Cyberpunk 2077’s story involved many returning characters from the pen-and-paper RPGs, including cyborg hitman Adam Smasher.
Cyberpunk 2077 is due for release in December, over 8 years after the games official announcement. The upcoming sci-fi RPG is one of the most hotly anticipated titles of the last decade, and has attracted star power from Keanu Reeves to Grimes to play characters in Night City.
Keanu Reeves will be playing Johnny Silverhand, a rockerboy rebel from the original Cyberpunk pen-and-paper RPGs and one of the main recurring characters in the franchise who appears to be returning as some kind of digital ghost. There’s another character who will be returning in Cyberpunk 2077, however: Adam Smasher. He is one of the strangest NPCs in the story, and if Johnny and Adam ever meet in the upcoming game, they’re sure to have some old scores to settle. After all, it was Adam who killed Johnny to begin with.
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From Street Rat to Cyborg
Adam Smasher was born some time in the late 20th century, and lived his early life as a street thug in of the Cyberpunk gangs of New York. When his gang was wiped out by the Army, Adam–ever the opportunist–enlisted, though he would be discharged several years later for poor conduct and would return to New York as a gun-for-hire. For a time, this suited Adam who spent his days chasing tech, guns, drugs, and women. Fortunately for the city of New York–and unfortunately for the young Adam Smasher–all that was about to come to an end.
During a job gone wrong, Adam was near-mortally wounded by a rocket attack which left his physical body nearly completely obliterated. Fortunately for Adam–and unfortunately for the rest of the world–a private benefactor from one of Cyberpunk‘s megacorporations had taken note of his ruthlessness and thought that he might be useful. Adam was given a choice: become a cyborg Solo–a half-machine hitman–or die. What was left of Adam’s body was augmented with mechanical parts until he was ready to stand up and kill again.
Adam Smasher’s reputation for brutality as a cyborg eclipsed his reputation as a street thug. Though it’s not clear which corporation originally helped bring Adam back from the brink of death, the cyborg continued to take jobs from anybody with the Eurodollars to pay his fee. By the 2010s, Adam began to consider Morgan Blackhand his rival, another famous Solo in the world of Cyberpunk. Blackhand was famous for bringing in his targets alive and for his deft pragmatism. His dislike for the newer Solos like the cyborg Smasher and his unwillingness to face Adam in a one-on-one fight only stoked the rivalry in the eyes of Adam Smasher.
Adam Smasher, Arasaka Agent
Arasaka, one of the main megacorporations in Night City, hired Adam Smasher in 2022 to fight as a corporate mercenary in the Fourth Corporate War. Knowing that Morgan Blackhand had been hired by Militech, the choice came easily to Adam.
On August 20, 2023, a team lead by Morgan Blackhand and Johnny Silverhand entered the Arasaka Tower in Night City in an attempt to steal or destroy the Arasaka Secure Database. Their plan involved setting off a pocket nuke in the building, with the target area designed to absorb most of the damage and contain it to the Arasaka Tower itself.
However, the interference of Adam Smasher and other Arasaka agents led to the death of Johnny Silverhand, and the premature detonation of the pocket nuke on the 120th floor of the Araska Tower. Much of central Night City was destroyed in the event, known as the Night City Holocaust. As the rest of the Militech team was extracted from the top of the building, Adam Smasher and Morgan Blackhand finally began the duel Adam had been waiting for for years. Right as they began to fight, the pocket nuke denotated, and the building collapsed from underneath them. Over half a million people died in the explosion.
It’s unknown whether or not Morgan Blackhand survived the detonation of the pocket nuke, but Adam Smasher certainly did. While the exact details of his survival currently remain unknown, it is known that during his final confrontation with Blackhand, he was wearing Arasaka “DaiOni” power armor, among the best power armor available for purchase at that time, specifically designed to interlock with the cyborg’s body. It is possible that this power armor shielded him from the blast, or at least left enough of his body recoverable by Araska that he was able to be revived.
Adam Smasher will feature in Cyberpunk 2077, apparently still working for the Arasaka corporation. Johnny Silverhand will also return, though seemingly as a kind of digital ghost. It’s possible Johnny is now living as an AI using the same technology captured by Arasaka from his then-girlfriend Alt Cunningham, who developed a way for netrunners to fully detach from their bodies and enter the Net.
No matter how Johnny’s mind survived, he likely won’t look kindly at the man who killed him and half a million others that night in 2023. Between his mostly-cyborg body, metal jaw, and pale, bald head, Adam Smasher likely won’t be too hard to spot in a crowd. Whether Keanu Reeves‘ Johnny Silverhand will be able to avenge Blackhand–or whether Blackhand returns to haunt Adam–remains to be seen. Adam is just one of a returning cast of characters from the Cyberpunk pen-and-paper RPG, all of whom have interconnected lives and stories. Even for fans who are just joining the franchise with the upcoming CD Projekt Red game, Adam Smasher is likely to be a memorable presence, uneasy ally, or a relentlessly brutal foe.
Cyberpunk 2077 arrives December 10, 2020, for PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.
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