Calm Down, Johnny – Cyberpunk’s Arasaka Ending Isn’t That Bad

After hours of getting to know the residents of Night City, restarting a few quests due to bugs, and shacking up with Panam, it was finally time. I had to evict Johnny Silverhand before V met his end to the thousandth Relic malfunction. With that came a crucial moment, one that can define an open-world RPG: I had to pick an ending.

Massive SPOILERS, of course.

Cyberpunk 2077’s ending kicks off with an offer from Hanako Arasaka: waltz into Arasaka Tower as her guest and testify to Yorinobu’s crimes. In return, you’ll get access to the one Mikoshi access point in Night City–the only tech that could possibly save V’s life. Johnny is, as always, immediately suspicious of this. His whole thing is hating corps, and he has a particular grudge against Arasaka. These conflicting ideas and motivations all come to a head during the rooftop scene, where you must choose how to tackle the final mission.

My actions led to three viable endings: take Hanako’s offer, let Johnny take control and storm Arasaka Tower like he did before, or call Panam to assault the Tower with a nomad army. (There’s also a suicide ending which is considered the bad end, and a secret ending I failed to unlock.) I went with Hanako. It’s the smartest choice, and yet the game went to a lot of trouble to make me feel guilty about it.

First there’s Johnny. His take on things was that going with Arasaka is selling out, and calling on the nomads would result in heavy casualties. His actual wording is that their deaths would weigh on V’s soul. He pushed to let him take on the tower with Rogue. Here’s the issue with that: Johnny tried that in the past, with Rogue, and died. Now he wanted to do it with even less time to prepare? No thanks.

Johnny did have one good point, though. As much as I would love to have Panam fighting by my side, the Aldecados were my new family. I didn’t want some pyrrhic victory where half the clan died to save V’s skin. That outcome would probably traumatize Panam, especially after her whole character arc was rediscovering her place with the family.

So where did that leave me? Working with Hanako Arasaka. A decision that I made clear through dialogue choices was a one-time thing. This wasn’t V signing a contract or marrying into the Arasaka family. It was a simply “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” arrangement. This is punctuated by the fact that I left Yorinobu to his fate so V could rush to Mikoshi. Who cares what happens to Arasaka? I got what I wanted.

My reward was Johnny berating me as his consciousness faded away. He gives a big speech about how the V he once knew is gone. That people are defined by their code, and V abandoned his. When I tried to part with Johnny as friends, he said he didn’t think we could be friends anymore. Excuse me?

After that’s done, V awakens in a lab to find that the mission was a success, in the loosest of terms. Yes, the Relic was removed and Johnny along with it. Yes, V is still alive and well. Except not really. You’re treated to a harrowing sequence of V being trapped in an Arasaka space lab. Isolated and without answers, V suffers repeating vague experiments and a strange altering of his reality. Meanwhile, you learn that the once-dead Saburo Arasaka stole Yorinobu’s body to take back the company. So not only is V losing his mind, but you also helped a tyrant regain power and possibly immortality.

The Arasaka ending is called the Devil ending, so this is all on point. I don’t take issue with the outcome–it reflects the grim nature of Cyberpunk perfectly. What gets me is the way the narrative treats this decision. Aside from Johnny’s wrath, it seems V’s actions push away his friends. Misty also has choice words for V, and several friends are suddenly too busy to chat on the holo. You work with Arasaka one time and suddenly V is left alone and labeled as a corpo sellout. I don’t buy it.

The Arasaka ending makes the most sense from a strategic standpoint. Use Hanako as much as she’s using you, and spare the deaths of any loved ones. So maybe chill, Johnny. We can still burn corpo shit later. Well, I can. You’re gone now. It’s still better than the ending where you take over V’s body and leave Panam on read.

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Sergio is the Lead News Editor for TheGamer. But usually he asks people to call him “Serg” because he wants to sound cool like the guy from System of a Down. He began as a convention reporter for FLiP Magazine and Albany Radio’s The Shaw Report to get free badges to Comic-Con. Eventually he realized he liked talking to game developers and discovering weird new indie games. Now he brings that love of weird games to TheGamer, where he tries to talk about them in clickable ways so you grow to love them too. When he’s not stressing over how to do that, he’s a DM, Cleric of Bahamut, cosplay boyfriend, and occasional actor.

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