givens as well. Notions of time and genre thus outline a speculative fiction relating to time while speculating in relation to time, emphasized in Petit’s reference to how “Cyberpunk 2077 prefers to look back [to a] worldview [that] feels like the product of someone who’s about 30 years behind the times.” The author’s speculation unveils notions and relations that remain obscured by being related notions. Riley MacLeod’s assessment for Kotaku is similar, who notes that the “diversity of races, sexualities, genders, and body types feel like a veneer,” to conclude that “it’s not a politically progressive game,” because “these identities are all in service of the game’s vision of the cyberpunk future […] that can feel implausible and alienating but also has hints of the world we live in today.”

Capital Modifications

These pieces lay out time to locate notions of genre while ascribing virtues to its starting point (past) and the point it moves towards (future.) Petit and Sheehan describe an archaic past and an ideal future, while MacLeod paints a more ambiguous picture of time by relating virtuous notions to the present, to arrive to a similar assessment about the past and future when they wish for an alienating possibility to be implausible. Time is thus reduced to a linear dimension for speculation towards an ideal future. In relation to this future, notions contrast old products to express desire for new things and ideas, wish more of what’s already good, and cherish progression towards ideals. Quantitative difference characterizes these ideals that when located in linearity, shows less on one end and more on the other to wish for the future and condemn the past. This movement is characteristic of capital that multiplies itself through a series of exchanges: the more exchanges it makes, the better, the faster it does in a given time, also the better. The past appears as a reference point in striving towards a quantitatively better future. Capital’s movement achieves this quantitative difference by subsuming qualitative ones, such as difference between creditor and creditee that are turned into credit, and its effects on its participants and its environment that are turned into calculations about distributing these effects. Capital’s sole focus is its prize towards which movement takes, but since it’s unattainable by being an ideal, it follows this movement characterized by the quantitative at the expense of the qualitative it subsumes in itself. Capital’s movement and ideal are givens that makes its perpetual character and direction givens too. Its motion needs modifications towards the ideal’s direction that subsumes the qualitative in the quantitative, while its perpetual character constrains modifications that doesn’t fit its quantitative character. Modifications thus need to be attempted over and over again, culminating to false starts and repetition.

A virtuous stance and linear construction of time are givens in these reviews. Views repeatedly affirm virtues towards ideals. Wage labor operates with a similar framework in laying out ideals in a linear timeline. It is a given that work is good in generating profit that makes the worker a productive member of society, which givens move in unison towards an ideal whose unattainability is subsumed in the end result of a product. If we understand profitability as difference between the amount spent and the amount earned through work, and productivity as one’s monetary contribution towards the common good from this difference, then the latter follows the former, because common good dictates productivity to an extent that it can deduce from profit towards its purpose. Profit is generated from the end result of production from where common good derives its principle. The cause of common good is the effect of production that makes the yet-to-be-produced product the cause as well as the effect of production. This is carried out by an ideal that brings the future to the present, given in advance for credit. Productivity thus becomes indebted to profitability that makes modifications towards paying off this debt. The future drives production by becoming the present, while the former present affirms that it partakes in this for the common good, even though it has been replaced by future profitability. To avoid incommensurability, the future-present subsumes the present-future in a linear understanding of time, where profitability is followed by productivity that results in a product. But since this product is an ideal that’s unattainable, modifications take place in attempt to resolve unattainability, productivity’s debt to profitability, and the incommensurability between timelines constructed from the ideal. The result is overwork and notions of representations.

Ideal Representations

In videogame development, overwork is representative to such notions as effort and stress that producers manage for workers to deliver a product, while marketers shape this yet-to-be-produced product for the public to be representative to notions that contribute to generating profit. In this sense, wages are given in advance to workers for bearing with notions representative to work, while bonuses and elaborate incentive schemes aim to placate the incommensurability between notions that come from overwork. Messages for the public similarly aim to resolve incommensurability between notions to satisfy shareholders and workers, and attract investors and consumers. Representations emerge from profit and production. But profit operates from the future to produce the present in a product that’s present in a yet-to-be-produced state. This creates notions representative to profit in one present and to production in another present. The yet-to-be-produced product’s material conditions, in this sense, also represent notions in a present. Notions represent one present by themselves and themselves in another present. The present tries to fold these presents representative to notions into itself, but cannot as incommensurable notions arise from these presents in representations. Representations are imcommensurable with one another, except in incommensurability itself and in consisting notions that resemble one another. Quantifying modifications deal with resemblances by folding and subsuming to an end of commensurability. Incommensurability itself can offer a commensurable ground for capital to fold notions into one another. This ripens in context of profit and production for capital to fold time into money, workers into manpower, product into profits, and the public into potential. Capital grants a lens that unify by folding lenses into itself.

Evaluative assessments appear to hold a similar unifying view through repetition, attested by Cyberpunk 2077 reviews that make haste to cite reports of overwork on the game for assessment while assessing the end result of this overwork. MacLeod’s look, for instance, opens with an impression about the game’s marketing, characterized as “an onslaught of hype and dripfed information,” while attributing this public influence to developers who “have promised unlimited freedom, unparalleled graphics, and cameos from celebrities.” This misattribution folds into an assessment about Cyberpunk 2077 itself to affirm that delays of its release, depictions of gender and race, and overwork contributed to the game being a “turnoff.” Sheehan’s evaluation follows a similar subsumption, where the notion of “disaster” folds “crunch, release delays, trans representation and a dozen other things” into itself.

Real Time

Is it the given framework of reviews that makes them inapt to differentiate between representation and the represented, what precedes and follows representation, and what is related to representation? It is given for a review to subsume notions in a virtuous assessment, exemplified by Sheehan’s conclusion that suggests the elusion of Cyberpunk 2077’s subsumption of production, marketing and representation by “refusing to play.” It is an attempt to make notions commensurate in the ambiguous category of play. The idealistic lens folds preceding and following notions into play while affirming distance from this category. The future indepts present play while the past defines how play unfolds to which it attempts escape. If abandonment is the way out of Cyberpunk 2077’s subsumption that’s a result of a virtuous assessment, then this ideal is an assessment of a former assessment one must escape from. Present play is torn between past and future in play assessments. Its resolution is to turn its back on this ambiguous category. But the idealistic lens remains intact after attempts of escape by reverting to its subsuming character that folds timelines and assessments into an ideal to affirm a virtuous assessment on play. This category gives way for assessments to assess former assessments and yet-to-be-former assessments to affirm assessment itself, but in an ambiguous way that leaves room for modifications. Refusal is just one mode of avoiding reaching assessment itself, to which the ambiguous category of play lends a hand.

Time is dissolved in this ambiguous category along with the representations it creates. But something remains that repeated views recognize and attempt to leave behind. This leaves us with a given framework where quantitative notions subsume qualitative ones by way of the ideal and the virtuous. It’s an adequate axiom to locate these notions that needs further elaboration as subsumption appears to leave behind something in relation to time and the representative. The given character of a review is to view what is inside and outside a videogame. It is to relate the representative with the real to form a subsumtive assessment. Cyberpunk 2077 reviews complicate this assessment by relating the present-past to a representation of past-future while painting an idealized present-future and future-present in the real and representation. Adi Robertson’s review for The Verge exemplifies this by alluding to the notion of originality that the game lacks in representing oppression that “don’t feel like successful or failed social commentary, just stock neo-noir conceits that happen to involve oppression,” to conclude that Cyberpunk 2077 “doesn’t add much to the stories and ideas it’s borrowing, but uses them effectively to deliver crowd-pleasing fun.” It purports that genre tropes from the past cannot address present societal dynamics, yet they do by offering palatable representation. The idealistic association makes this point ambiguous by saying that representation of the past is adequate to the present real, to suggest that this can be improved by addition. It’s unclear about what this addition should be applied to, but merely alludes to a future-present of representation. This lens cannot differentiate between the real and representation and how time appears between them, because it subsumes them in itself to affirm an ideal.

Subsumptive Givens

This subsumption is at play when it comes to the quantitative and qualitative, representation and the real, past and future, that becomes more apparent in these reviews because their relation to a genre that speculates about these notions. Repeated views cannot unshackle this lens from its subsuming characteristic, because its offering of views relies on givens. Time is a given in a plane of linearity where genre tropes are placed. The latter is representative to the real by resemblance while the former places the real, the representative and the resemblatory in linearity. Locations in linearity, such as past and present and future, omit characteristics of placed notions, like the resemblatory and what it entails, that the ideal modifies before bringing forth in views. Notions go through subsumption, that yields results like genre tropes that relate to the real past and a representative past. Present views carry out these modifications by looking into an ideal future to speak about past-present-future that are indistinguishable from another in a subsumptive ideal. The real and representation become one through the idealistic lens.

Desire is one mode that operates the idealistic lens by expressing wants and lacks. Overwork through this lens appears wrong according to virtues and representative to givens, such as capital and production, that’s only capable of subsuming them in notions that express them to be ambiguous and part of movement. It’s an affirmation of a problematic that’s perpetual. This perpetual character gets located in time and production to be characterized as change and progression that corresponds with these notions of movement while affirming a virtuous stance. It is to make movement commensurate with a stance in a subsumptive ideal that moves notions in an ambiguous manner. This characterization of overwork is indistinguishable from representations described as problematic according to virtuous stances and notions of movement.

The platitudinous notion about how “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism” speaks to this subsuming lens by admitting that because one must consume (by movement) under capitalism that’s unethical (in stance,) one may choose however they wish to consume, while omitting the virtuous lens that’s given in operating the ethical framework that governs consumption that’s both real (through consumption) and representative (through ethics) to capitalism. In governing consumption, the ethical framework (a stance) precedes consumption and follows it (in movement) for assessment (through stance-movements and movement-stances.) These movements that precede and follow consumption, lead to incommensurability of the present with the past and of the real with representation. But instead of assessing this assessment, desire comes forward to prevent assessment folding into itself by subsuming subsumptions. It is to carry out modifications to affirm an ideal by a notion that wants and lacks. This creates ambiguity where movements and stances operate notions (of time, the real and representation) through subsumptive movement-stances and stance-movements that affirm ambiguous assessments. Thus the ideal affirmed by desire wants to avoid consuming while submitting to consumption to express a lack. The ethical framework remains a given in affirming value judgment on consumption that in preceding and following it, strips consumption from time’s reality and its representative notions to render it neither real nor representative to them, while remaining both real and representative to capitalism that’s both and neither real and representative to time’s reality and its representative notions. Suspended in the real and the representative, desire subsumes them in expressing want and lack with value judgments. This remains the given movement in consumption and capitalism that renders them both and neither real and representative to anything but what is given.

Only through reexamining what’s given, one can move towards different givens until these cease to appear different that speaks to the given characteristic of the lens through which one examines. Affirmation of an ideal is the refusal to face the given nature of the lens one uses to continue looking through it and offer one view after another. Of course, if one must offer their views for a living, then these givens appear different because they’re looked through the imperative of work instead of the examining lens before it. To reconcile with the incommensurability of these lenses, the idealistic lens comes to subsume their difference in itself.

It is given to conclude an essay by resorting to a lens that subsumes to open up preceding notions for reexamination. Refusing to give in to this given, perhaps, leaves the aforementioned givens just open enough for difference to linger for givens to arise for examination in examination.

Writer and critic from Hungary.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store