Multiple Cyberpunk 2077 players have run headfirst into a seizure-inducing game mechanic while playing through the new release.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been on a lot of minds recently, and not due to an abundance of glowing reviews.
Fans have found themselves quite disappointed with the game’s bad grab at diversity and overt sexualisation of trans people. Now, some players have been unfortunate enough to discover the inclusion of a scene within the game that induces seizures.
The last thing anyone wants to think about when unboxing a new game is about how it might hurt you. So what are players supposed to do when faced with an unavoidable seizure-inducing scene they’re unprepared for?
Within Cyberpunk 2077, players meet many instances of flashing lights and glitch effects that can cause serious issues for people with epilepsy. Players expect this sort of thing in a futuristic neon cityscape game, and the usual seizure warning reflects that. What’s unexpected, however, is the inclusion of the ‘Braindance’ device, which is not only another instance of flashing lights, but a surprisingly accurate mimic of a real device used by doctors to induce an epileptic seizure in patients.
I’m sure you can see how that’s a major problem in one of the most widely anticipated games of the year.
Attention was drawn to this issue by Liana Ruppert from Game Informer on Twitter, who wrote up a report on the possible epileptic triggers within the game which caused her to suffer “one major seizure and felt several moments where I was close to another one”.
For those that are prone to epileptic episodes, we wanted to offer a PSA on some of the epileptic triggers seen in Cyberpunk 2077. If you choose to play, here’s what you can do to keep yourself safe: https://t.co/BMWF33itXN pic.twitter.com/Y2QACjSGxW
— Game Informer (@gameinformer) December 7, 2020
In her ‘General Triggers’ warning, Liana mentions that there is a lot of red glitching animations and pale blue glitch effects, with the latter mostly associated with Johnny Silverhand interactions. If you’re still keen to play the game, triggers and all, she suggests using an “eye-saving mode” on your monitor to dim blue light. She also mentions that you should “turn down the brightness of the screen, play around with the colourblind modes“, and just look away from the screen when the triggers appear.
The main glaring issue Game Informer encountered was the ‘Braindance’ device, an important part of the game that is “a trigger on many levels“, and caused Liana to suffer a grand mal seizure when she was playing. The Braindance sequence begins when V is given a headset that onsets the mental link to the mainframe. Liana notes that:
“The headset fits over both eyes and features a rapid onslaught of white and red blinking LEDs, much like the actual device neurologists use in real life to trigger a seizure when they need to trigger one for diagnosis purposes. If not modelled off of the IRL design, it’s a very spot-on coincidence, and because of that, this is one aspect that I would personally advise you to avoid altogether. ”
Within the Braindance itself, there are also multiple triggers in the glitch animations, but you’re able to pause and play around with the settings or even call in your gamer backup when needed.
A warning once more, if you have epilepsy or any other similar condition, look away from the screen when the headset appears.
Thank you for bringing this up. We’re working on adding a separate warning in the game, aside from the one that exists in the EULA (https://t.co/eXpPn73VSK). Regarding a more permanent solution, Dev team is currently exploring that and will be implementing it as soon as possible. https://t.co/lXFypnSit2
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) December 8, 2020
In a disturbing development, some “fans” of the game have even been sending Liana Ruppert “hundreds” of seizure-triggering videos after the release of her well-intentioned report. Liana shared this as a warning to other people with epilepsy who might be sharing her report online, just to be careful of any videos received. Liana has noted that she would greatly prefer people to focus on the actual report as the important note in this conversation and not focus on the criminals intending to harm her, so the only attention this should receive is as a safety warning to other people with epilepsy.
So back to the point: It’s hard to imagine that one of the most hyped games of the year, which is set in a genre so closely tied to people with disabilities would overlook such a huge accessibility issue when developing the game. For many gamers, the sins of this game just seem to be piling up. First the controversial treatment of their employees and the decision to “crunch”, then the huge let down of promised diversity and transphobia, and now a device within the game which, while unintentional, has caused serious medical problems for players.
While CD Project Red has made a response to Game Informer’s report and is said to be working on the issue, some players are wondering if this is enough action, or if this latest incident will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of Cyberpunk 2077’s reception.