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River Ward is a former NCPD detective in Night City. He is also a possible romance option for V in Cyberpunk 2077.


Early Life[]

Growing up, River and his sister Joss' parents ran a small farm. Eventually it went out of business as larger corporations took over the agriculture industry. His parents took to running a grocery store and the family of four lived in the apartment area above it.[4][5]

One day, some drugged up thugs broke in looking for cash and, when they didn't find any in the store, went into the living quarters and demanded money from the father, who swore they had nothing else. Not satisfied with that response, one of the thugs killed River and Joss' father and then put a gun in River's hand and had him point it at his own mother's head, demanding he shoot and kill her. River stalled, terrified, to the point the thug gave up trying to bait the child and took the gun and killed their mom himself before the thugs ran off, leaving River and Joss alive but now parentless. The siblings were then sent off to an orphanage to be cared for but the NCPD never caught the thugs who killed their parents. With this lack of justice, River saw this as complete incompetency regarding the NCPD and made it his goal to become a detective to solve cases like what happened to his family.[4]

Adult Years[]

Sometime prior to 2077, River had become an NCPD detective and was first partnered with Jamie Sheen, but Jamie later committed suicide over his frustration with how the top brass cared more about bribes rather than upholding the law. River continued serving as a detective though and sometime later was partnered with another detective, Harold Han, and even worked with well-established people like Jefferson Peralez.[6]

Meanwhile his sister, Joss, had married an Aldecaldo with whom she had three children with: Randy, Dorian, and Monique. With his brother-in-law not being much of a father figure, River would step in and help take care of the children, particularly when he once caught his brother-in-law with one of his young sons, Dorian, at a dive bar in the middle of the night, so the detective took his nephew home much to his brother-in-law's ire. When Joss' husband later died, River continued to try and help support her and her children by buying them a new trailer to live in, which resulted in Randy taking over the old one as his own place. However, River and Joss eventually had a falling out sometime before 2077 over River's driven desire to bring justice for his victims' cases to the point it was all he could talk and think about, with little regard for his own family issues.[7][4]

At one point in 2077, he got a solid tip that Mayor Lucius Rhyne's life was in danger and had set out to speak with the mayor's security when a cyberpscyho, Péter Horváth, attacked right after River got there. River managed to incapacitate the would-be attacker before they could find and kill the mayor and the deputy mayor, Weldon Holt. River was subsequently celebrated by the press as "super cop" and received the Medal of Merit.[8] However, Rhyne ended up dying anyways later that day from a separate heart problem. This odd coincidence didn't go unnoticed to River, but he had no way to really link the two incidents, especially as his superior ordered him to drop the case and even his partner, Harold, warned him to not re-open it.[6]

If V completes I Fought the Law:

River got a call soon after from V, who was being tasked by the Peralezes to find out what really happened to Rhyne as they had their own suspicions about his untimely death. Together, River and V tracked down the Red Queen's Race, an invitation-only sex club that Rhyne had visited on the night of his death. They learned that Rhyne had died in the club from a virus-spiked braindance, and Deputy Mayor Weldon Holt had ordered Detective Han to cover it up. While V reported the findings to the Peralezes, River decided to try to re-open the inquest into Rhyne's death. However, when he confronted Han about his own actions in the coverup, he was told once more to drop it. Undeterred, he decided to take it up with his superiors but ultimately got suspended from the force instead.[6]
While still suspended, he came to believe that his missing nephew, Randy Kutcher, had been abducted by Anthony Harris, the man behind the "Peter Pan" child abductions, after seeing a video where Anthony was being chased by NCPD before being shot while one of his newer victims in the video had Randy's shoes on. However, while Anthony was still alive, he was comatose, preventing the NCPD from determining where his other victims were kept. Dismayed that the Peter Pan case was assigned to Detective Gonaghal, who was unlikely to pursue it seriously, River asked V to help him so that he could rescue Randy, conveniently leaving out that he'd been suspended from the force.[7]

If V agrees to help with The Hunt:
Together, they infiltrated a NCPD-contracted medical lab in The Glen which had been experimenting with scrolling braindances of dreams for therapeutic and investigative purposes, hoping to examine any braindances of Anthony's dreams. They were confronted by Dr. Yawen Packard, an old girlfriend of River's, who revealed that Anthony was not dreaming due to his condition. With no other leads, River decided to break the news that Randy had been abducted to Joss and search Randy's room for clues to his whereabouts leading up to his disappearance, as well as any sensory stimulus that could be used to make Anthony dream. They found Randy had a new laptop and had come into contact with Anthony through a secret website hidden on a false website for people looking to kick their drug abuse habits. Thanks to a cartoon that Randy had downloaded from the site, Yawen was able to trigger Anthony's dreams.[7]

If not enough clues were found and V guessed the wrong farm:
River and V will drive to Poppy Farm where they defeat some Wraiths and quickly see that it is the wrong one. Finally arriving at Edgewood Farm, both find out that they came too late and that Randy is dead. River collapses and later gets angry with V, regretting that he did not hire a professional instead. River vows to kill Anthony Harris with or without V's help. Some time later he will send a text message to V, notifying them that the deed is done and bidding final goodbye. River later gets into a bar fight with someone who was talking badly about Anthony's victims, which lands him in the precinct prison in Little China. From there he leaves a video message played during the end credits and asks V to bail him out.

If enough clues were found or V guessed the right farm to locate Randy but V abandoned the search:
With V's help, River was able to deduce that Anthony must have been using Edgewood Farm to hold his victims, but V chose to not go any further in assisting River. In turn, River headed out on his own to rescue Randy but, ill-prepared for the defenses Anthony had set up around the farm, he was summarily killed and wasn't able to save Randy.

If enough clues were found or V guessed the right farm to locate Randy and V didn't abandon the search:
With V's help at analyzing the braindances, River was able to deduce that Anthony must have been using Edgewood Farm to hold his victims. The two set out to the farm, which was now heavily armed, but managed to get through the defenses and rescue Randy and several other victims that Anthony had been force-feeding and injecting with hormones via equipment designed for livestock.
While they had managed to rescue his nephew, River still felt that Anthony should die for what he did to all his victims. With this in mind, he went to the hospital where the comatose murderer was being kept and put his gun against the man's head, intent on killing him. As he stood there though, he had flashbacks to his childhood when the thug tried to make him shoot his mother and realized he'd be no better than that thug if he went through with the execution. With that, he left the hospital, letting Anthony live. A short time later, River invited V over for a dinner with his family.[4]
As they hung out together before their jambalaya cookout, River eventually revealed to V how he decided to not kill Anthony, explaining what happened to his parents caused him to not go through with it. The two enjoyed the rest of the night having dinner with his family and playing games. As Joss and the kids started to make comments regarding V's romantic life (Joss being curious about a male V herself or pointing out River's affection for a female V), River decided to rescue V from that "ambush", taking them up on the adjacent water tower to enjoy the view. There River gifted V his revolver, Crash, noting it carried too many bad memories for him.[4]

If V is female and kisses River on the water tower during Following the River:
V can accept River's advances by kissing him, initiating the romance story path with him (see Romancing River).

If V is male or rejects River's advances on the water tower during Following the River:
If V is male and tried to kiss him, River will react startled, causing V to say "Look, no need to explain. I get it. And it's fine." Alternatively, V can simply do nothing flirtatious or simply reject River's advances (as female V); in any case the two will have some drinks, either lemonade or something stronger, and V will wake up in the Kutcher's home the next morning while River is already up. He will depart promptly to see Randy in the hospital, but tells V to take their time.
Following their night together (with or without romance), River can be called or visited at the Kutcher's home and tells V that, knowing his time with the NCPD was at an end, he decided to become a private investigator instead. Although he still was not sure how to market himself, he decided he would like to specialize in kidnapping to help other families that experienced what happened to his.[4]

If River was not romanced and "The Devil" ending was chosen:
After having the relic surgically removed and seeking support from a friend, V can call River from the Arasaka Orbital Station. However, River cuts V short, saying that it is a bad time and asks if he can call back. He then hangs up and will not pick up again.[9]
If he was not romanced and either "The Devil", "The Sun", or "The Star" endings were chosen, a video message from River is played during the end credits, in which he says to use confiscated goods including weapons to equip "more people like V", which the city needs.

Database Entry[]

River Ward

River Ward thought that nothing could top becoming an NCPD detective - that things could only get easier from there. Well, turns out that always doing the right thing in Night City is harder than just getting a title. Every day for River is a moral struggle - either he plays the game, or he gives up a slice of his soul. If he lets his guard down for even one second, some ganger will get the best of him. In spite of all this, River shows up for work every morning with a can-do attitude. Maybe it's his way of coping, or because he doesn't know how to do anything else.[5]


If V has a feminine body (regardless of voice type and genitalia), they can pursue a romantic relationship with River. With only three missions, none of which are part of the main story, River is the romantic option with the shortest storyline.

Romancing River[]

No romantic advances are made by either side during I Fought the Law or The Hunt. The first indication of affection is actually given by Joss in the kitchen during Following the River, when she mentions to V that River "can't seem to stop gushing about you". Later during dinner, Joss repeats her observation, noting that her brother likes V, slightly embarrassing a shy River. V can ask whether River actually put his sister up to saying that, which she admits to be true. River's nephews, Dorian and Monique, then make the situation even more awkward as they both raise hands asking "Who thinks V and Uncle River make a good couple?". V can choose to also raise her hand after which River gets up from the table, saying that he pulls V out of this "ambush". If V does not raise her hand, River will simply remark "Now that that's decided...". In any case, River then takes V on top of the adjacent water tower, a great spot for the views, as River puts it. After gifting V his gun, Crash, River asks whether she knows why they are there together, adding "Say you do. Please don't string me along." V can choose to tell River about previous, horrible pickup lines guys tried on her. Eventually, he asks whether he stands a chance, to which V can either react positively, but adding that he better not fall in love with her (to which he responds "Too late."), or negatively, adding that they can stay friends. In the former case, V will then get the option to kiss River or a last chance to back down and abort the flirt. Friend-zoning River or aborting the flirt at the last minute will result in the evening playing out as if V was male without romance (see Biography). Kissing River, on the other hand, will initiate a cut-scene of both passionately kissing, making their way back to the house, sneaking by the sleeping kids, and having sex in River's room while staying as quiet as possible.

The next morning, Johnny appears and comments "Christ, V. Can't believe you're making me fuck a cop. Gonna go plug my ears, gouge my eyes.". Over some coffee, River asks whether their relationship is going anywhere longer term. V can choose to tell River about the relic and her impending death. Eventually, V can choose to kiss River and accept a relationship (to which both comment with "Let's give it a try.") or reject him, either claiming that it was just a one-night-stand (to which River reacts calmly but disappointed) or that V's condition simply keeps her from making such a commitment (to which River reacts understanding). Joss then comes in and cuts their conversation short, reminding River to get the power generator fixed so everything is ready for when Randy gets out of the hospital.

After this, River can be found at the Kutcher's home. If V agreed to a relationship with River, she can ask him if he is upset that V is busy (to which he responds "We'll make up for it.") or tell him that things are not working out between the two. The latter option will prompt V to quickly move on by saying "[...] Rambling. Just forget I said anything." to which River replies "Already forgotten.". River will also send a couple of romantic text messages to V, one ending with "I've got a good feeling about this, And well.. I'm just happy, like, dumb happy, you know? You're really amazing, V".


If V has romanced River and chooses to contact him to say goodbye at the end of the mission Nocturne Op55N1, she will refer to him as "that one stubborn badge" toward Johnny, to which he only replies: "Mhm". Different endings with River as romantic partner are then possible, but not all allow you to maintain the relationship:

If V contacts River to say goodbye and asks Rogue for help or decides to go in alone during Nocturne Op55N1 (maintain relationship):

Opting for "The Sun" ending (choosing (Don't Fear) The Reaper or asking Rogue for help, which requires completing Blistering Love), will result in V waking up in bed in the penthouse together with River at the beginning of Path of Glory, a few months after Nocturne Op55N1. V can choose to give him a wake-up kiss before hopping in the shower, where he subsequently joins V. However, while having coffee River points out that something has been wrong since V's encounter with Mikoshi. V insists that there is one last job she needs to do and that she has to do it without River's help. He then wishes her good luck and promises to wait for her. In a video message during the end credits, River invites V to dinner the following week to celebrate Randy's birthday. Joss and Dorian can be heard in the background and River points out that it would mean a lot to them if V could come.

If V contacts River to say goodbye and accepts Hanako Arasaka's offer to help during Nocturne Op55N1 (maintain relationship):

Opting for "The Devil" ending (accepting Hanako Arasaka's offer to help), V can call River from the orbital facility during Where is My Mind?. River keeps being distracted by his nephew but asks V to give him the name of the orbital station so he can fly up to get them. V does not know anything about the station and River warns V not to trust Arasaka. He ends the call with "Gonna find you. Hear me?". Regardless of whether V then chooses to accept Arasaka's offer or to return to Earth, the video message during the end credits is identical to the one played for "The Sun" ending (see above).

If V contacts River to say goodbye and asks Panam for help during Nocturne Op55N1 (breakup):

Opting for "The Star" ending (asking Panam for help, which requires completing Queen of the Highway), will result in V and River being briefly reunited at the temporary Aldecaldos camp during All Along the Watchtower. River came to the camp to talk to V before she heads for the border and leaves the area. Not wishing to abandon Night City's citizens including his sister Joss and the kids, whom he still felt the need to protect and support, River remarks that what V actually needs is a family. V can choose to ask whether he really wants to sacrifice everything for the sake of Night City, to which River replies that V might have found his family with the Aldecaldos and he likewise needs to be with his own. V can then hug River goodbye, after which he comments "Think we knew we wouldn't get a happily-ever-after. Think we both knew." In a video message during the end credits, River mentions pictures V sent him of the Badlands and says he will visit once Joss gets back on her feet.

If V reaches Mikoshi but then gives his body to Johnny Silverhand:

Opting for the "Temperance" ending, i.e., reaching Mikoshi alone ((Don't Fear) The Reaper) or with the help of either Rogue or the Aldecaldos but then joining cyberspace with Alt and giving your body to Johnny Silverhand will prevent any further interaction with River during the epilogue. In his video message during the end credits, River says he has been searching everywhere but cannot find V. Adding that "it's like you're a ghost", River ends with a plea for her to call him.

If V accepts the NUSA's offer to cure them (Phantom Liberty):

Opting for the "Tower" ending will see V enter a two-year coma after undergoing surgery to remove the relic. upon waking up, V will have the option to call River. At first River will be angry, believing it to be some kind of joke, but after V has a chance to explain their situation River will calm down and apologize. When V suggests meeting up, River will tell V he is a wanted man, revealing he sold classified NCPD information to Trauma Team to pay for Randy's rehab. Too ashamed to face V in person, River will hang up shortly after.

Associated Quests[]

Main Quests[]

Side Quests[]


Type Products
Cyberware Cyberoptic, Cyberhand
Abilities Combat Stim,[10] Flashbangs[10]
Weaponry Crash (formerly, dependent)
Clothing River's tank top (formerly, dependent)
Vehicles Thorton Mackinaw MTL1


  • River is the only main romanceable character who can die (if the player abandons him during The Hunt). In that case, a slot at the Columbarium dedicated to River will appear reading "Until we meet again.".
  • River is of Native American Pomo tribe descent.[11][12]


  • Paweł Sasko did the voice of River during the sex scene with V if they romance him.[13]


  1. By V in messages
  2. CyberpunkGame on Twitter: "Who will you swipe right this Valentine's Day? 💖"
  3. River Ward phone message after The Hunt
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Following the River
  5. 5.0 5.1 CD Projekt RED. Cyberpunk 2077. Video Game, Multi-Platform. Poland, CD Projekt S.A., 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 I Fought the Law
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Hunt
  8. WNS Radio news that can be overheard during Act 1
  9. Where is My Mind?
  10. 10.0 10.1 River's scan data
  11. River Ward phone message after Following the River
  12. Quest Director plays Cyberpunk 2077 #??
  13. Lead Quest Designer plays Cyberpunk 2077 #7 (45:54)