Sifting through emails and data shards in Cyberpunk 2077, I was surprised to come across a text bemoaning the effects of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism? In 2077? They’re still talking about that?

It’s jarring because, while Night City has elements of a neoliberal dream/nightmare, in other ways it’s far removed from anything definably neoliberal. Also because in reality today people are already questioning whether neoliberalism is becoming obsolete. Surging right-wing populism in many countries at the very least signifies a mutation of neoliberal ideas, as it relies on cultural discord to prop up the fading power of its economic promises.

Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077’s…

The strangest thing about life in Dontnod’s game is the neoliberal logic of individual responsibility

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[This essay was funded through Patreon under the ZEAL project. ZEAL aims to provide high quality criticism of rarely discussed games and comics, and showcase the talents of exciting new writers and artists. For details and information on how to donate, please check out our Patreon, where you can also get exclusive video content for $5+!]

This article contains major spoilers for Life Is Strange Season 1.

At the beginning of each episode of Life Is Strange the same message appears: ‘Life Is Strange is…

Jon Bailes

Freelance critic and author of Ideology and the Virtual City (Zero Books, 2019). PhD from UCL. Culture, neoliberalism, ideology and video games. @JonBailes3

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