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SYFY WIRE Cyberpunk 2077

Gaming: Linda Hamilton voicing Sarah Connor in Gears 5; Keanu’s meaty Cyberpunk role detailed; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Linda Hamilton Sarah Connor Terminator Dark Fate

She’ll be back — and not just on the big screen. Thanks to a fresh Gears of War tease from E3 this week, it looks as though Sarah Connor will be a character in a red-eyed piece of add-on content for Microsoft’s upcoming Gears 5 — and she’ll be voiced by none other than Terminator icon Linda Hamilton.

Microsoft and Gears 5 developer Coalition previewed the upcoming game’s Terminator: Dark Fate Pack at E3, calling back to one of the movie franchise’s earliest and most iconic moments. Although Hamilton’s role hasn’t yet been recorded, the overall Terminator vibe seems to carry over into the world of video games more or less intact, as you can see in the clip below. Skull, meet Cyberdyne Systems:

Gears 5 - E3 2019 - Terminator Dark Fate Reveal

Coalition head Rod Fergusson told Game Informer that Hamilton is slated to record Connor’s dialogue for the game in the next two weeks, and that she’ll “probably do a lot of yelling.” Timed to land just ahead of the Nov. 1 release of Terminator: Dark Fate (the movie), the Dark Fate Pack will be available to all Gears 5 Xbox Game Pass members who download and play the game before Sept. 16, or to anyone who pre-orders the full game ahead of its Sept. 10 debut.

Keanu Reeves may have stolen E3 right at the start, but most Cyberpunk 2077 fans spent the days following his surprise character reveal wondering just how big a role he’ll play in CD Projekt RED’s upcoming dystopian RPG.

Rest easy, Keanu fans: It turns out his part in Cyberpunk isn’t just some quick celebrity in-and-out affair. In an E3 stage talk with The Game Awards’ Geoff Keighley, CD Projekt’s Marcin Iwiński said Reeves will be playing Johnny Silverhand, a body-augmented character with deep roots in the Mike Pondsmith-created Cyberpunk board game on which 2077 is based.

It’s no small cameo, either: Reeves spent 15 days recording a mountain of scripted dialogue for the game. In fact, said Iwiński, only V, the game’s protagonist, has more lines of speech than Keanu’s character. And while we’ll have to wait for the game to arrive to get a true sense of how it all fits, Iwiński said that Johnny Silverhand is pretty much a persistent presence in your story from start to finish, and manifests as a part of your own internal monologue, rather than as a non-playable character.

Johnny Silverhand gets inside your head on April 16, 2020, when Cyberpunk 2077 arrives for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Finally, who can blame game publishers for eyeing a slice of the digital subscription marketplace that’s proven such a boon for TV streaming? If you’re a fan of Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy, or Parasite Eve, the idea of being able to stream classic SquareSoft (now Square Enix) games like those and more, on demand, has to sound enticing.

Via Game Informer, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda told the E3 press this week that the mega-publisher is eyeing its own digital platform at some point “down the road,” as either a subscription service or an a la carte download storefront. As the success of the online-only Final Fantasy XIV attests, there’s certainly a precedent for players showing a healthy willingness to pay a monthly fee for access to the games they love.

If there’s a wrinkle in Square Enix’s digital plan, though, it may come from an unlikely source: "I'm embarrassed to admit it, but in some cases, we don't know where the code is anymore” for some older games, said Matsuda. “It's very hard to find them sometimes, because back in the day you just made them and put them out there and you were done. You didn't think of how you were going to sell them down the road. Sometimes customers ask, ‘Why haven't you released that [game] yet?' And the truth of the matter is it's because we don't know where it has gone.”

The hunt for the vanished source code — maybe Square Enix should just make an RPG about that. In the meantime, we’ll still queue up to buy our RPGs one title at a time, starting with Final Fantasy VII Remake, which arrives for PlayStation 4 on March 3, 2020.