Behind the Scenes with Cyberpunk 2077

March 2021


Giving Night City a Voice!

“SIDE made skilled production and engineering staff, directors, and talent available to us throughout the project–a not insignificant span of time. And they did so at multiple sites, often on short notice. Quality services, world-class results, work that pushes the creative envelope–that’s what we rely on SIDE to provide.”
–Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz, English Adaptation Director, CDPR

CD Projekt RED`s long-anticipated release of Cyberpunk 2077 has now been out in the wild for just over two months! To celebrate one of the most ambitious titles that SIDE has had the pleasure to support (we handled all English Voice Production), we wanted to reveal how our award-winning team helped bring CD Projekt RED`s vision to life by giving Night City a voice! Before we dive into the creative process of voicing the unique inhabitants of Night City, let’s look at some of the incredible stats that emerged while supporting this title.

Show us the Eddies!

  • 125 actors
  • 2,500 recording hours
  • 117,586 audio files
  • 671 voice tags
  • 1 incredible production crew
  • The 1 (and only) Keanu Reeves

As you can tell, this was no easy feat! But how did we get here? Let`s start from the beginning. We’ve had the pleasure of working with CD Projekt RED on their previous titles (Witcher 2, 3, their massive DLCs and Gwent). About four years ago, we started talking about their next game.

Where to begin ‘Chippin’ In`?

Once we understood the initial scope of Cyberpunk 2077, it was time to begin the casting process. CDP provided us with as much information as they had at the time and then let us go for it in terms of casting. They gave us character art, detailed histories, story docs, and rough cuts of cinematics, to help inform who these characters were and the context they existed in.

The Casting teams–in both London and LA–had their work cut out for them with all the different factions and ethnicities; the diversity of Night City was an exciting challenge for us. One of the great things about working with CDP is that the worlds they create are conceived in such a vivid and specific way. For casting it’s fantastic, because it really helps to give a clear vision of what we’re aiming for and the types of performers required to bring these characters to life.

SIDE LA welcomed a very special talent to the studios. Hot off the MoCap soundstage, Hollywood’s Keanu Reeves came in to record the VO for what has already become an iconic character in the Cyberpunk 2077 world: Johnny Silverhand. Across multiple sessions, Reeves brought his distinctive style to the character, covering all aspects of his history, personality, and attitude.

Making sure we don’t get stuck in ‘Nomads’ land!

Cyberpunk 2077 is a narrative-driven, open-world RPG that features CD PROJEKT RED’s hallmark concept of choices and consequences, leaving players to face difficult decisions that ripple through the entire game. As you can imagine, this kind of open-world, branching narrative, with a choice of two player characters, has a complicated script.

We had a whole team working on tools that would incorporate the scripts produced by CD Projekt; we wanted to make them workable and trackable in-session, and aid Post-Production in keeping everything in order. These tools and techniques were reviewed and tweaked throughout the production.

Another challenge was recording two main characters across two different continents. Having Male-V recording in London and Female-V in LA meant we could constantly swap files, providing each of the lead actors the other’s performance to work with. But we also gave them the lines of all the additional characters we were recording, so there was twice the amount of feeder files coming in for the actors to play against.

“We’re going to the major leagues, Jackie!”

SIDE has been lucky enough to work on some amazing and highly anticipated titles in the past. It’s very exciting to get on-board with projects like this; they have complex characters, big stories… lots to work with! Our own quality threshold is high, so we knew we could deliver.

We’re proud of our work on Cyberpunk 2077. It’s been years of collaboration with CD Projekt RED to bring this to life, and we are so happy to see gamers enjoying the stories of Night City!

“The project was unprecedented in terms of scope and complexity. If you look at line numbers and cast size and, above all, at cast diversity - we went so far beyond the Witcher series it's crazy. And I venture to say SIDE delivered on these aspects as few other outfits could or would even dare to try.”
–Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz, English Adaptation Director, CDPR

“You`ll become so emotionally invested in these characters that it's easy to become more engrossed in them than V's own plight. There's warmth here, brilliant humour, and an emotional punch that you won't always expect, delivering compelling characters that will no doubt rank as some of the best gaming has to offer.”–Gamesradar

“The writing and delivery are a step above anything the studio has done before, with all characters delivering stellar voice performances that are confidently grounded in Night City.”–Trusted Reviews

“Cyberpunk 2077 kicks you into its beautiful and dazzlingly dense cityscape with few restrictions. It offers a staggering amount of choice in how to build your character, approach quests, and confront enemies, and your decisions can have a tangible and natural-feeling impact on both the world around you and the stories of the people who inhabit it. Those stories can be emotional, funny, dark, exciting, and sometimes all those things at once.”–IGN