The long-awaited Keanu Reeves-fronted game Cyberpunk 2077 just received its ESRB rating, and predictably, it's M for Mature. No surprises there. But it's the explanation of the rating that's raising a couple of eyebrows -- namely, that you can customize your character's genitals.
On the surface, it's easy to just dismiss this as being another feature for pervy gamers out there. But, truthfully, it's a monumental moment for gaming, not only as an art form but on the grounds of social progress. Because you know who's happiest about this development? The trans community.
This is really the perfect vehicle for trans inclusivity, too. Keanu Reeves' connection to The Matrix, which was helmed by two trans women (and is a hell of a watch when viewed through "a lens of transness"), lends an air of authenticity to Cyberpunk 2077. Meanwhile, the customization feature gives everyone a chance to feel seen in the games they're playing. It's not just peens and vajayjays either; you can put in any combination of butts and boobs to go with them too. This is going to be the most time anyone will spend on a character customization screen in practically the entire history of gaming.
We realize that there are already people ready to jump down to the comments about, "How this shouldn't be such a big deal," and asking, "Why are we politicizing this anyway?" The answer: This stuff was unthinkable 15 years ago, and we should celebrate this type of progress. Custom dick sliders that controlled dong size were revolutionary in Conan Exiles a few years ago, only for the devs to eventually take the feature out. Now, we might just be a couple of years away from being able to create characters with full control of the number of veins on their cocks and/or the shape of their labia lips.
The history of sex in video games wasn't always as great as the Mass Effect romance options. Once upon a time, some kid's grandmother filed a class-action lawsuit over Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" hidden sex minigame. That was 2005. If we dig around a little further back to 2003's Second Life, the idea of sexy accessories was fringe stuff.
To quote this Digg piece on what was happening in the ruins of Second Life in 2018:
"We visited a red light district. There, one could buy 3D models of genitals to attach to their avatar. One vendor offered a free sample, called the Demo Dick. It is limited in that it is purely cosmetic; it can't get erect. I immediately installed one on my avatar.
With my new Demo Dick, it seemed appropriate to visit a nude beach. We spotted a couple making love on an outdoor bed. We watched."
We live in a world now where every gamer is unique, and gaming is not a monolith. It's high time our characters' genitals reflected that. Thank you to Cyberpunk 2077 for making that happen.
Top Image: Cyberpunk 2077/CD Projekt