Alright, here’s something I barely clocked after 30 hours with Phantom Liberty and now can’t unsee: they gave Johnny Silverhand a got dang reverse facelift. Digital Keanu Reeves is just that much more craggy and aged now, looking less like a Keanu Reeves mannequin and more like the man himself.
I thought I detected something a little more wolfish in my brain boy companion as I made my way through Phantom Liberty, but the difference really pops in those rare scenes where Johnny takes off those big ole’ aviator glasses of his, especially in a side-by-side comparison like this one from SynthPotato on Twitter.
Image 1 of 2Smooth Johnny. (Image credit: SynthPotato, CD Projekt)Rough Johnny. (Image credit: SynthPotato, CD Projekt)
Doesn’t pre-2.0 Johnny look a little… smooth? PC Gamer hardware editor Jorge Jimenez suggested the OG model looks like a really good RPG character creator dupe of Keanu, and that’s going to haunt me.
To my eye, it looks mostly like the texture work around Johnny’s eyes has been touched up—he kind of got the reverse of what most beauticians are going for, with dark circles under his eyes and a more furrowed brow. Johnny Silverhand forgot to do his makeup and looks 10 years older, but you know what? I think he’s still beautiful.
Lest you think it’s just one unflattering shot, here’s the same scene in different lighting from a 2077 longplay by YouTuber Lacry—that’s definitely Smooth Johnny in the older version of Cyberpunk they’re playing. In certain lighting Smooth Keanu stands up a bit better to scrutiny. But still, I think all in all this is a welcome change.
Check out new Johnny in the header image above vs. another screencap of Smooth Johnny taken from that longplay. Both are from the same scene, though admittedly YouTube compression isn’t doing Smooth Johnny any favors. Still, you can definitely see the added detail.
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)
I have one more, crucial, unanswered question though: did they change Silverhand’s terrible Uncanny Valley armpit hair, too? Something about the way it was rendered was not right. I don’t mean to body shame, but Johnny, my man, keep those wings down brother.
I have about 5-10 hours of gameplay in my new Cyberpunk save to reach a guaranteed pits-out moment though, so my query remains unresolved at this time.
I said wings down, soldier! (Image credit: CD Projekt Red)