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Nobody ever leaves Night City. Except in a body bag.

Bes Isis, N54 newscaster, Cyberpunk 2020

The Free City of Night City (NC)[7] is an autonomous city located on the border between North and South California, on the Pacific coast of North America. It is considered a modern multicultural metropolis of the 21st-century, overrun by corporations, corruption, organized crime and gang violence.[1] Night City was established at the head of Del Coronado Bay in 1994. Founded by Richard Night, it was originally known as Coronado City before its renaming in 1998.

Overview[]

Night City has wide streets and dense urban skyscrapers which are home to millions of residents. It operates as a city-state, officially owning the title of Free City, with the Arasaka Corporation keeping a heavy influence over it. The metropolis is considered a thrilling and exciting location to visit, as well as an interesting and vibrant place to live for those of means, and a hellscape to the city's disenfranchised. Its world famous slogan is "The City of Dreams", originally changed from "City on the Edge of Tomorrow." In 2077, Night City was voted the "Worst place to live in America".[8]

History[]

Inception (1990 - 1992)[]

Richard Night, a successful businessman who during the early 1990s was concerned by the violence and disruption of the impending Collapse, saw himself in an unique position to deal with the forthcoming issue. Working mainly on corporate-funded projects, Richard decided to start a side company known as Night International, and began to plan an ideal new city — an environment that would be controlled and ultimately be safe from the ravages tearing the world apart. His new city was to be completely planned, self-sufficient, and capable of holding off even the most determined criminals. It would boast planned neighborhoods dedicated to preserving the feel of different types of nationalities and cultures, as well as a super-modern corporate center that would stand as a shining beacon of enlightened capitalism. It was ambitious, far-reaching, and visionary in its approach.[9][1][2]

Eventually, Night managed to secure the unheard-of amount of capital needed to finance such a large-scale project. With the Collapse, many corporations had been looking to establish their own urban areas — controlled zones free of crime, poverty or debt. A place where the government would be corporate-run, allowing optimum zoning and no anti-business elements to interfere with corporate growth. Ideally, it would be a capitalist mecca of opportunity. Night's dream city was tailor-made for their purposes and so he provided the design and construction capacities while these corporations lend in their funds. By 1992, Arasaka, EBM and Petrochem had all signed on with the project, leading to the formation of the Coronado Partnership.[1]

Planning (1992 - 1994)[]

Needing lots of land for his new infrastructure development, as well as access to both sea ports and modern highways to deliver the huge amount of materials that he would need to construct it, Richard Night sent scouting teams to the East and West Coasts of the United States. Although in the end it was a small article in the San Francisco Chronicle that caught his eye — the article described a dreadful incident that had taken place in a small town called Morro Bay, along the Central Californian coast. Now a ghost town, Night was able to purchase the land where Morro Bay stood for a very low price. Petrochem helped in the acquisition, as the corporation had already taken over the town's then-abandoned Dynergy power plant and was already planning to set up an offshore port and oil terminal site.[2] A leveraged 132 million dollar purchase secured the remaining parcels[1] — including areas of Los Osos as well.

Bankrolled by Merrill, Asukaga & Finch — who wanted to make the new city a financial hub — Night and Petrochem employed the Arasaka Corporation to remove the gangs and make the area a safe zone for construction. Further funds came from external investors lured to the project by the promise of lucrative building contracts and possible sources of extralegal income. In order to erase the stigma of the incident, the Partnership renamed the region Del Coronado Bay to make way for their new project of Coronado City. However, thanks to the rather out-sized personality of its founder, it soon became colloquially known by locals as "Night's City."[2]

By 1993, the outlining of Coronado City required more terrain than what the geology of the bay originally had. Thus, the Partnership leveled the surrounding hills and dumped them into the ocean as fill, reshaping the bay in order that the formerly narrow sand spit to the west was widened to about 10 miles. They also re-dredged the harbor, making it capable of porting the large ships needed to build the metropolis, with the remaining dirt also ending up as fill on the western edge. The location was also the ideal place to build a station for the Planetran intercontinental maglev.[1][2]

Coronado City truly reflected its creator's eclectic vision. Instead of a huge construction of steel and glass, Night's urban plan broke the city into a series of neighborhoods, each with a different architectural style and theme. It included elements ranging from many notorious North American cities like New York and San Francisco, to faux brownstones and pseudo-Victorian gingerbread homes, while the Asian-like neighborhoods reflected its individual cultural styles. Small shops, restaurants, and businesses were designed to be within easy walking distance from urban living spaces, and a massive construction which came to be known as the New Harbor Mallplex was to be the place of a world-class mall. An open marina area would handle private vessels and other recreational boating activities while the main industrial port would be established north of the city. Night also paid homage to the small former township of Morro Bay by recreating much of its original layout in an open-air environment reminiscent of a seaside village. The city and corporate centers were going to be the glittering locations of high-rises and parks, and it was here where Night showed off his personal architectural skills in the designs of the many corporate skyscrapers, which would become the most visible sign of the city's rising affluence.[2][10]

Construction & Renaming (1994 - 1998)[]

Construction began in May of 1994. Although Petrochem and MA&F were the major bankrollers for the Coronado Partnership, they weren't construction companies, and as such they needed someone who could bring in the machinery and workforce to actually dig the holes and put up the steel, an issue that eventually led to employ the mob.[2] The West Coast Mobs — such as the Mafia, Yakuza, and others — had maintained a stranglehold on heavy construction in the region for decades. They controlled the construction unions, transport unions, and most of the governmental agencies in charge of construction licenses, environmental impacts, and other building necessities. By investing a large amount of money into the Partnership, the organized crime mobs hoped they would not only make a huge return on lucrative construction work, but also have the inside track on future gambling, prostitution, and drug franchises in the new city. However, Night's plan required the use his own advanced building techniques and materials; which excluded a number of established unions and construction firms controlled by his new partners. This displeased them, and Night's further insistence that his new city would be safe and crime free angered them even more.[1][9][2]

During the first four years of construction, there were daily threats against Night's life, and when the threats escalated to the level of sabotage and intimidation, he called in his corporate partners, who dealt with the issue swiftly and ruthlessly. However, despite his influence and his allies promising to deal with it, Night's luck ran out. On September 20th 1998, he was shot and murdered in his penthouse suite at the top of the newly constructed Parkview Tower. Richard Night's killer was never apprehended, and in his memory, the newly appointed City Council officially renamed Coronado City as "Night City" in his honor.[1][2]

Interim (1998 - 2005)[]

A year after her husband's death, Miriam Night restructured Richard's company and founded Night's Foundation, with the primary goal to protect and promote her husband's vision of the perfect city. This foundation would eventually be reorganized to become Night Corporation.[8]

Night City's Combat Zone appeared sometime between 1998 and 2000. Ever since Night's death, the corporations and organized crime of that time carved up the city's resources, which resulted in the Night City Police Department becoming completely ineffective. Gangs, backed by corporate and Mob sponsors, established themselves in the suburbs south of Central Night City and in time, these gangs became so entrenched that the only way to remove them would be to demolish the entire area and start from scratch. There were many discussions on whether or not Night City should had walled it off, but in the end, no agency, either civil or corporate, was willing to take the initiative to began such a massive undertaking.[11]

The following years were chaotic as the different powers battled for control of Night City, while the mob bosses who had killed the magnate began to appropriate of most of the metropolis.[1][2]

Mob Rule (2005 - 2009)[]

By 2005, the mob was the dominant force around Del Coronado Bay. They had been left alone due to the corporations having little to no interest in running Night City, and had most of their corporate strongholds in the outlying "beavervilles" and their lofty Corporate Plaza. In the meantime, the City Council was unable to lead the metropolis without corporate masters to pull the strings and provide the muscle. The organized crime organizations were great in what they did, but it wasn't the same running a whole city.[2]

Between 2005 and 2009, much of the city's government was replaced by corrupt mob-selected puppets, and even Petrochem and MA&F found themselves shoved aside in the rush to make the quick illegal eurodollars. Between selling contracts to their colleagues, setting up drug and extortion deals, and generally inviting the worst of the Collapse into the area, the mobs managed to turn a relatively clean, modern metropolis into an embattled war zone. Crime, drugs, prostitution, random violence, and cybernetic terrorism soon became the rule of law. By 2009, the name Night City had taken on a grim and deadly new meaning.[2]

These were among the worst years for Night City, with more murders in that four-year span than there were for most cities in ten. The mob ruled the city with an iron fist, destroying anything in its way. Gang activity was at an all-time high during this period, with notorious gangs such as the Blood Razors or the Slaughterhouse making their debut. Night City soon became the closest thing to hell on earth; a war zone where someone were just as likely to have their car blown up as have their radio stolen. The number of unsolved murders documented by the Night City Police Department rose into the thousands.[2]

Mob War (2009 - 2011)[]

After four years of street warfare, the corporations around the city finally began to take matters into their own hands. From 2009 to 2011, during the period of conflict known as the Mob War, the corporations battled the underworld for control over Night City. They didn't go to war to help the citizens, but because it was business. Like a rival corporation, the mob had its own goals, and these didn't fit into the corporate agenda. If the mob was not ready to play by the rules, the corporations would deal with them on the same level. Led by Arasaka-trained paramilitary troops in assault vehicles, fan tanks, and combat aerodynes — a wave of bombings, assassinations, and outright street battles descended upon the mob's ill-prepared members. When the smoke cleared, the corporations had utterly destroyed the mob's power base in Night City. From that point onwards, any time the mob crossed one of the corps, they would make sure to do it by their rules.[1][2]

At the end of the Mob War, the corporations placed a puppet mayor in power and started cleaning up the rest of Night City. The newly elected City Council — faced with the return of chaos in the city — deputized corporate security forces and allowed them full authority within city limits. Soon after, the corporate and city centers were cleaned out and restored to their pristine states. The same was done to the other neighborhoods, to varying degrees.[1][2]

Corporate Rule (2011 - 2021)[]

After the governamental changes, the new corporate draconian policies contributed to the city's chronic homeless problem, as anyone who didn't have enough money to pay for the renovated version of the place they were living in were kicked out by force. This put hundreds on the street as affordable housing was upgraded and used to house the troops the corporations needed to maintain order. In the following years, this situation eased as fewer enforcers and security teams were needed to keep the streets safe.[1][2]

As negotiated in the Northern Separation Treaty of 2012 between the Californias, Night City was considered to be part of the Free State of Northern California; however, access was guaranteed to travelers from Southern California.[1]

By 2013, much of the worst excesses of Night City had been crushed under the ruthless heel of the megacorporations. The basic services such as police, firefighters, and support services had been reestablished. If the corporate masters were oppressive, at least to the average citizen, it was better than dodging gunfire on their way to the convenience store.[2] In April the 13th of that same year, famous rockerboy legend Johnny Silverhand held a riot and concert outside Arasaka Tower in order to lead a strike team into the building to rescue his girlfriend Alt Cunningham. Many rioters and employees died in the event, including the American branch CEO Toshiro Harada, who was murdered during Johnny's assault.[12] The tower was damaged badly, and over the following years was eventually replaced by the newly built towers.

By 2020, Night City was a rapidly growing urban region, still rife with urban violence and street crime, but with strong economic growth in the corporate sector. It had evolved into a busy, successful, yet perilous metropolis, but possessed an urban slick and stylish cool that made it unique. The city had all but healed from the ravages of its bleak past. The Corporate Plaza was still pristine, and the NCPD had enough power to keep the downtown streets fairly safe during the day. However, like many other American urban areas, Night City had also devolved into an armed society. It wasn't strange to see as many guns as briefcases on the crowded city streets. The city government kept the control, but when things got out of hand they depended on the corporations to step in. Deals got made, money changed hands, a few people got killed, but others managed to avoid death in turn. Night City was far from Richard Night's original dream, however it worked well enough.[1][2]

Fourth Corporate War (2021 - 2025)[]

Like many other cities around the globe during the Fourth Corporate War, Night City was also caught up in the power struggle between Militech and Arasaka. Due to its Free State status, NC was home to units on both sides of the conflict, and as such, it suffered badly from it. There were constant urban fights all over Night City, especially around the City & Corporate Centers, where both factions maintained substantial office complexes. Even before the nuclear event that wiped the downtown area out, people were abandoning the city in droves, doing whatever they could do to avoid getting sniped by drones, crushed by tanks, or just gunned down by corporate kill squads. A large area of Night City was wrecked and people were climbing all over themselves to get to safer spots like Heywood and Pacifica. Among all the chaos, both sides went over the line when the bomb went off.[citation needed]

The 140th floor tall Arasaka Towers were the North American base of operations of the Japanese corporation. The complex was among the tallest buildings that existed at the time, being the largest in Night City. On August 20 2023, a Militech incursion team led by Morgan Blackhand and Johnny Silverhand attempted an infiltration mission into the Towers in order to destroy Arasaka's Reliquary Database Project. The idea was to render the project unusable for the rival corp by using a tactical nuke with the planned area, a heavily shielded complex, to absorb the impact of the blast and prevent massive destruction. However, somehow the nuclear device prematurely detonated on the 120th floor of the southern tower. The explosion instantly obliterated the Arasaka Towers, splitting them in half and causing both structures to collapse outward. The entirety of the City & Corporate District turned into ruins within seconds, with almost everyone in the immediate area dying. The blast instantly incinerated over 12,000 people in the vicinity of the Towers, and fatally injured upwards of half a million more. Another quarter million died in the resulting aftermath over weeks and months. This event would be known as the Night City Holocaust, or the AHQ Disaster.[2][13]

Being technically an air blast detonation, it lessened the overall long-term radioactivity, and most of the remaining radiation penetrated only the huge skyscrapers surrounding the blast area. Since much of Night City and its surroundings were built on fill, and because the elevation was originally very low, the nuke caused a minor earthquake that liquefied parts of the fill and flooded the inner parts of the city. The huge blast turned the tons of raw concrete and steel of the buildings into particulate debris that covered the entirety of Northern California and far out to sea for many months, as well as igniting a fierce firestorm that covered thousands of acres beyond the city. The metropolis was barely habitable within 24 hours of the detonation. Lots of Night Citizens were unaffected by the initial fallout as they were mostly cybered up or had radioactivity filters installed in their bodies already. However, the firestorm destroyed a large portion of the city's housing, forcing people to move over to either the suburbs on the other side of the bays, or to the areas further out. The liquified shaking soil caused by the explosion broke gas mains, water pipes, and electrical grids. The combined dust cloud caused by the event spiraled up into the sky and turned it red with particulate matter for almost two years. Even many years after the explosion, suspended particles caused the skies at dawn and dusk to glow a lurid red, inspiring people who lived through that timespan to call it the Time of the Red.

Within hours of the disaster, then US President Elizabeth Kress — former Militech CEO — nationalized Militech through the expedience of their current CEO — General Donald Lundee — and his reserve commission, placing them under the control of the still sizable United States military. Kress blamed the Night City attack on the Japanese corporation and banished all of the Arasaka forces from the continental US. However, she was soon able to determine that the actual weapon used had been supplied by a Militech strike team.[2]

The Recovery (2025 - 2035)[]

Bringing the full force of her military and propaganda resources to bear, President Kress decided to paint a lurid picture of Arasaka as an evil foreign megacorporation run by a madman, who wanted only the destruction of an American city in the pursuit of personal power. Arasaka's charters to operate in the NUSA were immediately revoked, its members and board were declared terrorists, and its assets either seized or driven off-shore. The Big Lie pushed forward by Militech and the US was that Arasaka themselves had blown up the Corporate Center of Night City in an area denial attack to stop Militech from seizing control of the Arasaka Towers. The truth is it was never formally decided who had triggered the explosion. In the public's eyes, the reasoning for the nuclear detonation was never uncovered. Some believed it was Militech's overzealous desire to crush Arasaka, while others believed it was an area denial weapon set off to protect the Arasaka Towers.

Despite all the political play, President Kress showed little to no interest in helping Night City recover. Much as previous Presidents during the Collapse had done, she wrote the city off as unrecoverable and offered sanctuary in a New United States to the surviving refugees. There were two reasons for this; first, with the resources of the NUSA already stretched to the breaking point, there were too few options left for her. Second, the American President saw this as the perfect way to bring the wayward Free State of Northern California back into the government's control. Night City however, resisted the rule of the New United States.[2][8]

The Rebuilding (2035 - 2069)[]

Roughly two million people in the greater Night City area were left homeless due to the bomb, either directly or because of the flooding from the liquefaction of the city's foundations — which were built on fill and sand. Survivors fled into overcrowded tent shanty towns in the surrounding suburbs of North Oak, Westbrook, Pacifica, Heywood, and South Night City. But soon enough it was obvious that something needed to be done quickly.

The remnants of the Night City government and its citizens turned to outside resources, calling in old markers and favors from a wide variety of people — including nomad families, small corporations and edgerunners. Recovery was led by the Aldecaldos nomad clan and their allies in the StormTech Corporation. With a lot of experience in city rebuilding due to the Chicago project, StormTech and the Aldecaldos were uniquely equipped to construct extensive temporary housing from shipping containers, and afterwards formocrete modules brought in by rail and sea. Firstly though, the ground needed to be cleared to put up even these rudimentary structures.

Most of the central corporate zone had been destroyed, including the government buildings. The wreckage was far too vast to dig up and cart to distant landfills, so the survivors used bulldozers and jury–rigged main battle tanks — abandoned by both sides — to shove the debris into the bay. Night Corp offered generous rewards to anyone willing to help clean up the crater of radioactive rubble at ground zero. Both the corporation and the City Council claimed that casualties were kept to a minimum, while at the same time they didn't provide official statistics to substantiate said claim.[14] Much of Night City's inner neighborhoods had already been razed to the ground in the ceaseless battles preceding the Fall of the Towers, so the wreckage became the fill that new megabuildings and old cityscapes used to rise again, once more ready to challenge the smog-filled skies.

Many of the old districts had become a part of the new Combat Zones, and the original heart of the metropolis was still completely devastated. During the Time of the Red, an "ad hoc, loose grouping" of states known as the Pacifica Confederation was occupied restoring much of the infrastructure lost to the war. They allowed Night City to continue as an independent "city-state" of sorts, granting it the opportunity to become a free trade zone within the Confederation, as well as becoming an entry point for the rest of the world that did not want to deal with the US in any way. By the 2040s, most cities in the Confederation had CitiNets and Data Pools thanks to Ziggurat.[2]

By 2045, Night City was still in the process of rebuilding. This ongoing rebuilding period cemented Night City's relationship to the outer world. Abandoned by President Kress and the New United States, Night City had no intention of ever going back into their failing fold. At that time, there was a rampant speculation that the NUSA government had used Arasaka as a scapegoat for the nuclear detonation, obtaining with this the opportunity to slander the corp's reputation. It was at some point of the early 2040s when the truth was finally unveiled.

Trace Santiago, a young independent media, managed to obtain information about what truly went down in 2023, writing several exposes and books about the Fourth Corporate War and the Time of the Red. With this story published, the Big Lie — the deception created by President Kress to blame Arasaka for the AHQ Disaster — completely crumbled. This publication backfired spectacularly against Militech and the NUSA, driving Night City to realign itself with Arasaka rather than the United States. Despite this, many Night Citizens still believed Arasaka was responsible for the nuke, or at the very least they were responsible for the incident as the corporation was the reason the war reached Night City, since the metropolis was Arasaka's North American center of operations.[15] After these revelations, opinion was very divided, with many hating on Arasaka while others preferring to see the return of the Asian corporation rather than submit to the federal rule of the NUSA government.

As for the EEC and Soviet Union; Night City council considered them pleasant trading partners as long as they didn't disrupt the harmony of the city.[8][16][11]

In May 4th 2063, the Avian Extermination Act was approved by the City Council after a series of zoonotic disease outbreaks, eliminating all birds within 18 miles of the city limits. Personal pets could be kept though. Progressively, most of the animal wildlife in NC disappeared too.[10]

During the mid-2060s, the new Pacifica project was approved. With the economic recovery, investors sought an opportunity to make money on tourism. Billions of eurodollars were poured in an attempt to turn the southern suburbs of Night City into a booming tourist resort. Construction was well underway when the Unification War started. Most investors withdraw their funding, abandoning Pacifica and leaving it to the locals.[8]

Unification War (2069 - 2070)[]

At the end of 2069, the recently elected NUSA President Rosalind Myers, ex-CEO of Militech, proposed a federal rule designed to bring the Free States to heel by federalizing them under the pretense of strengthening the nation. Most of the American fully autonomous states opposed this unification, and conflict soon followed between the NUSA and a number of Free States — the Unification War.

Night City — at the time part of the Free State of Northern California — wanted to remain neutral in the conflict. NorCal had allied with the rest of Free States while SoCal had decided to back the NUSA government, thus positioning Night City in the middle of two warring states. Its citizens held their breath as they waited for federal troops to invade, though in the end they managed to barely avoid the fight. In early 2070, while a division of federal troops were advancing towards the outskirts of Night City, the then-Councilman Lucius Rhyne used his decade long list of contacts to beg the long-shunned Arasaka Corporation to protect them. A few days after the councilman's plea, an Arasaka supercarrier appeared in Del Coronado Bay and mere hours later the NUSA troops retreated.

Not long after Arasaka's open intervention, the Treaty of Unification was signed in June 2070, putting an end to the war. President Myers feared the increased presence of Arasaka could escalate the conflict, something the NUSA was not prepared for at the time. The treaty was unsatisfactory to all parties but was preferable rather than to continue the war and risking another global crisis.[8]

The treaty also rededicated Night City as an international autonomous free city, without having to answer the governance and laws of North California or the NUSA, and obtaining the title of Free City. However, this new liberty was paid costly as it allowed the megacorporations to further increase their rule over Night City, pumping money into its revitalization in order to establish a foothold on the North American West Coast. The symbolic pinnacle of this event took place that same year when the Night City government — which included the newly elected mayor Lucius Rhyne — gave Arasaka a seat in the City Council and allowed them to build their new American headquarters in the downtown area, on the site where their previous office had been destroyed in 2023. The city felt prosperity again, but it was not enjoyed by all.[17]

2070 - 2076[]

After the war, some investors tried to restart the Pacifica project, but they were met with resistance from the local community. The NCPD attempted to clear the area but to no avail. In fear of a bloodbath, the chief of the NCPD ordered the withdrawal and soon afterwards the City Council shut down all city services there to force the locals to leave — this attempt prove unsuccessful. Slowly, Pacifica turned into a new Combat Zone within the Night City area.

In the following years since their comeback, Arasaka extended its dominion over Night City. They were able to take out a number of corporate rivals, and build the impressive, yet ominous Arasaka Waterfront in Watson.

In 2072, an outbreak of zoonotic disease called the Rat Fever occurred in the city.[18]

In 2074, Night City celebrated the eightieth anniversary since its founding.[8] That same year, a cyberpsycho attack in Kabuki caused the death of three citizens. NUSA President Rosalind Myers, after hearing of said events, offered to help protect the NC citizens with forces from Militech. These words were sharply criticized by the Night City Police Commissioner at that time.[19]

In 2076, the city's birthrate fell by 7%, becoming the third worst decline in North America.[20]

2077[]

By 2077, real animals in Night City are more than a rarity to behold, and while cats were said to be the last ones to disappear, it is still possible to encounter them in a precious few locations.[21] The Night City Environmental Task Force have been using stray cats to address the rat plague in Watson.[22] Where these animals can be found it is clear that they are taken care of by the city citizens, at least in terms of primary needs, although it does appear that they remain unowned due to the absurdly extortionate pet tax. Birds have also been occasionally sighted.[23]

Power outages are a very common occurrence in the city.[24]

Mayor Rhyne was due for re-election in 2077. Councilman Jefferson Peralez, a staunch adversary of corporate influence, planned to run against him.[8] Rhyne unexpectedly died, with the official cause of death attributed to the implants regulating his heart malfunctioning. Deputy Mayor Weldon Holt became Acting Mayor, and a new election was called in which both Holt and Peralez announced they would run, along with several other unidentified candidates. Peralez eventually prevailed over Holt and the other candidates in the election, winning either a majority or a plurality of the vote, and became the next mayor of Night City.[10]

Database Entry (2077)[]

Night City

NIGHT CITY

The City of Dreams was founded in the 1990s by visionary industrialist Richard Night. When the world of late 20th century plunged into chaos, Night envisioned a modern metropolis free from crime, poverty and corruption. Corporate partners Arasaka, EBM, and Petrochem helped him realize this vision, investing in the foundation of what would become the Free City of Night City. The city would develop into a haven for young idealists and a beacon for others who sought to fulfill their own dreams. And although Richard fell to assassins and many new generations seeking fame, fortune and freedom have suffered their own series of setbacks, the city's legendary status endures today. Night City has it all: from the monumental skyscrapers of industry-leading megacorporations, to the luxury villas of world-renowned stars, to the lawless neighborhoods where war is waged every day. You will stumble across mercenaries, gangs and famous rockers, but also junkies, bums and even cyberpsychos. You will stand in the shadows of colossal megabuildings and get lost in the maze of streets, alleys and markets. You will make your dreams come true or die trying.[10]

Geography[]

Badlands Concept Art1

Night City metropolitan area.

Night City is located on the West Coast of the New United States of America, within Del Coronado Bay area. Nearby city travel ranges from 4 to 6 hours to San Francisco and Los Angeles, depending on road gang conditions and road quality.[2]

After the rebuild stage, the city's location remained largely the same, with slight differences it the landscape around it. Night City is surrounded by the Badlands, which is mostly unpleasant, however due to the Biotechnica protein farms, the south side is considered not as bad as the eastern part of the surrounding region.

1990s Distribution[]

After buying out the terrains of Morro Bay and its surroundings — including areas of Los Osos as well — Richard Night begun the construction of his city by first rearranging the terrain. Keeping with Night's vision, Coronado City was originally divided into neighborhoods — each with a different architectural style and theme. Night hoped to bring in a vibrant multi-cultural population attracted to each neighborhood.[2]

2000s - 2020s Distribution[]

With Richard Night's death, the then renamed Night City disintegrated into a hodgepodge of competing districts, savaged by gangs, and later controlled by domineering megacorporations. Besides the neighborhoods, the city was also surrounded by larger suburban areas.[2]

In the original Cyberpunk 2020 TTRPG, the city was additionally ordered by Sections, being A through C Central Night City, D the violent crime-ridden hell known as the Combat Zone, and E through J the wider suburban areas.[1]

2030s - 2040s Distribution[]

Night City was devastated during the Fourth Corporate War. After the nuke, the majority of the population became homeless and the sky was red for decades — a period known as the Time of the Red. During the next decades, Night City was in the process of rebuilding. The old neighborhoods of the 2020 period had been rearranged, renamed, or even scraped off into the bay if they were still too radioactive. Many of the old districts had also become a part of the extended Combat Zone, and the original heart of the metropolis was still completely devastated. Locals began to refer to these areas based on the type of environment they were dominated by. In addition to the urban re-designation, each new area was given a "threat rating" by the City Council — a designation of how dangerous the area was.[2]

Locations Zones & Areas
Rebuilding Urban Zones The Glen, Little Europe, Pacifica Playground, University District, Upper Marina, Watson Development (NorCal Military Base)
Combat Zones Little China, Old Combat Zone, Old Japantown, South Night City
Hot Zone Old Bank Block, Old City Center, Old Corporate Center, Old Medical Center
Overpacked Suburbs Heywood-Santo Domingo (Heywood Industrial Zone), New Westbrook, Rancho Coronado
Del Coronado Bay Morro Rock
Other Areas Badlands, Executive Zone, Open Road, Reclaimed Perimeter

2070s Distribution[]

After the Time of the Red and the Unification War, Night City was mostly rebuilt and had maintained its autonomy. By 2077, the city was overrun with crime, its rate doubling that of the NUSA. The homeless population had been a problem since the early 2000s, and in 2077 had risen 300%. Each district was dominated by at least one powerful gang.[25] The city was divided into six districts — each with their own environment and denizens — and 16 official sub-districts. The total size of the city was around 75.42 km².[4]

Districts & Locations Sub-districts & Areas Information
City Center Corporate Plaza, Downtown The City Center is Night City's corporate showcase. Sleek skyscrapers form a brutalist, fortress-like skyline, presenting the unrivaled power of megacorps in all its arrogance. Since 2020, the City Center has become the most fortified and secure part of Night City.
Heywood The Glen, Vista del Rey, Wellsprings Heywood is a neighborhood of contrast—from modern skyscrapers and parks in the north, to dangerous, inhospitable slums in the south. It's known as "the biggest bedroom in Night City," where gangs like the Valentinos and 6th Street get down to business—legal and illegal alike.
Pacifica Coastview, Dogtown, West Wind Estate Pacifica could have been Night City's money-making vacation resort, but once the investment dried up it became a husk left to rot. Now, instead of tourists, the district is a Combat Zone overrun by gangs and violence, with the Voodoo Boys protecting the community forsaken by the NCPD. The walled-up Dogtown is ruled by Colonel Kurt Hansen and his BARGHEST militia.
Santo Domingo Arroyo, Rancho Coronado Santo Domingo is one of Night City's oldest districts. Corporations use it as a testing ground for industrial projects, destroying old factories just to build new ones, while residents scrape a desperate living in crowded megabuildings — wishing for something better.
Watson Arasaka Waterfront, Kabuki, Little China, Northside Industrial District Watson used to have it all - nightclubs, skyscrapers, corporate offices, a top-end medcenter — but economic disaster put an end to all that. Now, it's known as "the bad neighborhood of Night City," the kind of place that suits gangs like Maelstrom and Tyger Claws down to the ground.
Westbrook Charter Hill, Japantown, North Oak Westbrook is considered by many to be the best place to live and have fun in Night City. If you've got eddies, you come here to spend them. And if you don't? Well, take out a loan and pretend you're on top of the world — even for just one glorious night. The Tyger Claws own this district and operate many businesses.
Badlands Eastern Wastelands, Laguna Bend, Northern Oilfields, Southern Desert Sparsely populated by nomads, the Badlands are the vast plains outside of the city proper. Unchecked resource extraction, burning oil fields, rampant pollution; this region makes Night City feel like a rich oasis. But it holds golden opportunities for those in the know.
Del Coronado Bay Morro Rock This large bay borders the western limits of Night City, providing access to the Pacific Ocean.

Climate[]

Night City's Northern Californian location gives it one of the most pleasant climates in the Western part of the NUSA. Normal temperatures range from the mid 80°F to low 50°F (26°C to 10°C), with misty white fog blanketing the City in the early mornings and evenings. Night City receives around 21 inches of rainfall each year. Of this water that drops, around 35% contains toxic chemicals which is higher than the current government standards for the United States produced vehicles, clothing, and food. On average, if a person's vehicle and clothing are rated above SP 12, adverse effects (staining and ablation) will be negligible.

When one visits Night City, they should wear light to medium weight clothing, with an optional light armor jacket or ballistic-cloth overcoat. A filter mask and supplemental oxygen, hedges against inversion smog and acid rain fog, are highly recommended as well. That being said, acid-proof slickers, umbrellas, and air masks are readily available from the sidewalk vendors or smaller street stores during smog warning periods. The average cost of these items can range from €$20 to €$35.

Government and politics[]

Night City flag
Night City Logo 2077

Night City is a democratic mayoralty with a corporate-controlled city council. In mayoral elections, votes are cast via a Data Term using IdentiCard registration software, and the winner of an election is determined by a simple majority of the popular vote. The Night City Council consists of 100 members, each of whom are usually backed by one of the top ten largest corporations present in Night City.

In 2045, during the Time of the Red, Night City's government continued to exist in a technical state of emergency due to the destruction and disruption caused by the Night City Holocaust of 2023. The office of mayor had been left vacant for years, and the city was instead ruled by the City Council, which took the form of a junta representing survivors of the previous city government, edgerunner and nomad factions, and numerous corporations — including Zetatech, Biotechnica, Petrochem, and secretly Arasaka. The Council appointed City Managers to oversee basic services in each of the city's districts and neighborhoods. Without a mayor or strong central leadership, friction between the Council's factions frequently led to disputes that were sometimes settled with violence on the streets. Since no single faction was able to gain a decisive advantage over the others, they all kept to their own areas of interest as much as possible to keep fighting to a minimum.[26]

Georgina Zembinsky is the district attorney of Night City.

Mayor of Night City[]

The Mayor of Night City is the city's highest governing representative, and oversees the Treasurer's Office, the deputies to the mayor, and directs the heads of the city's departments, including the NCPD. They have the power to appoint department heads and commissioners as well as remove public officials from office.

The city's system of governance is based on the authority of the mayor in cooperation with the City Council. Part of the mayor's proposals are subject to approval from the council.

With every new mayor comes an office with new personnel.[27]

Mayors[]

Night City Council[]

The Night City Council is one of the ruling bodies of Night City. Its 100 members are elected along neo-democratic lines by the then largest corporations headquartered in the city.

The city's system of governance is based on the authority of the mayor in cooperation with the Night City Council, as such, part of the mayor's proposals are subject to approval from the City Council.[27]

Council members[]

Economy[]

Business sectors[]

The business sectors of Night City include manufacturing industries, international trade and commerce, information services, electronic technologies, security services, and so on. While cities like Tokyo, New York or Singapore have been overrun by corporations by the 2000s, Night City was the only city in the world that was built by the corporations. Some of the biggest megacorporations in the world contributed to the construction of the city and many were located in the Corporate Center in 2020. After the war, and the subsequent reconstruction of Night City, Corpo Plaza became a symbol of the megacorps' grasp on the city.

Corporations[]

Night City was founded through the efforts of a partnership of five major corporations, and as of 2077 it continues to serve as a haven for numerous global corporations due to its status as a free city and pro-corporate government policies such as a 0.7% tax rate on corporate profits.[37] Night City's biggest ally is Arasaka, which provides employment for many citizens and ensures the city remains independent by backing it with its military strength.[1]

Coronado Partnership[]

Post-founding notable corporations[]

Sports[]

By 2077, Night City has two notable sports franchises: the Night City Corsairs football team, and the Night City Blackouts basketball team. While the Corsairs recently achieved a notable victory against the San Diego Shredders due to their Night Corp sponsorship giving them access to cutting-edge cyberware designed specifically for the sport, the Blackouts are in the midst of a long losing streak.

American Football
Basketball
Miscellaneous

Infrastructure[]

Transportation[]

Night City hosts an extensive network of urban freeways and rapid transit networks. Getting from the city's various districts is seamless and effective except for in districts where the infrastructure has been damaged such as in Pacifica. Interstate 828, 928 and 16 are freeways in 2020 although it is uncertain whether these have since been renamed, rebuilt or remain unchanged in 2077. Also, the spaceport is an aerospace center in Night City, allowing for space transportation.

Maglev[]

In 2020, Night City was part of the intercontinental Maglev Network. It was abandoned during the Fourth Corporate War, but there are plans to revitalizing it by the late 2070s. At least another maglev line is shown in the Phantom Liberty Cinematic Trailer, which goes through Santo Domingo south to SoCal.

Airports/Spaceports[]

In 2020, the Night City Metropolitan Airport was the main airfield in NC. After the 4th Corporate War, the Night City International and Translunar Spaceport was built on Del Coronado Bay's Morro Rock island, west on the city.

Law enforcement and crime[]

Operating as an autonomous territory separate from the rest of the NUSA, Night City's borders are patrolled by Arasaka contractors. The Night City Police Department holds jurisdiction over domestic security, although the personal security detail of the mayor is handled by a team of handpicked corporate huscle (hired muscle). In 2077, there were two known prisons in the city area: Night City Prison and Los Padres Penitentiary.

Development[]

Night City has gone through many changes since its creation in 1989. The city was initially made with a layout similar to San Francisco, but with the introduction of its suburbs - and later its renewed appearance in Cyberpunk RED and Cyberpunk 2077 - it has changed significantly. While the main RPG area of the game in Cyberpunk 2013 and Cyberpunk 2020 was Central Night City (mostly 2077's City Center and some areas of Heywood), during the development of both RED and 2077 it was decided to expand the city and incorporate its surroundings, and at the same time the city's geography was made to resemble that of the real Morro Bay.

I'll fill you in now; you won't be able to fit the NCART transit map over the old Night City Map because the 2077 map includes larger surrounding areas equivalent to Oakland, Berkeley, South San Francisco and San Jose. The Night City paper game maps are only of the Central City, the equivalent of San Francisco.
In addition, during all the back and forth, we (RTG and CDPR) shifted and moved some locations so that players wouldn't have HUGE transit times between regions. This is described in Cyberpunk RED, where we talk about how the Bay and surrounds were moved and partially filled in (with radioactive mud!) to a level equivalent to three or four Treasure Islands (see San Francisco Bay maps for reference). We also made the mapping match up closer to the original Morro Bay location (in the interval between the 1980's and now, I took up the study of geology and now know more about how to shape and change land forms). So in both 2077 and RED, Night City is a compromise between what was in the past and what works in the present, both in game reality and game design. Especially as we figured no one wanted to spend 45 minutes in commute traffic between Watson and Pacifica.[38]

Location[]

According to Mike Pondsmith and R. Talsorian Games, Night City occupies the same area as Morro Bay and Baywood-Los Osos, two towns located on the Californian central coast. But the geography has been heavily modified in the lore and it doesn't really resemble the real location anymore. See also: Morro Bay; Los Osos.

  • Night City was created on the "bones" of Morro Bay, a town I often drove through on my various road trips. I liked the place and in one of those flights of fancy young designers have, I wondered what it would take to buy the whole thing. The basic structure is still there in the Night City map, if one allows for an impressive amount of fill required to build out the upper area around the "Rock." (this is not unthinkable--a large amount of downtown Seattle and San Francisco were both built on fill: image). I actually have a map that shows how the whole thing goes together geologically; one day I'll have to post it. And no, it's NOT in Coronado in southern Cali. I used to live in San Diego, and I know the difference. ;)[39]
  • I'm surprised that this is news; I wrote this out years ago and it's no secret. I picked the location because it matched the general terrain and geology I wanted, and was at a choke point on the Cali coast that would be perfect for the Free State. The names were generally picked out of a hat from all the places I've lived in California over the years--there's no real rhyme or reason there. Here's a reconstruction of what I was doing back then in 1980-something... image Yes, the Rock is to the very north of Night City in my original design. I just didn't point it out at the time. In my personal campaigns, it's been built into a fortress/arcology kind of like a mini Gibraltar. But your mileage may vary. However, remember that Night City is a heavily fictionalized locale and there's no reason that the end result has to look like Morro Bay. I've given CDPR plenty of room to mess with stuff as they see fit. So don't take this musing about a 30 year old decision too seriously, neh?[40]
  • I never expected this to be that interesting. Night City started out as a map of Morro Bay, where I used to drive thru on occasion. The City was on the tip of the isthmus. But I realized I needed more room for the City, so I filled in part of the real bay and then cut the isthmus apart in the south to allow a lower harbor, using San Francisco as a model. So Los Osos is where Rancho Cornonado and Heywood would be. Of course, the place has been heavily fictionalized since then so that it doesn't really match any real place in California any more.[41]
  • I've spent (with Patrick at CDPR's help) an unholy number of hours tracking the evolution of Night City from the real Moro Bay (actually Moro Bay and Los Osos), through the 2020 period, to the RED period to 2077. Geologic maps and everything. Most of this will (up to 2045) will be in the upcoming Cyberpunk RED Edition. That should help settle most of your questions.[42]

Notes[]

  • A Cyberpunk 2077 loading screen originally stated "In the year 2076, Night City's population fell by 29.24% - the third worst decline in North America." This was changed to "In the year 2076, Night City's birthrate fell by 7% - the third worst decline in North America."

Trivia[]

  • The street grids of Night City in Cyberpunk 2013 and 2020 draw some resemblance from the downtown street grid of San Francisco.
  • Despite being located in the real world area of Morro Bay, a number of maps have placed Night City in different areas across the Cyberpunk series, albeit it has always been consistently on the Central Californian coast: Monterey Bay or slightly south of it, seen in some Cyberpunk 2013 and 2020 maps; near Ragged Point, between Monterey proper and San Luis Obispo, seen in some 2020, V3.0, and more recently in 2077 maps.
  • Hiroshi Sakakibara, Environment City Coordinator at CD Projekt Red, when asked about what was the main inspiration for Night City in Cyberpunk 2077 during the Tokyo Game Show 2020, mentioned how Blade Runner was one of more obvious inspirations. Sakakibara also said the team had learned from Japanese anime and manga in the genre, such as Akira and the Ghost in the Shell series.[43]
  • CD Projekt Red hired real city planners to ensure that no corners were cut when it came to the development of one of the most lived-in cities ever made for a video game.
  • The name "Night City" was previously used in William Gibson's cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, in which it is a stretch of old streets between Chiba Port and either Chiba City proper or Toyko.

References[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 PONDSMITH, M. Night City Sourcebook. 1st ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1991. (pp.6,33–34)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (pp.240,256,258–259,269,274–314)
  3. R. Talsorian Games on Twitter
  4. 4.0 4.1 BATYLDA, M. The World of Cyberpunk 2077. 1st ed. Milwaukie, OR, Dark Horse Books, 2020. (Deluxe Edition Image)
  5. nightcitylove.com
  6. Mike Pondsmith on Reddit 1
  7. Night City, Database Entry in Cyberpunk 2077
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 BATYLDA, M. The World of Cyberpunk 2077. 1st ed. Milwaukie, OR, Dark Horse Books, 2020. (pp.18–24,113)
  9. 9.0 9.1 PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk 2020 Corebook. 2nd ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1990. (p.216)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 CD Projekt RED. Cyberpunk 2077. Video Game, Multi-Platform. Poland, CD Projekt S.A., 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Countdown to the Dark Future (#59,#265,#327)
  12. Never Fade Away (adventure)
  13. The Fall of the Towers
  14. Nomads at Ground Zero
  15. JGray on Reddit - "Official lore here: · Many people believe Araska is responsible the nuke in Night City. Even with Trace publishing an expose plenty of people still believe it. · Even if they don't think Night City is responsible for the nuke, they know Araska is why the war happened in Night City to begin with as it was the center of their North American operations.· The Japanese government banned Arasaka from operating overseas following the war. The ban is still in place in 2045."
  16. PONDSMITH, M. et al. Cyberpunk RED Jumpstart Kit. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2019. (pp.14–15,24 – World Book)
  17. LUDKOWSKI, Ł. Cyberpunk 2077 World Compendium. Manual. Poland, CD Projekt S.A., 2020.
  18. Cyberpunk 2077 News Broadcasts
  19. Old World News Service broadcasting station/Computers
  20. Cyberpunk 2077 - Loading screen text: "In the year 2076, Night City's birthrate fell by 7% - the third worst decline in North America."
  21. Gimme Danger
  22. Humans of Night City — Nibbles on CD Projekt RED Forums
  23. All Along the Watchtower
  24. SZTYBOR, B. Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout Issue #1. CD Projekt RED/Dark Horse Comics, 2022.
  25. Cyberpunk 2077: Deep Dive on Youtube
  26. PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (p.300)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Mayor Office website in Cyberpunk 2077
  28. Gig: Serial Suicide
  29. Gig: Heaviest of Hearts
  30. Gig: The Frolics of Councilwoman Cole
  31. Cyberpunk 2077: You Have My Word
  32. Seen in the cafe in front of Arasaka Tower, near the fast travel point, being pressured by an Arasaka representative to throw his support behind a measure that would allow Arasaka to buy a building in Japantown.
  33. Archived Conversation: Dakota
  34. Gig: MIA
  35. Cyberpunk 2077 Websites - Night City Mayor website
  36. Night City Council elections! Vote for Emilio Gutierrez!
  37. Holt/Peralez Mayoral Debate
  38. Mike Pondsmith on Reddit 2
  39. Mike Pondsmith on Reddit 3
  40. Mike Pondsmith on Reddit 4
  41. Mike Pondsmith on Reddit 5
  42. Mike Pondsmith on Reddit 6
  43. Youtube Video


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