When Cyberpunk 2077‘s gangs trailer released, it seemed like the gangs of Night City would play a big role in the game. Fans got excited about the various gangs announced, wondering which Cyberpunk gangs players could work with or possibly join. Unfortunately, gangs in Cyberpunk 2077 aren’t as important as they initially seemed. Other than the select few gangs involved in main and side storylines, Cyberpunk’s gangs make no sense.
There are some bright spots in Cyberpunk’s gang system. Some gangs will remember actions taken against them by the player. For example, in a gig that involves V assisting the Aldecaldos in a deal with the Scavengers, the Scav gang members will remember V killed several members of the gang with Jackie in the Sandra Dorsett rescue gig. Players then have the option to use this past event to their advantage and intimidate the Scavs into doing the deal with the Aldecaldos peacefully. Another side gig involving the Scavs sees V robbed and taken to the very same apartment from “The Rescue” gig.
While Cyberpunk 2077’s Gangs of Night City trailer was mostly hype, some things in the trailer are true. Pacifica, which is home to the Voodoo Boys and The Animals, is a lawless part of Night City. Cyberpunk 2077‘s teleporting police doesn’t patrol that area, allowing players to freely run amuck without any real consequences, other than getting into it with the gangs if caught in the crossfire. In the trailer, Judy also says, “Everyone in this city lives in their own bubble.” For Cyberpunk 2077’s gangs, this is unfortunately accurate.
There’s no real movement amongst Night City’s gangs. It’s a rare occurrence to see gangs outside of their home districts, aside from members of 6th Street in Lizzie’s Bar, when they’re not directly involved in gigs. Despite the game mentioning that the Valentinos and 6th Street have a bone to pick, or that the Valentinos and Maelstrom are fighting for eddies, gang wars in Cyberpunk are practically nonexistent. The only people players may see gangs fighting are Cyberpunk‘s hastily added police officers and V themselves, regardless of whether V has max Street Cred. Every gang – except the Aldecaldos, if players do Panam’s questline – will attack V if they get too close or get in their business.
Power amongst gangs in Night City’s districts doesn’t change or shift, should a gang be heavily affected by a questline or decision made by players. In “The Pickup” quest, players have the option to free the trapped former Maelstrom leader, Brick. Once he’s freed, Brick offers V a favor, but players never see that favor from repaid, and V’s relationship with Maelstrom doesn’t change. Maelstrom will still attack the player in the streets, despite V saving them from being zeroed. On the other hand, siding with Militech and Meredith Stout by supposedly getting rid of Maelstrom won’t affect the gang’s status in Watson. No gang will try to claim the district as its own, and Maelstrom members will continue to roam the area.
It’s the same with the Voodoo Boys in Pacifica. In “I Walk The Line,” players have the option to side with the NetWatch agent and or stick with the Voodoo Boys and their plan. If players choose to betray the Voodoo Boys, NetWatch will kill Brigitte and the other Voodoo Boys netrunners while V fights Placide. Despite the Voodoo Boys leaders being dead, there will still be gang members roaming the streets and guarding part of Pacifica. Should players enter a restricted area, the Voodoo Boys will immediately attack. The Animals, who are also in Pacifica, won’t attempt a hostile takeover of the district with the Voodoo Boys leaders dead.
Fixers in Cyberpunk 2077 are meant to be the middlemen between a client and a merc, with their loyalty being only towards eddies. However, there are some plotholes in Cyberpunk 2077 that involve fixers associated with specific gangs. For some reason, some fixers sabotage their own gangs by hiring V to do something that hurts them. Wakako Okada, the fixer for Westbrook, is known for being a part of the Tyger Claws gang via her five dead husbands, who were all high-ranking members of the Tyger Claws. However, nearly every gig given to V by Wakako involves meddling in Tyger Claws affairs.
Padre, aka Sebastian Ibarra, and Dakota Smith are also fixers with conflicts of interest. Padre is a priest in Heywood and supposed head of the Valentinos, but like Wakako, he sends V on tasks to steal from or kill members of the Valentinos. While this would justify why the Valentinos are violent towards V, it also conflicts with the idea that the Valentinos should have V’s back, since Jackie was a part of the gang. Dakota Smith, on the other hand, seems to give V gigs that put her up against the Aldecaldos’ rival nomad gang, the Wraiths. While Dakota’s database information says she’s part of the Northern Californian Pomo tribe, she is seen accompanying the Aldecaldos if players decide to get their help to storm Arasaka.
Despite being categorized as a gang in Westbrook, The Mox mainly operate at Lizzie’s Bar in Watson (where potential romance Judy Alvarez works), which is the home turf of Maelstrom. The Mox might as well be a gang solely in name, since it doesn’t behave like any other gang in Night City. It won’t help V and Judy in the annexation of Clouds from the Tyger Claws, and the Claws don’t seem to have any business with The Mox and Lizzie’s Bar. The Mox claim to help Joytoys and Dolls, but there isn’t much action in-game, if any. Cyberpunk 2077 might claim The Mox and Tyger Claws are rival gangs, but they seem far from it.
One group that isn’t officially a gang but perhaps could’ve replaced The Mox is Raffen Shiv, a group of Nomad exiles whom players are introduced to when first meeting Panam. Players can choose to kill the group’s leader, Nash Bane, and his Raffen Shiv in the “Ghost Town” gig. Completing this optional request can get players closer to romancing Panam. While not officially a gang, perhaps because the Wraiths consist of Raffen Shiv, they seem like more of a gang than The Mox.
Cyberpunk 2077’s gangs could’ve benefited from a system similar to Fallout, where players can actually support and join gangs. Panam’s ending with the Aldecaldos shows just how impactful being a part of a gang could be. Had CD Projekt Red given players the option to officially join a gang, the amount of possibilities for playthroughs and endings would be much wider. Although players can’t change the game to include everything that could’ve been, players can try to make Cyberpunk 2077 better with mods, as long as those mods aren’t hacking into players’ computers.