Ukrainian Cyberpunk 2077 Localisation: A Subtle Act of Resistance
In an impressive act of digital defiance, the Ukrainian localization of the 2.0 update of Cyberpunk 2077 is laden with references to the ongoing conflict with Russia. The 2.0 update which revamped skill trees and introduced new mini-games, also includes a Ukrainian version of the game's extensive script. Interestingly, the Ukrainian version is rife with political commentary subtly supporting Ukraine in its struggle against the Russian invasion.
The evidence of this digital resistance came to light through Zone of Games, who shared side-by-side comparisons of the English and Ukrainian translations, illustrating the disparities in dialogue and menu text. Further clarity was provided by Arsenii Tarasov from the Indie Cup team, a digital festival based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Tarasov shared additional instances of localisation, complete with screenshots, opening up a new perspective on the game's Ukrainian version.
The differences between the English and Ukrainian versions are far from mere linguistic adaptations. For instance, the phrase "We're fucking through" in English is translated in Ukrainian to a phrase that roughly means "Go fuck yourself in the same direction as the ship did". This is a clear nod to a famous radio response by Ukrainian border guard Roman Hrybov to the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, that has since become a resistance slogan in Ukraine and among pro-Ukrainian groups abroad.
Furthermore, graffiti has been added to the game that references Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014. The graffiti in question depicts the outlines of Crimea, juxtaposed with the Ukrainian coat of arms and the symbol of Crimean Tatars. This suggests that in the world of Cyberpunk 2077, Crimea is still considered a part of Ukraine. Additionally, there are numerous references in inventory screens to Ukrainian state messaging during the war.
Drawing the curtains on this digital act of rebellion, it is clear that CD Projekt, the creator of Cyberpunk 2077, has been vocal about its opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company even ceased sales of their games in Russia in light of the hostilities in March 2022 and set up a relief fund for Ukrainian refugees. CD Projekt collaborated with Ukrainian company SBT Localization for the Ukrainian localisation of the game's script. It's a significant move, showing the power of gaming as a platform for political commentary and resistance.