Cyberpunk 2077's Role in a Nostalgic ’80s Trend 2023


Key Takeaways

Cyberpunk 2077 is reintroducing the dangerous glamor of the 1980s, with its style inspired by classics like Blade Runner.There's a line of Cyberpunk-inspired clothes and shoes you can buy if you really want to get into the look.The fashions of the 1980s are having a comeback moment, observers say. CD Projekt Red

The new game Cyberpunk 2077 is riding a wave of nostalgia for all things from the 1980s, with its look back to the science fiction movement and fashions of that period. 

Cyberpunk 2077 is set in the future, but it draws on influences from the 1982 film Blade Runner, and manga and anime series Ghost in the Shell, which began in 1989. The colors and fashions featured in the game could make those old enough to remember the ‘80s feel a bit nostalgic. A designer is even releasing a line of Cyberpunk-influenced all-black clothing and accessories that maintain the aesthetic.

"It's only a matter of time before the game's influence will be prominent enough to see," marketing consultant Tenin Terrell said in an email interview. "The development team likely tapped Cyberpunk's futuristic '80s aesthetic from the Japanese vaporwave or future funk styles that are popular in anime, comics, and other graphic art mediums distributed from the country's creators."

Hacking for Style

Cyberpunk 2077 is a role-playing game that takes place in Night City, an open world set in the Cyberpunk universe. Players assume the first-person perspective of a customizable mercenary known as V, who can acquire skills in hacking and machinery, with options for melee and ranged combat.

But the craze for the 1980s didn't start with the game, observers say.

"The fashion of the '80s is back in a massive way,'' Cara Salvatore, a vintage trend spotter and founder of the company Duskshaped, said in an email interview. "It seems like everyone has a biker jacket, high-top shoes, huge black boots. I'm seeing longer coats with that duster/trench coat feel. People seem to be emotionally inhabiting this darker, more dangerous space, and it shows through dress, which is so often a proxy for inner mood. I think a lot of us feel like we're living in a version of that dystopian future, and that's part of the reason '80s fashion is back in style."

A lot of thought went into the styles of clothing, cars, and architecture that make up the Cyberpunk world, explained Marthe Jonkers, senior concept artist at CD Projekt Red, in an interview with VG247. 

"They are really the backbone of the visual design of the city," Jonkers said. "Because real cities also have many different layers of architectural styles, many different vehicles from different ages riding around, fashion—not everyone's wearing the same. We wanted to have that as well in Night City, so we created this timeline that connected the styles together."

Buy Cyberpunk Clothes, If You Dare

Those who like the styles they see in the game can wear them offline as well. Lifestyle group Hypebeast is releasing a line of merchandise with Cyberpunk 2077. Hypebeast is collaborating with streetwear designer Hiroshi Fujiawara and his brand, fragment design, to launch a line of all-black clothing and accessories that matches the game's aesthetic. It includes a range of t-shirts, hoodies, and accessories.

"The client (CDPR) was looking for a top-tier streetwear designer to connect the game to an audience less endemic to their core, and also to compliment some merch that they were already working on with other designers," Paul Heavener, creative director of Hypemaker US, told Forbes. "It's important that the chosen collaborator be able to bring their respective community to the table. In this case, fragment has a demonstrated history of high profile projects that have been able to shepherd brands and franchises into the streetwear arena."

For footwear fans who want to look Cyberpunk, Adidas is releasing a line of shoes that are inspired by the game's fashion. The shoes cost just under $250, and are only available in certain Asian countries. But you can try to snag a pair on eBay, of course.

Once the thrill of Cyberpunk 2077 wears off, you might want to rethink that mullet hairstyle. But I'm definitely snagging a pair of Adidas shoes, if I can find one.