|This article is about the district in Cyberpunk 2077. For the location in Cyberpunk RED, see Watson Development.|
The Watson District is one of the six districts of Night City in Cyberpunk 2077. Being the district where the player starts at in the game, it has a prominent Asian influence, run-down buildings once owned by Corps, and is home to immigrants of several ethnicities. V has an apartment in one of the megabuildings in the area, and Viktor Vektor's clinic is in the district, as well, behind Misty's.
Watson was originally the military city of North Oak, including some parts of the neighboring Westbrook. After the Fourth Corporate War, the region was flooded by refugees who built their own tent camps around the area. As the rebuilding of Night City begun, the whole of the old North Oak was renamed the Watson Development, with plans to build a massive corporate center adjacent to the one in City Center.
For a period of time Watson was a thriving district. People visited for the various Nightclubs, skyscrapers, corporate offices, a top-end medcenter, and even the biggest black market in all of Night City. Many Japanese corporations invested billions of eurodollars into the district competing with the giant Arasaka, their intent was to make it self-sufficient and prosperous. Everything changed after the Unification War, and Arasaka returned to the city. It bled the corporations dry and changed Watson forever. Without a stable financial sector, the glory days of Watson had ended: the Northside Industrial District, once a cutting edge technological park, could no longer provide jobs, leaving people out on the street. Arasaka took advantage of the economic vacuum by taking over the district for its gain. The Arasaka Corporation finally got the port-access in the waterfront that it had always wanted.
In 2077, Watson is seen as a sad and desperate place. Its well known as one of the city's poorest districts, with many industrial factories and plants being completely abandoned. Watson is also the battlegrounds between the Maelstrom and Tyger Claws gangers. The Maelstrom settled in the Northside Industrial District (NID). Filled with factories (most of which are abandoned) and working-class apartment blocks. The well-known Totentanz bar is also located here.
Tyger Claws operate from Little China and Kabuki. Little China was once an extension of the Downtown area; it's a high density urban region with skyscrapers, overpopulated with Asian immigrants during the late 2040s. The old Med Center is located in this area, with it is the infamous Solos bar the Afterlife. It was once the best place in all of Night City to legally spend some money on body enhancements, but has since been overrun by the Kabuki Market.
Kabuki is a maze of narrow alleyways located right next to Little China. At night, they turn into a bazaar for implants, organs, steroids, and much more. It's said anything a person could desire can be found in the Kabuki Market. This makes Watson a prime target for Scavs, a ruthless gang that kidnap and harvest people's organs and implants for resale on the black market.
The rest of Watson belongs to Arasaka in an area known as the Arasaka Waterfront. This place is completely off limits to anyone who isn't an employee of the corporation.
Behind of Scenes
That tumultuous history has left its visual markers in the styles we see in Watson today. A wall of austere skyscrapers fronts the canal separating Watson from City Center, like a Neomilitarist screen built to block the corporations' view of the grime they left behind. This verticality continues through Little China, then gradually gives way to the low, ramshackle Kitsch of Kabuki, before ending in the sweeping horizontal Entropism of the Northside Industrial District and the austere, fortified Neomilitarism of the Arasaka Waterfront.In the midst of it all, we have Watson's inhabitants, squeezed between the brutality of the corporations on the one hand and of the gangs on the other. For all their impoverished surroundings and bleak lives, they imbue the district with undeniable color and energy.