If you’re looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077 and suffer from epilepsy, here’s a word of warning: the game might trigger a seizure. Writing for Game Informer, Liana Ruppert explains how Cyberpunk 2077 features several potential triggers, writing that while playing the game for the magazine she “suffered one major seizure and felt several moments where [she] was close to another one.”
Rapidly flashing lights are a known trigger for epileptics, and as Ruppert reports, Cyberpunk 2077 is full of them. You’ll apparently see ‘em whenever you enter a club, whenever Keanu Reeves’ character appears, and, most notably, whenever your character takes part in a “braindance,” a part of the game where you jack in to other people’s memories. During a braindance the player character puts on a headset that includes blinking red and white lights, “much like the actual device neurologists use in real life to trigger a seizure when they need to trigger one for diagnosis purposes,” as Ruppert points out. This triggered Ruppert’s seizure during her playthrough, and she advises anybody susceptible to seizures to look away from the screen during these moments. There are also other lights and graphical glitches throughout a “braindance” that could potentially trigger a seizure.
The videogame industry as a whole has become generally more sensitive about accessibility issues over the last few years. Some of 2020’s major big budget games, including The Last of Us Part II and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, have emphasized a wide range of accessibility options, to varying degrees of success. So it’s surprising to see a game as widely anticipated—and with such a long and arduous production history—as Cyberpunk 2077 make one of the easiest and most avoidable accessibility mistakes. The connection between blinking lights and epileptic seizures has been well-established for decades, and is something that any company working in a visual medium should know to avoid. Including a recurring, mandatory gameplay feature that subjects players to an experience similar to one used by doctors to intentionally trigger a seizure is incredibly negligent. It’s something that needs to be addressed by a patch as soon as possible, and should lead to a industry-wide review of certification practices to make sure something like this doesn’t pass through to the public again.
This is just the latest questionable decision made by the developers of Cyberpunk 2077, a game that’s been widely accused of transphobia, and whose development has seen an extensive crunch period. Despite those controversies, it’s received a highly positive reception from the gaming press. Players can find out for themselves, if they’d like, when the game finally releases this Thursday, Dec. 10.