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Cyberpunk 2077 bans sexually explicit Keanu Reeves feature created by fan: 'The moral thing to do'

Jonathan Lee
·3-min read

Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt banned an unofficial mod that allowed players to have sex with Johnny Silverhand, an integral character in the game played by Keanu Reeves.

Amateur mods have long been a part of video games, particularly for open-world titles such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In fact, Skyrim has nearly 60,000 mods which range from improved visuals, improved UI and even brand new characters and quests.

Modders have also been hard at work, adding new content and fixing bugs in Cyberpunk 2077 through mods. But CD Projekt decided one of them went too far.

A modder who goes by Catmino uploaded a mod to NexusMods which allowed players to have sex with Johnny Silverhand, the flamboyant rockstar mercenary played by Keanu Reeves. Catmino’s mod has since been taken down from NexusMods (thanks, Eurogamer).

Credit: CD Projekt, Catmino (NexusMods), Kien (YouTube)
Credit: CD Projekt, Catmino (NexusMods), Kien (YouTube)
Credit: CD Projekt, Catmino (NexusMods), Kien (YouTube)
Credit: CD Projekt, Catmino (NexusMods), Kien (YouTube)

The mod itself was pretty simple. Catmino simply used the existing joytoys (or sex workers) in the game and replaced the model with Johnny Silverhand’s, who would then be present in the sex montage. They were able to do this by using another mod, CP77 TOOLS, which allows users to dig around the game’s debug options and more.

“All it actually took was unpacking the archives, swapping one desired file with the other, renaming them and then doing some hex editing,” Catmino told Eurogamer. “And finally repacking it.”

Here is what CD Projekt had to say regarding Catmino’s mod, in a statement to PC Gamer:

“… when making fan content, creators have to make sure they’ve got permission from all the concerned parties (which might be people other than CD PROJEKT RED). For the characters we’ve invented for the game, we broadly permit you to tweak the game at will and just have fun. When it comes to models of real people whom we’ve asked to participate in the game, we kindly ask you refrain from using them in any situation that might be found offensive if you don’t have their explicit permission.”

A very understandable and laudable position, which also brings up an interesting ethical question regarding consent and fictional characters. Rule 34 will always apply to every fictional character, especially in video games, because the internet’s horniness is a relentless horizon. The right to make saucy content based on anything you want is also protected by the First Amendment.

But what’s right and what’s legal is not always the same, as users on Reddit debated.

“Unlike other characters, Johnny is based on Keanu, a real person, so totally understandable why they would want to shut it down as it can cause legal complications or harm relationships with Keanu,” a Reddit user wrote.

“Sure, might be the moral thing to do,” another wrote in reply. “On the other hand, now the entire internet knows about its existence. And let’s be honest, those modfiles [sic] will always be around..”

“I’m just mad I didn’t think of the ideas myself,” another wrote.

This debate is, appropriately, an extremely cyberpunk topic. We live in a world where deepfakes are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and common, especially in the form of malicious pornography.

Keanu would have to give Cyberpunk 2077 his explicit (pun unintended) consent for these sex mods based on his likeness to thrive. Until then, the best that thirsty players can hope for is to play through Johnny’s own sex sequences (from his point of view) with his various partners in the game.

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If you liked this story, check out the Death Stranding DLC that added free Cyberpunk 2077 content to the game, including Johnny Silverhand’s signature bionic arm.

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