Countdown to the Dark Future: Mike Pondsmith
Each day this year, we have celebrated the impending arrival of the real year 2020 with a fact about the Cyberpunk universe. We call it Countdown to the Dark Future.
Cyberpunk 2020. Actual 2020. Get it?
Technically, the Countdown to the Dark Future finished yesterday, but the dawn of 2020 is too special to let pass without some final thoughts from the boss. And so, here’s a little bonus content. An extra day of Countdown and a note from Mike Pondsmith welcoming you to the Dark Future.
Welcome to MY time choombas. Welcome to the Year 2020.
You may have noticed the cars don’t fly yet. But we have tiny boxes that can reach out across the world and cause robotic slaves to do our bidding. We shape metals and plastics to our personal wills, and yes indeed, we make real cyberware we can put on our children.
So, it looks like I got that part right.
But we also have inherited other 2020 things. We have more guns and weapons than we know what we do, and people are shot down every day. There isn’t enough money, not enough food, never enough drugs (except for the corporate approved ones). Our world is running on the edge of self-destruction from so many sources it’s an extinction roulette. And the Mega Corps do rule almost everything, from the stuff we buy on the vast consensual hallucination we call the Internet, to the entertainment we swallow like a braindance on stims, to our actual identities and scraps of personal privacy.
So, looks like I got THAT stuff right too.
From 1986 to now has been a long, long road. Gotta admit that I never thought we would all be running the Mean Streets together this long. And I sure never expected that the floodgates to the world of Night City would be open–no–kicked down–by a crew of hotshot video game devs who grew up playing Cyberpunk 2020. It’s been a great ride so far, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of millions of you, especially the RTG Crew and Family. Thank you–Dave, Will, Scott, Colin, Clive, Fritz, Derek, Mark, Dave, Mike, Chris, Benjamin, Matt, Bruce, Ed and (of course) Lisa. And that’s not counting the new generation of RTG; Cody, James, Jay, Jaye, J (man, can’t you guys get your own names!), Aron, Fran–and back for a rematch, Dave again. All of these people (and many more than this missive allows) have made all the fun, craziness and adventures we have shared over three decades, and which, thanks to the work of the esteemed J Gray, you have been given a guided tour for 365 days.
Glad you had fun. The ride is only gonna get wilder when 2077 ships. Brace for impact, choombas.
And one last thing.
When I wrote Cyberpunk back in the day, the idea was to show a dark mirror of the world we have been shaping since the 1980s. It was a warning, yes, but I also made all of you the heroes of this dystopian world. You weren’t there to be ground underfoot like Rick Deckard, or exploited and enslaved like Roy Batty. You were there to grab the wheel, steal the power, break the strangleholds of the corrupt and gun down the thugs they sent to crush you. You were, and still are, the heroes of the Cyberpunk Dark Future. I’ve shown you a way. It’s up to you to use it.
Go into this next decade fearlessly, savagely, cleverly, recklessly. It will fall to you and those like you, to face down the megacorps, the corrupt politicians, the thieves of privacy, honor and freedom itself and make our Dark Future a better one.
You can do this. I know you can.
Because in the real year 2020, YOU ARE CYBERPUNK.
Thank you !
I’ve bought the English re-edition of CP2020, the one based on the Italian edition with Parente’s illustrations, in freshly post-Communist Poland of 1995 , as a mere 13-year old, the only one in my social circles who could actually read and understand it. My first own RPG system and I was hooked. I still have what remains of the book after all the use it’s seen in my youth.
A quarter of a century down the road, we are there, 2020 has arrived and it is dark indeed. Thank you for the warning, Mike. We’ve been preparing. We got this.
Now it’s time to take our world back.