Another influencer cameo appears to be on the cards of Cyberpunk 2077, and it's a controversial one.
While CD Projekt Red's highly anticipated RPG is less than a month away and already chock full of cameos like Keanu Reeves and Grimes, rumors emerged earlier this week that the controversial DrDisRespect might also be lending his likeness to the game. The polarizing streamer has proven controversial time and again for his crude, satirical approach to streaming.
Does that make him a good fit for the game? Or is it a somewhat risky move Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red?
This rumor gained traction on October 19 when Herschel "Guy" Beahm IV, the man behind DrDisRespect, quote-tweeted: "Just wait until you see what we have planned. Next level." This was in response to a tweet from Cyberpunk's account about the game being only one month away.
Of course, he could just be partnering with CD Projekt Red to stream the game around its launch, but there is precedent for influencers appearing in Cyberpunk 2077. Singer Grimes, as well as gaming influencers Jesse Cox, Cohh Carnage, and Alanah Pearce have confirmed that their voice and likeness are being used for characters in the game. As such, it wouldn't be that surprising if another popular influencer like DrDisRespect would make the cut and appear during a sidequest.
DrDisRespect's inclusion would be quite problematic due to the streamer's history. Since 2018, Beahm has been at the center of many controversies, including speaking in racist accents while streaming and even spreading coronavirus conspiracy theories. His two most notable debacles had to do with getting banned from Twitch.
In June 2019, he was banned from Twitch and E3 for filming inside a bathroom at the Los Angeles Convention Center during E3 2019. While Twitch eventually reinstated him, the platform banned him again earlier this year for a reason that's still unknown. He has since gotten back to streaming and is active on Twitter but remains a polarizing personality.
Even since all of these controversies, he's still managed to appear in games like Rogue Company, so it wouldn't be totally out of the question for CD Projekt Red to include DrDisRespect. Beahm's inclusion may not be something the game needs right now though, as Cyberpunk 2077 has already run into its fair share of backlash, specifically for how it portrays transgender people and the crunch culture behind its development.
As one thorough Resetera roundup by Kyuuji highlights, CD Projekt Red has not only made problematic "did you assume their gender?" joke from the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account, but its marketing has featured an advertisement for an energy drink called Chromanticore that uses a transgender model with the tagline Mix it Up.
"This falls into one of the common ways in which transphobia manifests: reducing us down to our genitals for display at the expense of any sense of us as people," Kyuuji explained. "'Mix It Up' implies the frivolous nature of being trans as though we pick and choose our gender identity."
CD Projekt Red itself has also gotten ridiculed for its decision to force developers to work six days a week ahead of Cyberpunk 2077's launch. These practices accused of upholding the "crunch culture" of the gaming industry that causes developers to work extremely long hours for extended periods, resulting in burnout.
Overall, both DrDisRespect and Cyberpunk 2077 are quite controversial, and the two crossings over will only highlight those problems more. For now, we'll just have to wait and see if DrDisRespect or any other influencers will show up in CD Projekt Red's latest.
Cyberpunk 2077 will be released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 19, 2020.