The Badlands have been around Night City since at least before 2020.
Beyond Night City and its surrounding suburbs, there is a wide-open space of endless dry Californian scrub, punctuated by the occasional abandoned town or dry lake bed. The Badlands is a region that few Night Citizens willingly venture out into, save for the hardy nomads, who crossed the desert in their huge and well-protected caravans. These vast plains outside of Night City make the metropolis look more glamorous in comparison. However, there's still life and golden opportunities out there.
Nomads aren't the only ones who call the Badlands their home. A a gang made up mostly of exiles from local tribes and families known as the Wraiths reside here. These are the guys responsible for the corporate transport disappearances. Crossing into their territory without armed transport is suicide.
Unchecked resource extraction and derelict oil fields dominate in the north. Wastelands full of chemicals and landfills reign supreme in the east. Acid rains are a result from the massive pollution, this guarantees nothing will ever grow there anytime soon, perhaps ever, while the winds carry the unbearable stench that makes sure Night City doesn't forget this place exists. The south side is comprised of desert. Due to Biotechnica's many protein farms, as well as the Jackson Plains power plant, this part of the Badlands is less apocalyptic than the rest. Some even think it's safe around here, but let your guard down for a second and it'll eat you up alive.
If you think Night City is dangerous, just wait 'till you get to the Badlands.
The areas bordering the city to the east and south are actually eight different zones that vary in character and landscape. There's the trailer park of Red Peaks, the plains of Rocky Ridge, and the desert of Sierra Sonora stretching out to the east, whose landfill emits a stench that's often blown all the way into the city. Saturated with chemicals and acid rain, nothing will ever grow again in this region of the Badlands. Anyone who has to cross this area does it quickly, and if they're smart, with an armed escort in case they run into Wraiths - a gang made up of exiled nomads. You could compare them to vultures, though at least vultures have the decency to wait until their prey is dead.
The south paints a much less apocalyptic picture with Biotechnica's protein farms and the Jackson Plains power plant. A trip to the neighboring lake of Laguna Bend at sunset is the most picturesque view the Badlands has to offer (just make sure you don't touch the water).
There's a saying that everyone should visit the Badlands at least once in their lives. Sounds like something the Wraiths would say.
Behind the scenes
- In Cyberpunk 2077, the Badlands are considered the 7th district.
- Occasionally, sandstorms will occur while in the Badlands in Cyberpunk 2077.
- CD Projekt RED. Cyberpunk 2077. Video Game, Multi-Platform. Poland, CD Projekt S.A., 2020.
- PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (pg.291)
- District Feature: Badlands
- CURRIT, T. The Official Digital Artbook of Cyberpunk 2077. Digital, Online. CD Projekt RED, 2020. (pg.61)
- Cyberpunk 2077 loot and relationship system