Recently CD Projekt Red released a Russian-centric episode of their Night City Wire web series. In this episode we get new and deeper details about the characters of Jackie Welles and Johnny Silverhand, a behind-the-scenes look at voiceover actors’ jobs for the Russian Cyberpunk 2077 localization and we also got to see Night City from yet another perspective!
A special Russian version of the Night City Wire web series was released recently which talks primarily about the Russian localization of the game. I don’t speak Russian, but thankfully the YouTube video had full captions, which helped me (and will help you too) understand everything.
In this episode we learned a lot of new interesting details about some of the main characters and cast of the game as well as the Night City itself. Let me tell you about them!
New look at Braindance with Judy and Maelstrom HQ scenes
The episode started with a cinematic scene of V speaking to Judy Alvarez, who runs the braindance suite at Lizzie’s Bar. She is a pro when it comes to BDs.
The scene was the same one shown in a previous Wire episode in English. V converses with Judy and enters a Braindance session to follow the final steps of a gangster as he robs a store and gets killed by his fellow right after that.
All the voices this time around were provided by the Russian actors and were used to demonstrate the localization’s unique approach to each character and persona in the game.
I was surprised to read in the comments under the video from Russian fans of the game that they like the English version better. Although I was not able to understand the speech without the captions, I thought the Russian actors did a perfect job with the characters we saw and heard in the clip.
The main issue is not the actors’ performance, though. As Youtube user Panther Modern explained it “Russian dub is wonderful, the actors are amazingly good, but IMO Russian language does not correlate with this universe“. I am interested to hear more Russian VULKK.com readers and what they think of the Cyberpunk 2077 localization version in their own language.
Near the end we saw the scene in which V and Jackie visit the Maelstrom gang‘s headquarters in an attempt to pick up peacefully a MT0D12 Spider Bot. This was first shown in 2018, during the first gameplay demo of Cyberpunk 2077. It was also recently shown at the Tokyo Game Show last month.
What I loved the most is how much the graphics have changed in this scene. The direct comparison between the footage from the Russian Night City Wire episode and the Tokyo Game Show compared to the two years old one we saw first is mind-blowing. The two extra years of development show from every detail of this clip.
Jackie, the family man
Jackie Welles is one of the first companions that will accompany V in his/her early journey. Jackie is of a Mexican descent and is always upbeat and enthusiastic. Jackie helps V in all three original Lifepaths.
Evelina Novikova, director for the Russian voice cast, shared interesting insights about Jackie’s character. Voicing him in Russian as a Mexican would sound silly, so a different approach was chosen by hiring actor Ivan Porodnov, who gave a deep voice to the Russian version of Jackie. Evelina pointed out that if an actor attempts to speak with a fake accent, this almost always shows up and often ruins the whole scene.
The same approach as with Jackie’s non-Mexican accent for the Russian localization was also taken for conversations and situations in several other segments of the game where, for example, a certain word-play is impossible to directly translate from English to Russian (and other languages often), something else replaces it that has similar meaning, but makes better sense as you watch, listen, play.
Evelina also shared that Jackie is her favorite character in the game. From what we have seen so far I have to admit that I myself also tend to enjoy his presence. He’s got an interesting, enthusiastic and upbeat behavior style. What better way to pass the time in the “worst city in America” than to have such a funny and optimistic child-like guy accompanying you?
Jackie is Evelina’s favorite character for another big reason. He is the only one in the game that is confirmed to be involved with a family. Jackie, the family man. Imagine that? None of the rest of the main characters have a family, she said.
CD Projekt Red already described in a previous video that they view Night City as a main character in the game. It’s a living and breathing world that should completely consume you and make you believe you are part of it, not just exploring a fictional location in a video game.
This statement is supported in the Russian Night City Wire episode where the city is described as the first authentic city in a video game. There are thousands of unique dialogues recorded for all sorts of random and scripted occasions as you explore and meet different characters around you that help create this unique atmosphere.
The city is not only a character on its own, but a villain one at times., according to Egor Vasiliev, who gave his voice to the male V. Julia Gorokhova, female Russian V, completes the picture describing the city as an “awful place to live in”. But then again, as V told us in the E3 2018 trailer, everybody still wants to live here!
There are a number of characters in Night City that will will only ever speak their own languages, be it Japanese, Russian, Spanish or something else. These characters are voiced over by their original actors in the original languages in all localizations in the game. Yet another element that creates a deeper level of immersion when you play the game.
Johnny is a jerk, but you will love him
Johnny Silverhand is a fictional character, created for and in the Cyberpunk universe. He supposedly died in 2023 during a nuke incident in the City Center of Night City and was reportedly killed by a famous cyborg named Adam Smasher. Johnny’s body was never found, though. So, “Where is Johnny?”
Johnny was a legendary singer. He had his own rock band, called Samurai, which split in 2008. Did you know that the band Refused actually recorded a full album for the game. It is going to be releasedofficialy as well.
Johnny is the character that V will spent the most time with. The Rockerboy is now a ghostly part of V’s cyberware system, acting as your guide to he city and will be with you for the better part of your journey.
In the English version of Cyberpunk 2077 Johnny is voiced by Keanu Reeves, who recently starred as himself in an awesome and very inspiring Cyberpunk 2077 commercial.
In the Russian version of Johnny is voiced by actor Ilya Bledny. Evelina confirmed the immense challenge that she had to overcome by casting the right person. Keanu has such a distinctive diction and prononciation that nobody else could ever copy him. So, the Russian team went again in another direction in an attempt to diversify the “Russian Johnny” from Keanu’s Johnny. Whether they succeeded, I would love to hear from any Russian speaking reader!
Evelina confirmed that Keanu’s Johnny Silverhand is not John Wick, he is not Neo from the Matrix. He is a completely different person with a totally unique story from Keanu’s previous best roles. The actor succeeded in finding yet another self to share with his new character, said Evelina.
What’s very interesting to learn is that Johnny is described by the Russian voice-cast team as kind of a jerk and a douche. As you play through the game’s story, however, we “will grow very fond of him”, said Ilya and confirmed that “he’s one hell of a cool dude”. Yes, he is.
Johnny is a very rich, unique and complex character, not just the Rockerboy we see in the trailers. “He stands out from the crowd and makes the players feel for him”, explained Evelina and added “even bastards like him merit compassion”.
Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the original Cyberpunk table-top game, described Johnny as a “not a good guy”. Simple because he is one of the lead characters in the game and because is played by Keanu, doesn’t make him good.
Mike also shared an advise to all ladies, fans of Johnny to stay away from him. He is a person, who got his ex-girlfriend to help him help his new girlfriend. Johnny is going to certainly mess up your life if you engage in a relationship with him, confirmed Mike.
Cyberpunk 2077 will be available in ten different fully voiced languages and in a few more with subtitles. Bulgarian is not among them, but… I never even expected it. How do you feel about the game’s localizations? Are you planning to play it in a different than English voice or subtitles?
Cyberpunk 2077 is coming out on November 19, 2020. It will be available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. Later the game will receive an update to provide support all of the latest features of the new consoles Playstation 4 and Xbox Series X.
The game will support everything you can imagine possible on PC on release – HDR, DLSS, RTX. The PC System requirements are strangely low enough, but do not be fooled. If your hardware is not of the latest generation you will most likely not be able to see the game as we all see it now on the latest demo gameplay clips and trailers.
At the moment the full staff over at CD projekt Red that is working on the game is in an overdrive mode, also known as Crunch mode. Whether this is a good or bad thing, you can judge for yourself. I shared some thoughts of mine in my Cyberpunk 2077 goes Gold news story.
Check out the full video of the Russian Night City Wire episode below:
Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City Wire Episode 4 will release on October 15, Thursday. It will reveal new details about the vehicles you will be able to drive, pilot and use. New gameplay and more will also be shown.
“The 4th episode of Night City Wire is coming next Thursday, October 15 at 6PM CEST! This time, we’ll go into details about the looks, sounds, and specs of #Cyberpunk2077 vehicles. As usual, you can expect new gameplay footage, announcements, and more!”