A CD Projekt Red artist has defended an image she created for Cyberpunk 2077 which has ignited accusations of transphobia.
The image took some spotting – it appeared in a still from Cyberpunk 2077 pulled out for use in an advertisement for nVidia’s ray-tracing technology. It took the form of an in-game ad itself – for a fictional drink called ChroManticore that comes in: “16 flavours you’d love to mix.” It has caused controversy because it consists of a “hypersexualized” image apparently of a woman, who clearly also possesses a penis, accompanied by the tagline: “Mix it up.”
Unfortunately, CD Projekt Red upset the trans community in August 2018, with a feeble attempt at a joke on Cyberpunk 2077’s Twitter account, as detailed then by Polygon. So the company is perceived as having transphobic form, and objections to the Cyberpunk 2077 poster have been raised on social media.
Polygon tracked down the artist who created the poster, Kasia Redesiuk. She pointed out that the image is supposed to be a commentary on corporate rapacity: “Personally, for me, this person is sexy. I like how this person looks. However, this model is used — their beautiful body is used — for corporate reasons. They are displayed there just as a thing, and that’s the terrible part of it.”
Redesiuk continued: “Cyberpunk 2077 is a dystopian future where mega-corporations dictate everything. They shove products down their throats. They create those very aggressive advertisements that use, and abuse, a lot of people’s needs and instincts. So, hypersexualization is apparent everywhere, and in our ads there are many examples of hypersexualized women, hypersexualized men, and hypersexualized people in between. This is all to show that hypersexualization in advertisements is just terrible. It was a conscious choice on our end to show that in this world — a world where you are a cyberpunk, a person fighting against corporations. That [advertisement] is what you’re fighting against.”
Redesiuk added that offending the trans community was the opposite of what she meant: “I would say it was never the intention to offend anyone. However, with this image of an oversexualized person, we did want to show how oversexualization of people is bad. And that’s it. I think that sexy bodies are sexy. Full disclosure: I love female bodies. I love male bodies. I love bodies in between. This is who I am. However, I hate it when it’s used commercially.”
For more information about Cyberpunk 2077, in the run-up to its April 16, 2020 launch, and to pre-order the game, visit its website.