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Turns out Keanu Reeves never played Cyberpunk 2077

Despite what CD Projekt said, Johnny Silverhand is no gamer

Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077 Image: CD Projekt Red

A new interview with The Matrix Resurrections stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, conducted by Polygon’s sister site The Verge, has been ricocheting around the Internet for a variety of reasons. One is Reeves’ laughing skepticism about NFTs and how easy it is to reproduce their images. Another reason is Reeves’ chemistry with Moss as they discuss tech — he the wide-eyed visionary, she the unsure skeptic.

But there’s another moment that caught folks’ attention: Reeves’ brief admission that he never played the game in which he starred, Cyberpunk 2077, which launched a year ago. First spotted on Reddit by a now-deleted account, the admission directly contradicts statements made by CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński in late 2020.

During the interview, which promotes Epic Games’ playable Unreal Engine 5 demo The Matrix Awakens, the conversation turns to other games in which the two have portrayed characters. There’s a brief mention of Moss’ time in the Mass Effect series, and Reeves mentions that Warner Bros. “is like ‘Where’s the ball?’ Oh, you mean the ball you dropped 15 years ago?” in response to questions about another Matrix video game.

But when asked if he plays video games himself, he offers a quick, direct, one-word answer: “No.”

When asked in a follow up, even Cyberpunk? He responds: “No. I’ve seen demonstrations but I’ve never played.”

Now, compare that with what Kiciński told investors in CD Projekt Red’s third quarter earnings call. Translated by Seeking Alpha, a question from an unknown source emerges late in the call: Has Keanu played the game? Kiciński says, “Yes. Yes. He played the game. But as far as I know haven’t finished yet. So — but definitely, he played the game and he loves it.”

Polygon has reached out to CD Projekt Red for comment.

Reeves playing the game made headlines at the time. TheGamer, (which spotted the contradiction, first noted in 2020 that it was “a rewarding and rather meta thought to picture Reeves interacting with his in-game character Johnny Silverhand.”

If Reeves had played the game before launch, he might have noticed what gamers worldwide discovered: the game was riddled with launch bugs that lasted well into 2021. The flaws were so egregious that Sony took the step of offering full refunds to those who bought the game digitally, as well as pulling it from their store. The game returned to the Sony store in July 2021.

Reeves is definitely no luddite — in the interview, he gleefully embraces the idea of Johnny Silverhand being wanted for sex by Cyberpunk players, and finds it “awesome,” in several possible connotations of the word, that kids today reject the duality of real and fake offered by the first Matrix movie.

But he seemingly draws a line at playing video games. In his defense, Cyberpunk at launch wouldn’t have been a very good introduction.

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