At the beginning of January, I realized that something strange was happening to me. Grimes, La Roux and synthwave groups like Magic Sword had slipped into my playlists. I saw Blade Runner for the first time (late I know) and wandered through the galleries of the beautiful cityscapes of Syd Mead.
I even bought Neuromancer to add it to the list of books that sooner or later I’ll read .

 

Everything to prepare a game initially planned for April: Cyberpunk 2077 by CD Projekt Red. But now we all know the release date has changed and Cyberpunk 2077 will arrive in September. What could I do with all this cyberpunk energy?

 

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I could go on with books and movies but it’s not easy to do that for eight months, so I wanted to play something. My editor told me I could just buy Deus Ex, but frankly I had something more drastic on my mind.

 

How about recreating Cyberpunk 2077 with Fallout 4 mods?

 

If you’re going to modify Cyberpunk in a game, Fallout 4 is a good place to start: a lot of its assets are tech-savvy and at the same time exhausted, even though they’re clearly stuck in the 50s instead of the 80s. So it wasn’t surprising to find out that there are several themed mods already out there, but I wanted to see how much I could have put in on my own to recreate the experience seen in the Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay videos, starting with the mechanics of the game to get to the HUD.

 

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The decision was clear: I would continue until the game, the computer, or myself broke, and two weeks later I managed to recreate some sort of cyberpunk experience in Fallout 4, even though the process was not particularly clean.

 

At the first difficulty, he risked throwing himself completely in the air. Neon dystopian cities are the backbone of cyberpunk fiction (maybe too often) and I certainly couldn’t do without them in my project. Unfortunately, however, this was the most difficult part of the whole process. Most mods in the Fallout 4 environment need other mods to work, and my top pick, a complete Blade Runner tribute for Hangman’s Alley, needed so many mods that I couldn’t get it to work. So I stumbled upon something smaller called Blade Runner Avenue. Forget the Tyrel emblem, this is the best I have found.

 

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However, it was difficult due to 22 plugins, a script extender, and the Transfer Settlements module to import everything (and in the end, the assets were still missing). After some effort, however, I was in the middle of a city that was growing before my eyes. Nothing spectacular, but the aesthetic full of skyscrapers, claustrophobic shops and detective apartments, there were. To add to the atmosphere, I also used Darker Nights.

 

But that’s not all: Plants and debris come from soil textures with a really nasty effect, forcing me to be a gardener via console controls armed only with a mod called Scrap Everything. The trees were a disaster to take away: According to the internet, many trees in Fallout 4 are actually stuck to the world and therefore very difficult to remove. And so nothing, I keep the trees dry.

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Once the city was finished, it was time to customize the characters. If we exclude this time when my character lost his eyes, this phase was quite easy. I wanted a female version of V, and with the editor of Fallout 4, I tried to make something that didn’t look like a radioactive vegetable. With the help of some mods, I recreated the glowing golden eyes seen in the very first Cyberpunk 2077 demo, along with various cables and a more edgy haircut. All that was missing was the eyeliner to add to the litrate.

 

In all this mod collection, the most Cyberpunk 77 theme is clearly the splendid CROSS_77, a jacket with gloves and a holographic hat, but also the holographic pipboy with a lot of thematic sounds is not bad at all. I was almost there, there was no shortage of weapons for my V.

 

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Based on all of the weapons shown in Cyberpunk 2077 2018 gameplay demo, I immediately aimed at the Gun GS Cyberpunk pistol, very similar to the Militech weapon that uses V, also because it can be modified to have autofocus and a bright view. I wanted to give it a full arsenal, then I installed a modified Vector with a silencer and some sort of shotgun (Cryolance). I’m not sure the energy weapons suit the cyberpunk theme, but at least aesthetically, we’re good thanks to the three mouths.

 

If the result seemed to be achieved, I wasn’t sure I could say the same about the gameplay front. And here, in fact, I had to get really creative. One of the skills seen in the demos is a scanner V has in his eyes to scan enemies and see their silhouette, which I recreated with a mod that highlights enemies with the push of a button. The autoguided sniper bullets had me installing guided aiming systems on some weapons to achieve (in addition to a crazy tactical advantage, of course) a similar appearance to the smart weapons in the 2018 demo. Bullets do not not fold in the same way, but I managed to make them more expensive with a mod for tracer ammo.

 

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Obviously, hacking miscellaneous items is the essence of cyberpunk, and luckily in Fallout 4 we already find something similar with the “robotics expert” talent. In the base game, you have to sneak up on an enemy to hack them, but with the Robotics Expert Overhaul mod, you can do it from a distance in the middle of combat, and even turrets can be targeted.

 

The best skill to use, however, is Bullet Time, with which I recreated spectacular slow-motion moments similar to what can be achieved with the Kereznikov skill in Cyberpunk 2077 (practically a bullet time that can be activated after ingesting some substance, to understand). Fallout 4 has something similar, but unfortunately it’s a general effect that can’t be toggled on and off on command, so I used the base bullet time which actually uses action points, but can be activated for short periods. Additionally, I can change direction in the air and focus fire on enemies’ legs, two actions we saw in the 2018 demo.

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I was not satisfied yet, I wanted to connect my new skills to the implants in my V body, and to do so I used CROSS Pre-War Cybernetics and Cybernetic Implantation Laboratory. The former is used more than anything to build exoskeletons, but it allowed me to set up something that looked like the reinforced arms from the 2019 demo (with the addition of a nice electric shock that was fine).

 

The implant mod is however closer to the cyberpunk aesthetic since the technologies are integrated into the body of our avatar. Research Labs can be built to increase realism (you just need to be a little scientific and wait between operations), but most importantly the mod features a system called a subcutaneous micro-relay, which is practically a teleportation to short distance. Perfect, with that kind of “flicker” I could recreate something very similar to V’s flash (although I admit I used the mod more than anything to get in and out of the house, since it didn’t there were no stairs …)

 

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After unsuccessfully searching for Praying Mantis Blades and a personal Johnny Silverhand (the character played by Keanu Reeves), I moved on to the finishing touches. I recreated the HUD with Cyberpunk 2077 UI mod, coloring it red and pink, and adding a series of widgets. Ok this isn’t really the Cyberpunk 2077 HUD, but such a compact interface is definitely on the subject. Then it was a mod’s turn to show
enemy damage, which I edited to more specifically remember Cyberpunk 2077 police, and to top it off I installed a custom radio to listen to the bullet synthwave during the fight.

 

After all that work, it was time to work on a combat demo where I could show off my outfit. If only I had known where I was going …

 

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Convincing Fallout 4’s NPCs to behave a certain way is a nightmare. After trying to dress the androids in new textures, but they easily ended up in pieces or become invisible if I used a predator, I fell back on the Rust Devil faction, a mix of humans and robots. To demonstrate my hacking skills, I wanted to place a turret but it took a lifetime to convince her that ripping everyone apart in seconds wasn’t a good idea. The turret also caused panic in some NPCs, as you can see in the battle demo by keeping an eye out for the first robot. Hacking the turret also increased its destructive potential beyond reasonableness.

 

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In the fight demo there was also a certain amount of actor, because I had to practice the mechanics, go to music and make it more or less natural. I’m not even telling you how many times I’ve broken my legs teleporting up the stairs.

 

To make things even more complicated, I had now installed so many mods that some had started to fall apart. I managed to avoid the worst by changing the load order and reinstalling some of them and so after some effort I got my combat demo. Of course, I also wanted peaceful NPCs in the city, and obviously that didn’t seem like a good idea.

 

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Apparently generating people isn’t enough, so I had to install Better Settlers to have a modern, stationary population. Not excellent, not particularly active. I discovered that in order to get them to move I had to invite them one by one into the colony, and only with specific animations and freeze them in position did I manage to give the whole thing a semblance of credibility. That obviously didn’t stop him from doing stupid things like walking through walls, falling into the void, or mysteriously teleporting upstairs to sleep in my bed. I tried to turn off the artificial intelligence through the control console, but they kept hitting me on the head when I tried to rip them through their ugly leather clothes. And then I wanted more

 

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In the end I have to say it’s a half-miracle that all of these mods work together, with only a few crashes here and there and one serious bug (the camera went crazy after modifying an INI file, but came back on the right track). I got my hands on over 100 mods (many didn’t stay in the final build due to technical issues) and spent hours and hours learning the weird rules of Fallout 4. To understand each other , instead of just giving me the “Robotics Expert” talent, I had to add the dots one by one and only select it later in the talent menus, otherwise it didn’t work.

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If from a certain point of view I can be satisfied, it is also true that I have encountered limits. Leaving AI issues aside, I was missing a story, something to do, and all the rolistic elements of Cyberpunk, and so I had something bright, but a little empty. I like to think that Cyberpunk 2077 will not only give us a bit of retro-futurism, but also want to explore deeper issues, somewhat differentiating itself from one of the criticisms that are directed at such works most often.

 

Paradoxically, I have to say that the creation process was more cyberpunk than the result itself. According to Dani Cavallaro, cyberpunk integrates “hyper-efficient high-tech structures and the anarchy typical of urban subcultures.” The modding community is certainly not a street gang, but I would say we can safely define it as a subculture: it mostly exists online, produces and collaborates for the creation of works, and modifies things. highly technological commercial products for their needs, often exceeding the intentions of the original creators.

 

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Modders are pretty cyberpunk in my opinion, as is my mission to turn Fallout 4 into Cyberpunk by pushing it beyond its limits. The difficulties encountered in taming the artificial intelligence of Bethesda’s work and convincing it to carry out more or less human actions seem to me resolutely adapted to the atmosphere of the genre and stimulate reflection: it is only by forcing the NPCs to such a dystopian and hopeless world, was I playing the bad guy?

 

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