Yaling Jiang
Dec 15, 2020

Will 2021 be the year Cyberpunk style takes over China?

With the just-released video game Cyberpunk 2077 booming in popularity among China’s youngsters, will the once-underground cyberpunk style soon become mainstream?

Photo: Mr. Goldhand.
Photo: Mr. Goldhand.

Last week’s launch of the video game Cyberpunk 2077 stirred up enthusiasm among China’s youngsters, and it has turned cyberpunk from a subculture trend to a mainstream one almost overnight.

The latter half of 2020 has set a tone for China that is disconnected from the rest of the world, and the need for escapism is continuing to grow. This development is good for the youth-oriented brands that have already tapped into the trend.

That list includes Balenciaga, which just released its latest Fall 2021 collection in the form of the video game, and local sportswear brand Li-Ning, which has a cyberpunk-themed collaboration in the pipeline: a collaboration with Sorayama, a Japanese illustrator known for his detailed portrayal of female robots.

The trade publication PC Games reported that Polish game-maker CD Projekt’s long-awaited game received more pre-orders from China than anywhere else in the world. In this adventure-driven game, players can “customize a character’s cyberware, skillset, and playstyle,” and roam a futuristic city to find an implant that holds the key to immortality. The game’s English version was anchored by movie star Keanu Reeves, while the Chinese version has been localized.

The takeaway

The WeChat account GQ Lab quipped today that “if you haven’t seen Cyberpunk 2077 flooding your screen, it means you are not young anymore.” The spread of Cyberpunk 2077 has proven so unstoppable that many non-gamers are planning to buy new Xboxes for it, according to local media reports.

As Jing Daily previously reported, the cyberpunk style has unexpectedly gone mainstream in China’s post-COVID fashion scene. Chinese fashion lovers have seen the industry’s September magazine issues bearing the theme on their covers and in various advertorials. Now, with the spread of Cyberpunk 2077, the style is likely to enter China’s mainstream.

With China’s ongoing travel restrictions, young people are eagerly looking for the next domestic holiday destination or niche sport to try. Surprisingly, Cyberpunk 2027 has provided the escapism they so desperately need.

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