CD Project Red's lead quest designer Pawel Sasko has recently given an interview, where he discussed how the cooperation with Keanu Reeves came about, the importance of Johnny Silverhand as a character, the extent of his participation, etc.
Interestingly, Keanu seemed to be dead certain that the reaction he got was just fan love for CDPR and Cyberpunk 2077, and while there was plenty of love to be felt for the dev, Sasko insisted this was all Keanu.
"I think he's really the only human on the earth that can walk onto a stage and do absolutely nothing but look at the people and just make everyone absolutely lose their shit", he told Gamespot, and it's hard to argue that having seen CDPR's E3 spectacle.
Thankfully, this was no PR ploy and Keanu's participation far exceeds everything we've seen so far, unless you're one of the lucky ones to have seen the longer demo.
In Cyberpunk 2077, he plays Johnny Silverhand, Rockerboy and frontman of the band Samurai, whose appearances stretch as far back as Cyberpunk 2013. In Cyberpunk 2020, he dies in Arasaka Towers but with his body never recovered, CDPR saw an opening.
"Johnny Silverhand is absolutely one of the biggest characters in the game. Like the only one bigger is V, the main character of the game. Like Johnny Silverhand is a second [main character], and the really important one. He is there throughout most of the game; visible and present and interacting with the player in a really meaningful way", he said.
Sasko acknowledged but dismissed the comparisons to Portal's GLaDOS and Halo's Cortana, claiming that Johnny's character is much, much more, but that explaining more would ruin the storyline.
"[Johnny]'s a protagonist and antagonist at the same time. He has his own agenda", Sasko said and added, "He is dedicated and he has his own goals and the thing is that he's not this passenger that is accompanying you, he tries to control you, he tries to impact you in very different ways and it's really the player's decision when it comes to what extent."
CD Projekt Red
As for cooperation, Sasko claims that working with Keanu has been a breeze and while he may not have been overly big on games, he's a gamer at heart and his suggestions have contributed to the character immensely.
Additionally, Keanu's humble demeanour made everything much easier. "He can take feedback. He's humble. He's not trying to be a star or be someone of a huge caliber. It's just really good to work with him", Sasko said.
You can find Sasko's full interview with Gamespot here.