Shortly after Cyberpunk 2077 was announced in 2012, CD Projekt revealed that Braindance would be included in the game. No details of how the Braindance would function the game were revealed until episode 1 of Night City Wire on 25 June 2020.
What is Braindance?
Braindance allows and individual to relive the experiences of another individual including sight, touch, smell, and audio via a special device. Braindance was originally developed for therapy and prisoner rehabilitation but by 2077 it was being used for entertainment. Games, adult experience, and what are called Black Braindances (XBDs) which can include death. These extreme death experiences are called Flatliner Braindances. Some inhabitants use these to experience the thrill of death but they are also used for investigation purposes.
Braindance is a major form of entertainment in the world of Cyberpunk 2077. However, more extreme experiences also come with the danger of addiction as users seek their next adrenaline hit. Braindance addiction is a problem in Night City.
Recording and Viewing
There are two sides the Braindance, the recording and the viewing. Anyone who has a Braindance implant installed will have their actions recorded. Some Braindances are scripted like movies while others are real life recorded experiences.
Once recorded onto the implant, the experience can be viewed back with what is called the BD Player.
Where to view Braindances
In Night City there are Braindance arcades where you can go to experience a Braindance. Other areas include bars, and for the wealthy, a home setup.
In Cyberpunk 2077, XBD experiences are going to be used for investigative purposes and also help drive the game’s story. Players will be able to put on a device and watch as a scene unfolds. There is complete control over how a Braindance experience is viewed. Players can move around the scene in third-person view.
Controls are available to rewind, fast-forward, pause, and move around the Braindance scene. With this level of control, the scene can be fully investigated thoroughly. Listening to audio from within the scene, looking for clues in the environment that may shed more light on the situation, and checking for heat signatures. These are all methods used to help understand a scene.
Why is it in the game?
CD Projekt thought hard about how they could include a Braindance mechanic to the game. They eventually settled on using it as a storytelling tool instead of it being a novelty experience players may encounter briefly in Night City. A braindance gives players an insight into the lives of people living in Night City further immersing the player into the game world.
CD Projekt has not stated how many Braindances are available in the game. However, it’s expected these will be accessible at key points in the story to help drive the narrative. It’s not clear whether there will be Braindances purely for entertainment purposes outside of the main plotline, but it would seem likely. Cyberpunk lore mentions the addictiveness as well as the dangers of a Braindance, especially unregulated ones created for the black market. No doubt this will play a part in Cyberpunk 2077.
Judy Alvarez is Night City’s premier braindance technician, heavily respected for her skills, innovation and creativity. Motivated to change things for the better she teamed with The Mox and currently works for them as a BD technician and editor.