‘Cyberpunk 2077’: Jackie Calling V "Jaina" Means Stereotypes Remain in 2077
In the recently released Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay trailer, the protagonist’s companion Jackie calls her “jaina” so much you might think it’s her name. But it’s not. His use — and overuse — of the term raises cultural concerns about the game’s depiction of race in the distant future. Stereotypes, it would seem, subsist in a transhumanist dystopia.
The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red released a 48-minute gameplay trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 on Tuesday, and in it, the protagonist — named “V” whether male or female — explores Night City and goes on missions with a fellow cyborg named Jackie. But he calls her “jaina” perhaps more often than he calls her “V.”
One complaint coming out of yesterday’s big reveal is that some of the voice acting in Cyberpunk 2077 skews towards some unfortunate stereotypes. In this case, Jackie comes off like a macho Latino man of the future, but he talks like a much more contemporary stereotype, speaking in a mix of Spanish and English.
“Jaina” specifically is a Spanish slang term commonly used by Chicanos, people from Mexico currently living in the United States. Pronounced “hyna,” the term jaina roughly translates to something like “chick” or “honey.” It’s a term of endearment sometimes used for a person’s girlfriend, but Jackie uses it more like a diminutive “honey” or “babe” rather than something more intimate.
“Hey honey, how about you shoot that guy in the face for me?” is the sort of thing he might say. And she’d probably do it.
This sort of paints Jackie as a gangster of Central or South American descent in a very stereotypical fashion. Will real-life 2077 look like this in a more legitimate Californian dystopia? That’s totally possible. But playing a game like this in 2018 where a character comes off as a one-dimension stereotype seems a bit unfortunate. Or maybe it’s a simple attempt by CD Projekt Red to infuse the game with more diverse cultural representation.
No matter what the explanation, there’s one hugely important question that remains: If the player chooses a male character, does Jackie still call him jaina?