Cyberpunk 2077 offers its players a wealth of possibilities: different lifepaths, a variety of weaponry, seemingly endless gear and cybernetic upgrades, and more. Perhaps most importantly, CD Projekt Red gifts us HOTTIES TO SMOOCH within their expansive dystopian tale. Patch after patch, we get a little bit more, including flirty texts and sleepovers with your beloved canon romances in the game: Kerry Eurodyne or Panam Palmer for male Vs, and River Ward or Judy Alvarez for female Vs. But there are too many hot people in Night City to keep limiting us to two babes per V (and pesky gender restrictions). Make the first DLC a full-blown dating simulator, you cowards! In the meantime here are some top contenders the game should absolutely let us seduce.
You’ll first bump into Claire Russell on a trip to the Afterlife, with best choom ever, Jackie Welles. She is immediately warm and charming as she tends bar, a low-effort stunner in her food/bev finest, armed with zero cybernetics—just a killer smirk. The next time you see her, she offers her condolences for (spoiler alert) the loss of Jackie, and lovingly places his drink on the menu per Night City tradition. Her tenderness with others’ grief has very specific roots.
In the side gig “The Beast in Me,” you spend a lot more time with Claire, taking on a street race tournament. High stakes street racing adds a certain kind of thrill, arguably inherently romantic with its danger level (see the deeply sensual undertones of The Fast and the Furious) but as Claire trusts you to drive she isn’t just handling the guns and navigational tips in the passenger seat. She cheers you on, getting a little testy with you if you need the extra kick in the can.
Over time, she opens up to you about why she has such “laser focus” for winning the races. Claire is a widow (sorry for her loss but hiiii single). She once did these trials with her late husband Dean, something of a driving prodigy who, like Claire, didn’t even rely on cybernetic enhancement for a competitive advantage.
Once you make finals, Claire takes you to a spot overlooking Night City—a spot she and Dean loved. They had been friends since before her gender transition, their friendship blossoming into something more when he brought her daffodils in the hospital after an operation. She opens up about the weight of grief, all the race has meant to her, her transition journey, and her readiness to move on to a new chapter of her life, unshadowed by the loss of her husband. And that new chapter should be about KISSING V!
Side note: if your Reflex attribute is high enough, you learn Claire was once willing to get some tech installed for her and Dean’s 15th anniversary. A fleshed-out romance (so to speak), involving a cybernetic implant to assist you in your final mission, could be one hell of a poignant thing.
Goro Takemura. Moody Ronin with a man bun. A refined gentleman, a foodie here at the end of the world, and—if I may say so—dadddyyyyyy. You’ll be graced with Goro’s presence for a minimum of seven quests; compared to our canon romances, that’s more than River, the same as Kerry (more if you consider Johnny flashbacks to be romantic, and many do), and only a few short of Judy and Panam.
It’s during a stakeout that this corporate shield babe tells you about himself. His childhood desperation to leave his home of Chiba-11 is what made him into a weapon. Those from Chiba-11 were groomed from a young age to look and behave their best with the end goal of being chosen for special programs with Arasaka, which of course means making them into corpo soldiers. This could be standard video game exposition but Takemura expands, confiding in you that he now misses the quiet life of his childhood. It offers a lot of parallels to any Merc or Solo. Doing what you have to do to keep from going hungry, getting duped along the way.
In the canon of the game, being misled and told half-truths is what places the Relic in your hands—and eventually your head—in the first place. But there are backstory parallels here for the Nomadic life path AND some pretty interesting Corpo implications. Furthermore, in divulging his own backstory, Goro trusts V with something huge: the truth of what happened to Jackie Welles’ body and his connection with the Relic program.
All that being said, this babe most of all makes you wonder if Cyberpunk 2077 was close to having Goro Takemura as a main romance option. In contrast with River, the other male offer for female Vs, the conversations with Goro are so much more in-depth! In the paltry amount of time you get with River on his three quests, there’s no real chance to get to know him on that level. When you compare it with our disgraced and dreamy bodyguard—buying you dinner, waking you up during a recon mission to see a little cat, the way you check in on one another, the evolution of texts from Bushido code to clear flirtation—River offers so little in comparison that it feels impossible CDPR weren’t planning a Takemura romance all along.
For most players, he dies during the gig “Search and Destroy,” which adds another layer of grief into Cyberpunk’s death-orbiting storytelling. There’s a way to save Goro if you ignore the minimap when it comes time to escape, so a more permanent love connection is possible and could even offer more to the Arasaka ending.
If fandom tells us anything, it’s that there are infinite ways you can have daddy issues. But this brand of daddy issue? So valid. A former boxer turned ripperdoc who takes care of you? That’s hot.
While Viktor Vektor’s warm comfort and generous loan only carry you through just after “The Heist,” you can stop into his shop to chat here and there. There’s plenty of potential to flesh out his fighting past, his motivations for remaining in Night City post boxing career, and the implications of his emails where he threatens unsavory gang members who insist upon his services, all while seemingly ignoring a job offer from Biotechnica scouts.
Romancing Viktor could offer a boon to gameplay, getting you those cybernetic surgical discounts and maybe tips on enemy gang upgrades that could add an element of strategy. There’s plenty of fighting in the “Beat on the Brat” quests, so why not get in some training seshes? If Biotechnica is scouting Viktor, that could easily turn into more gigs (and juicy Corpo side stories) for V. Viktor and V both have plenty of their own things going on, so this romance could add a tantalizing element of will they/won’t they (another fandom fave trope) as the game progresses.
Nomads: Saul Bright & Mitch Anderson
Saul is just as hot as Panam… Saul is just as indebted to you as Panam… maybe we should just kiss Saul! With a Saul romance, his death at the Tower—one of the most unsettling in the game—could have an even greater impact on V that could be expressed in a variety of story modes. There could even be a special ending where he lives, a la the “Rogue” and “Afterlife” endings. Natural and Ambition endings both happen in Nomad tribes all the time—it’s built right into the Nomad lifepath backstory with the end of the Bakker clan—so maybe V could even build a new family on an additional level, bidding the Aldecaldos a fond farewell to start Clan Bright.
And in a game that is arguably about how we go on after losing loved ones once you brush that spectacle of high tech/low life aside, there’s Mitch Anderson. Mitch trusts you to send Scorpion off the way he wanted, in the most bonkers way possible: setting a car on fire with Scorpion’s body inside and sending it over a cliff. A Nomadic Viking funeral. Many fans wondered if Mitch and Scorpion had been an item before the latter’s passing; recently, quest designer Pawel Sasko confirmed that early iterations of Mitch did include that he was interested in men. As the quest stands, Mitch gives you Scorpion’s good luck charm, a figurine that may or may not resemble a character from Mortal Kombat, as you depart. It’d be fairly easy for him to call you to meet for a special, intimate bonfire, where he gives you the token—and maybe some loving, too.
Hanako Arasaka is the new heir to all things Arasaka, holding our life in her hands at the end of Act II, and yet we have so little of her overall in Cyberpunk 2077. A romance option is the perfect way to get to know her better before we make our big choice regarding the Relic in Act III. It’s totally feasible to do it in a way where we’re never sure if she really trusts us or if we really trust her. “Star-crossed lovers” is always a captivating angle, with plenty of angst to be had in between.
Music is a crucial element of the game and in one of the game’s many shards, a biographical piece reveals that Hanako is classically trained, and very good. There’s even a piano behind her when you meet up in “Nocturne Op55N1” (and, yes, that quest title is referencing the Chopin piece). Piano practice could get awfully cute after, say, a mission to take down some of Yorinobu’s remaining allies. Blossoming affection could offer additional layers for Corpo Vs who may admire Hanako or find themselves a little starstruck in an Arasaka’s presence in spite of themselves.
As with Goro Takemura, there’s an opportunity to add weight to the ending OR to get a little bit of justice for Jackie Welles. If anyone can remove Jackie from the Relic program entirely and give him a proper burial, it’s Hanako Arasaka. She has both the access and the budget to do everything possible to make it right. The only question is: is she right for V?
Admittedly, Rogue does not have time for us. And the game does give us a moment of romance with her technically if you give Johnny the reins for a night to take the Queen of Night City to the drive-in cinema. Kissing Rogue may as well be a Shakespearean comedy, it’s so complex.
But what does Rogue think of V? If she didn’t develop a kind of respect for V—some might even say a fondness—no way would she risk what she does purely for Johnny’s memory. And hey, it could technically be a throuple for one magical night.
Rogue leaves you the Afterlife in The Sun ending, whether she survives her second round at Arasaka tower or not. A romance relationship with V could add on gigs that get into the nitty gritty of being a Fixer, instead of a Merc or Solo. With the Johnny angle, Rogue has someone who knows Johnny like she does, something she hasn’t had in years. This could even introduce theories about what happened to Johnny Silverhand’s body. Spicy as just theory, but why not use it to give us some more endings, eh?
Rogue is a stunner—mind, chromatic body, and soul. The legend of the Afterlife trusts us with her legacy. Now she can trust us with a big, fat smooch.
If Johnny isn’t romanceable then why am I feeling this emotional about a roller coaster? About dog tags? About oil fields? The trophy or achievement for stealing the Relic (you know, that little chip his engram lives on) is called “The Lovers.” Who made you do that, CDPR? It wasn’t us! Sure, the endings the game offers doesn’t let this romance have a happy ending and, well… you can’t exactly hit a home run with a projected consciousness that only exists in your noggin. But there could be acknowledgements! Maybe a very weird mirror date before the end of it all?
“Enemies to lovers” has long been a scorching hot trope and for a lot of us it just gets hotter when you can’t even Pride and Prejudice-style hand flex at one another because bae is on a cursed USB drive corrupting your synapses to a fatal degree, powerless to stop destroying you even if they get to the point that they want to. When Johnny takes you to the hotel and hands over his dog tags, he vows, “Wanna be clear—I will do you no wrong. When the time comes, it’ll be my life for yours…” Something so Mad Max: Fury Road Blood Transfusion and a Whispered Name about that.
Not every game needs romance. Plenty of games don’t have any at all! But Cyberpunk 2077 DOES, and, as a game constantly seeking to prove itself, they’d be fools not to take advantage of our sentimental hearts and their roster of absolute knockouts.
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