Update [12 p.m. PT]: CD Projekt Red has responded to Game Informer’s report, saying that it is working on a separate warning inside the game, alongside the warning it had in its EULA. The studio is also currently exploring a “more permanent solution,” and that will be implemented “as soon as possible.”
Our original story follows:
Players who experience seizures or who have other photosensitivity issues like headaches and migraines often have to be on the lookout for themselves when picking up a new game. While an abundance of pre-release footage may have already given people with epilepsy pause about playing Cyberpunk 2077, a report published yesterday carries firm warnings about multiple critical-path scenes that could induce seizures.
At Game Informer, Associate Editor Liana Ruppert published a detailed guide on potential epilepsy triggers in Cyberpunk 2077 based on her own time with the game. As someone vulnerable to certain epileptic triggers, she spotted a number of visual effects that could present a risk of seizure throughout the game, but one in particular stood out from the rest. In scenes where the player character V engages in braindances or BDs, a sort of virtual reality memory investigation, there’s an element that caused a grand mal seizure for Ruppert:
When “suiting up” for a BD, especially with Judy, V will be given a headset that is meant to onset the instance. 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[…] this is one aspect that I would personally advise you to avoid altogether. When you notice the headset come into play, look away completely or close your eyes.
While the Game Informer piece points out the similarities to real-life LED medical equipment, it remains unclear whether Cyberpunk’s developers CD Projekt Red were specifically inspired by such a device when designing the BD interface. Other potential triggers the piece flags include blue and red visual glitching effects, shown in-game to represent artificating in the player character’s cybernetically enhanced vision.
AbleGames Charity COO Steven Spohn took to Twitter in light of the report to ask that CD Projekt Red look into the concerns raised about the BD headset. “No one should have to risk having a seizure to play a videogame,” Spohn writes. EpilepsyAction, a UK-based epilepsy charity, has also released its own warning on Cyberpunk 2077 to its followers based on the Game Informer report.
USgamer has reached out to CD Projekt Red regarding the concerns raised by the piece and for insight as to Cyberpunk 2077’s photosensitivity warnings and any applicable accessibility features. At the time of publication, CD Projekt Red has not responded to our request for comment.
Likewise, we’ve sent inquiries to Microsoft and Sony about their internal accessibility guidelines on photosensitivity and any relevant requirements applied to Cyberpunk 2077 during the certification process. We will update this piece if we receive a response from either company or from CD Projekt Red.
Cyberpunk 2077 comes out on Dec. 10 for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Google Stadia. It will be playable at launch on the PS5 and on the new Xbox consoles via backward compatibility. Our review is forthcoming, but you can find a roundup of takeaways from other outlets here.