Greetings Earthlings! Welcome to the MadQueen Show! I am your host the MadQueen. On today’s menu, we’re going to talk about the map of Cyberpunk 2077, which is the map of Night City and the surrounding areas, the gangs who live there, and the lore behind it because it’s lovely to know all the history behind the choices CD Projekt Red took to create the history and visuals of these districts. This video is going to be long, so you’ll find in the description timestamps to go comfortably to the subjects that we’re going to talk about here. You’re also going to find in the description links to the history and lore of the subjects that I’m going to talk about in this video to learn all the details that we won’t have time to enter here. Let’s go for it. First, a little history. Night City is a fictional city on the west coast of the United States, south to San Francisco. Although Morro bay provided a good part of the inspiration to create Night City, along with the description of other cities in Cyberpunk works, the geography of Night City is completely different and it’s not supposed to be located where Morro Bay stands nor it intends to mimic its geography.
Night City began its construction in 1994 thanks to the visionary architect Richard Night, a very significant year in the Cyberpunk timeline, as this is the year the world stock exchange collapsed, this crash eventually led to the collapse of the American economy in 1996. The American Apocalypse was harder for some more than for others, and while at the street level people who lost everything started to revolt, these revolts ignited on rural areas of America where farmers lost everything they had and became Nomads to survive, this unrest rapidly expanded to cities, governments sank, and corporations started to rise. The collapse hit hard on lots of megacorporations, but the surviving ones ripped unexpected benefits thanks to acquiring the assets and share of the market of the collapsing corps, creating a world of companies who have the monopoly on a certain product or service and would do whatever to maintain this monopoly, even go to war. After the collapse, Megacorporations rose as the most powerful entities of the dark future, most of them operating at an international level, with an economic capacity that exceeded the influence of most governments.
The power of megacorporations allowed Night City, back then called Coronado City, to go by during the hardest days of the collapse, as this was intended to be a corporate playground optimized since the design stage to be everything corporations wanted it to be. A good part of the soil used for the construction of the city belonged to the energy giant Petrochem, a company that is still one of the most powerful in 2077. Although Petrochem’s money was a great start, they weren’t the only ones who wanted a cut of the cake, so the Japanese conglomerate Arasaka and the German Giant Euro Business Machines also invested in this dream. These companies shared a symbiotic relationship and didn’t interfere with each other business: the energy giant Petrochem provided Arasaka and EBM with fuel and raw materials for manufacturing, EBM provided Petrochem and Arasaka with components and equipment as the biggest high tech manufacturer in the world they were, and Arasaka provided security and loans when needed, through the Arasaka Bank.
Although Arasaka is mostly known for their security division, the Arasaka bank is the cornerstone of the company and it was also the oldest branch of the conglomerate, in the times its founder, Sasai Arasaka, used his fortune to take advantage of the bad economic situation of Japan to rise politically and to acquire juicy defense contracts as a manufacturer during the second world war. How having the right people in your pocket using economic power is great for business is a practice that he passed to his son, Saburo Arasaka, who used this principle to expand Arasaka internationally and diversify the company, that’s why although Sasai Araska is the founder of the company, Saburo Arasaka is often referred to as the founder of the Arasaka conglomerate. This economic power of the Arasaka bank, so closely related to blackmail, was also used by the Japanese conglomerate to ascend in influence in America. Things got really easy for them in Night City, as the collapse was used by several states to secede from the United States, amongst them the now Free State of North California, where Night City stands, which now didn’t have to obey the laws of the Federal Government nor wanted to send there any of its taxes.
After the Death of Richard Night and the mob wars that followed, as every crime lord in the city wanted to control it, corporations decided they had enough of being good guys as, after all, the city was built for them with their money. They made a rain of fire fall on the higher heads of all the criminal forces in Night City, easy thing to do as both Arasaka and Petrochem had their own mercenary forces, and after the different mobs were pacified a new city council was created with a puppet mayor controlled by Arasaka. The council’s first decision was to enlist the aid of corporate forces, empowering them to act in the best interest of the city. The right amount of political pressure turned Night City into a City State, completely ruled by Megacorporations, with Arasaka sitting in the throne. Arasaka, Petrochem, and EBM weren’t the only corporative forces that occupied the Corporate Plaza and the Banking quarter, as more corps joined the dream of Richard Night building their regional headquarters there and, therefore, having something to say in the city council.
The creators of the first Artificial Intelligence Microtech, the most powerful investments firm Merril, Asukaga, and Finch, the almighty space travel company Orbital Air, the media corporations WNS and Network New 42, the security contractor Militech, the cyberware manufacturer Raven Microcybernetics, and the information analyst Infocom, along with smaller companies that were just fortunate enough to be able to breathe there, shared space in the corporate center. Surrounding the metropolis, towns adjacent to the city that were abandoned during the collapse that in the 20s were controlled by megacorporations and turned into suburbs which hosted corporate workers or facilities. These suburbs were re-occupied by the displaced who fleed the metropolis after a mini-nuke went off in the Arasaka Towers of the corporate Center at the end of the 4th Corporate War in 2023. The 4th corporate war changed the landscape of Night City: not only geographically, but also the corporate landscape and the boostergangs that populate the metropolis and their priorities.
This mini-nuke ended with corporate control, and ended the reign of Arasaka in Night City, and it wasn’t until its intervention in the Metal Wars in the early 70s that they were allowed back in Night City, building a new Arasaka Tower in the Corporate Center. Although the corporate landscape in 2077 is very similar to the one in the 20s, with some old corporations collapsing and new ones taking its place, it’s very different when it comes to boostergangs and other factions that populate the street level. Due to the collapse of the Night City Police Department after the 4th Corporate War, citizens fleeing the devastation and radioactivity of the city center, looking for shelter in the suburbs of the Night City area were abandoned by the forces of order, who were overwhelmed by the rapid expansion of the city limits and the immigration of population that tried to escape the destruction of the 4th Corporate War in other cities of America and looked for opportunities in Night City.
All these factors were contemplated when the city rebuilt itself, a reconstruction that recently ended in 2077, incorporating these towns to the metropolis and rising mega-buildings to host the growing population. The abandonment of Police also meant a different thing for people on the street level: the rise of vigilante boostergangs. In the map of Night City in 2077 we can find, at the northern side of it, the district of Watson, that is divided into the quarters of Kabuki, Little China, the Northside Industrial District, and the Waterfront.
During the reconstruction of Night City, wealthy Japanese corporations poured millions of dollars to turn Watson into the most modern district after the City Center, and for a while, it was so: tall skyscrapers, bustling nightclubs, a med center, and its own industrial sector. But once Arasaka regained its position in the city thanks to their intervention during the Unification War, the Arasaka bank sank the competition to take control of the district, which soon fell into poverty. In 2077 Watson is the poorest district of the city, not counting the Combat Zone which is on a completely different scale. What interest did Arasaka have in gaining control of this district? Night City is a city-state and, as such, it serves as an entry point for any shady activity that wants to set foot in the New United States without having to deal with the Federal Government.
And what better way to take control of it than controlling the main port of the city, the Waterfront? The Arasaka Waterfront is an island of corporate authority within Watson, surrounded by a wall to keep gangers and other undesirables out of it, protected with motion detectors, electrified razor wire, and automatic armored gun turrets, you better prepare your plan carefully if you want to infiltrate in this complex so make sure to level up your perks in netrunnning because it all sounds like guns are not going to help a lot in here. The Arasaka Waterfront is an important link in the corporation’s local supply chain. Official data states that hundreds of shipments come through the Waterfront every month, packed and sorted by automated robots to be sent to other corporate-owned warehouses and outposts. The content of such shipments? If you find out most probably Arasaka will make sure your body is never found. Next to the Waterfront, we find the Northside Industrial District, which once was the prosperous factory quarter of Warson until Arasaka decided to make the place their own. At the edge of the quarter, housing apartments for corporate workers, probably the ones that the corporation wants to punish, and on the streets factories and more factories, lots of them abandoned and occupied by the Maelstrom, who have made this subdistrict their turf, which extends to the northern side of the quarter of Kabuki.
The Maelstrom is a very dangerous and violent combat gang that was formed around what was left of the Metal Warriors, a gang virtually wiped out in one night by the feared Inquisitors. The few surviving Metal Warriors joined forces with the members of the militant skinhead gang the Red Chrome Legion and the cyberware-obsessed Ironsights, who had a violent personal grudge against the Inquisitors. The Maelstroms obsession with cybernetic enhancements put most of its members at the edge of cyberpsychosis, if not deep into it, and also makes them very easy to tell from any other booster. They live for the thrill, that’s why they’re suspected of producing and distributing the most disturbing, extreme, and violent Braindance tapes of the black market. This gang is funded with the sales of illegal cyberware, smuggling illegal meds and drugs, and taking hit jobs, that they usually execute in the most violent and brutal fashion. They also operate the Totentanz, one of the most dangerous bars in Night City, set in an abandoned factory in Watson.
The hangout place for the most violent people of the metropolis, including old school Cyberpunks who meet to drink and swap war stories. Not the best place to cause any ruckus: any threats inside the bar are dealt by the highly cybernetically enhanced and armed to the teeth patrons, but threats to the Totentanz are deal with maximum force, which, considering we’re talking about the Maelstrom, this “maximum force” may or may not include skinning the victim alive, dismembering, or drowning in wet concrete. When the founder of the Totentanz named it “Deathdance” he didn’t know how right he would be: here it’s considered a bad night if the body count is under twenty.
The only reason why the Night City Police Department lets the Totentanz stay open is, on the one hand, because it kills the punks, and on the other, the gangs would get VERY upset if the place got closed down. South to the Industrial quarter, we find Kabuki, once the pride of the Japanese medical corporations, and now, thanks to Arasaka, the poorest sector of Night City, again, not counting Pacifica, we’re talking about the poorest of functioning sectors of the city. Once the Arasaka Bank wiped out the prosperity of Kabuki, the area was rapidly repopulated with the Chinese diaspora, one of the countries that was hit the hardest during the 4th Corporate War and spent the greatest portion of the post-war period trying to overcome the bio plague that destroyed Hong Kong.
Kabuki is one of those parts of the metropolis that have two very different sides, depending on the time of the day you come to visit: by day it’s a bazaar filled with noodles and cosmetic boutiques, but at night the neon signs illuminate the heart of Night City’s black market: implants, organs, combat drugs, prototype cyberware, snuff Braindance recordings, if it’s shady you’ll find it in here. Also lots of underground ripperdocs who, for the right amount of eddies, will implant you military-grade and other illicit cyberware, even parts that have been chopped off victims of the scavengers, who kidnap and dismember clueless visitors to harvest their cybernetic implants and organs to sell in the black market. Not only clueless visitors, as this way of disposing bodies is very useful for megacorporations who want plausible deniability when getting rid of someone who is in their way. The northern part of Kabuki is dominated by the Maelstrom while the rest counts with the presence of the Tyger Claws and the Moxes, who control one of the most popular Braindance clubs and brothels of Kabuki: the Lizzie’s bar.
The Tyger Claws is a Japanese combat biker gang, who established their turf in the Japantown quarter of Westbrook. They’re one of the largest of Night City criminal groups, not counting megacorporations, who operate similar to Asian mafias, their main business is manufacturing and distribution of drugs, sex work, and human trafficking. This disrespect for working boys and girls brought them many problems with the only boostergang they seem to fear: the Moxes. After the Tyger Claws killed the Madam Elisabeth Borden her closest allies made a rain of fire fall on Tyger Claws’ members and businesses. Although the members of the Claws still test the patience of the Moxes, they do good in avoiding a direct confrontation. But the Moxes are not the only boosters who give the Claws problems, the Maelstrom is also there to make sure the Claws don’t try to expand their business in Kabuki enough to step into their turf. The Tyger Claws have close ties with Arasaka’s upper management, who have been known to outsource side jobs to the gang, and pay them with cybertechnology and military-grade automatic weapons. This makes them enemies of Arasaka’s enemies, especially the boostergang controlled by the rogue son of Saburo Arasaka, the man who swore to destroy the Japanese conglomerate: Yorinobu Arasaka.
When Yorinobu left his family after finding out his father’s company wasn’t about security but very shady business, he formed the Tokyo Nomads gang the Steel Dragons. Seeing the Steel Dragons clash with the Tyger Claws is going to be quite something. Other of the gangs we can see settled in Kabuki are the Moxes. Formed after the Tyger Claws killed the Madam Elisabeth Borden, who was known for being very protective of sex workers from the violence and brutality of customers. This vigilante gang not only protects working boys and girls, but also sexual minorities, and other oppressed people. Their appealing wardrobe, beyond being aesthetically luring apparel, is thought to avoid restraining their movements in any way. The members of the gang that are specialized in combat wear heavily modified bodies that sometimes evoke a “plastic doll” style, but may also be disguised with RealSkinn. Not all members of the Moxes are sex workers, like is the case of the Braindance Expert Judy Alvarez, who oversees the Braindance entertainment in the main venue, and the main source of income of the Moxes: The Lizzie’s Bar in Kabuki. West to Kabuki and close to the City Center, we can find the quarter of Watson called Little China, a sector that was thought as an extension of the City Center and even has their own skyscrapers the closer you get to downtown.
Thanks to Arasaka’s economic iron fist mixed with the rapid flood of Chinese immigrants that flee from the devastation of the 4 Corporate War in their country, this sub-district went from a clean corporate-controlled zone to a poor neighborhood where mid-level corpos come to have some cheap fun in casinos and strip clubs, and mix with the poor and homeless on the streets. This sector is not claimed by any particular boostergang, I’m not sure if this is due to the presence of a Night City Police Department station, not that boosters are especially afraid of Police but we’re too close to the City Center.
Also, this doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for the Tyger Claws to come here to have some fun. Little China is also the home of the Afterlife, the solos bar managed by the former solo turned fixer Rogue. East of Watson things start to get interesting, as we can find the district of Westbrook, home of the rich and powerful, and it’s divided into the quarters of Japantown, North Oak, and Charter Hill. In the 20s, megacorporations took hold of Westbrook to turn it into a corporate fortress heavily protected by an Arasaka service contract that made sure that it was even safe to place high extraction risk employees there. The draconian Arasaka security, that included several surface to air missile sites to make sure all air traffic had the proper access codes, was so respected that there was only one known case of attempted extraction in the history of Westbrook, and it was solved with three AV4’s destroyed and 24 Militech soldiers dead, because if there’s someone who dares to cross Arasaka is always going to be Militech.
During the reconstruction of Night City after the 4th Corporate War, apparently, the city planners decided the home of the powerdealers of the metropolis belonged closer to the city center, you don’t make multi billionaires take a 20 minutes maglev ride, even a private one, so this district was rebuilt closer to it, keeping the Japantown quarter close to where it stood when a mini-nuke destroyed the Arasaka Twin Towers of the Corporate Plaza in 2023, although during the reconstruction corporate mercenaries had to pacify the hills of North Oak, which were swarming with crime, to avoid it turning into a combat zone and make sure these hills were turned into the most exclusive residential zone. The quarter of Japantown didn’t change its spirit much since before the infamous mini-nuke that detonated nearby destroyed many of its skyscrapers with the shockwave in 2023. Part of it was destroyed in the Nomad Riots of 2014 and rebuilt shortly after, it was also used by Johnny Silverhand during his famous benefit concert against Police Brutality, in the hopes of bringing attention to brutal methods the Night City Police Department used to quell the Nomad riots. In 2077, Japantown is still the place where high-level corporates come to play, the epitome of the wild night in the wild Night City.
By day it’s filled with tourists who visit its fancy bars and restaurants, but at night it becomes a party district for the rich, ruled by the Tyger Claws, who everybody makes sure to avoid crossing unless you have some friends in VERY high places. Charter Hill is a relatively new and well-maintained corporate district that was built from scratch during the Rebuilding period. It quickly became quite popular among the upper class of Night City –At least until North Oak became more popular in the late 50s. In 2077, most aspiring mid-level corpos have an apartment in Charter Hill, as well as popular musicians that didn’t yet make it into the Rockstar status, as well as well-paid mercenaries or Fixers.
In 2077 North Oak is where everybody on Night City dreams of living, although things there were very different before the 4th Corporate War. In the 20s, North Oak was the home of the NorCal Military Base, which was established as part of the deal which allowed Northern California it’s titular independence from the Union as a Free state. In 2023, at the end of the Hot War, escaping Arasaka troops from all over the county gathered in Night City, as it was the last bastion of Arasaka in North America, and the CEO of Arasaka in the 20s, the brother of Yorinobu, Kei Arasaka, tried to bargain with the Governor of North California Denise de la Vega and the President of the United States Elisabeth Kress, when I say “bargain” I mean “threaten”, as Kei Arasaka wasn’t exactly in a position of weakness and an attack on Night City would inflict massive casualties on the civilian population, an attack that it was thought may include releasing the SoulKiller on the population of Night City, so, reluctantly, Governor De La Vega allowed President Kress to move into the NorCal Military base of North Oak a division of elite special forces and air mobile troops from the US Army, which included Militech’s operatives, since at that point Militech was already nationalized by President Kress.
After the 4th tensions between the Free State of North California and the Federal government started to rise, since President Kress showed little interest in helping rebuild the Free State and Night City, as she wanted them to suffer to be able to bring them back to the States, so we can guess that at that point the military forces of North Oak were either pushed away or the site was abandoned. After that, North Oak became the site of temporary refugee camps and favelas for the next twenty-five years, crime skyrocketed in this quarter, as after the collapse of the Night City Police Department there weren’t enough hands to keep the city on check and refugees were quite desperate.
This situation persisted until the early ’50s, until the government of Night City, which basically means megacorporations, decided to clear the area by force pretending it was a war against crime, once the area was pacified, thanks to a powerful corporate-media advertising campaign, the hills of North Oak became the most sought-after land of Night City, home of corporate CEOs and other untouchable elite, where you can find the two Arasaka mansions and the villa of the Renegade Rockerboy Kerry Eurodyne, former guitarist of Samurai. The Hills are quite a view to behold, thanks to the botanical experiments of the Italian megacorporation Biotechnica, who spent a good portion of their resources in trying to bring back much of the flora and fauna that was lost during the climate change that started in the 90s.
West of Westbrook and south to Watson we can find the City Center, composed by the Downtown quarter and the Corporate Plaza, not sure if the Orbital Air space station of Morro Rock also counts as a subsection of this district, though. The city center is the base of the financial and economic power of Night city. It stands in the same place Richard Night put it when he first planned Night City and it was rebuilt in the same place after a mini-nuke destroyed it in 2023, and after some years not being much more than a radioactive pile of rubble, in 2077 it recovered its former glory. The Corporate Plaza is one of the most recognizable landscapes of Night City, and it’s also a sign of the corporations’ return to power after they fell in disgrace in the Time of the Red.
The main feature of the Plaza is the Memorial Park, a huge roundabout between the corporations’ headquarters that commemorates the victims of the 4th Corporate War. It seems peaceful, but the Night City Police Department and Corporate Security armed to the teeth are always patrolling around to make sure everybody understands who’s in charge here. Everyone has to pass through multiple security checkpoints to enter any corporate building. The most amusing thing of this specific part of town is that, after the Unifications War, also called the Metal Wars, Arasaka was allowed to return and to build their new shiny headquarters in the foundations of the old one that was destroyed. They don’t seem to acknowledge this plot of land is cursed! It’s cursed with the Hex of Johnny Silverhand! In 2013 this same spot was the Arasaka Complex, which was gutted during a riot caused by a Samurai concert, a riot caused by Johnny Silverhand sending his fans to attack Arasaka Security guards to be more precise.
Arasaka had to rebuilt and, in the place of the complex, they built the Twin Towers that were destroyed by a Mini Nuke detonated by Silverhand’s strike team in 2023. Then, in the mid-70s Arasaka built a tower here again and, if Johnny Silverhand doesn’t destroy this tower as well I’m going to be VERY disappointed. A small detail that you may want to know.
When the Militech strike team detonated a Mininuke in the 120 floor of one of Arasaka’s Twin Towers, the government of the States blamed Arasaka saying they detonated a denial bomb to avoid the strike team to get whatever they were looking for. The funny part is that, even though this propaganda of President Kress was a lie, such denial mini-nuke actually existed, buried in the Twin Tower’s foundations. What happened with this bomb during the Time of the Red is a mystery, as only Kei Arasaka and Saburo Arasaka knew about it, and Kei was killed shortly after the Towers fell. How odd, though, that Saburo Arasaka insisted he wanted his new tower in the exact place using the exact same foundations.
During the reconstruction of Night City that started in the 30s, the Russian drone manufacturer Zhirafa introduced into the building project their new construction bot GRAF3, used to clean up the destruction brought by the 4th Corporate War. These cute little robots, that are not little, were used to move gigatons of fill, shifted from the radioactive ruins of the Central City, uncovering the previously buried Morro Rock. Much of the old Bay was filled in and the shape of Night City’s coastline began to change. That’s how the Downtown quarter was built, one of the City’s newer districts, built from the scratch after the nuke incident. This elegant neighborhood is the most expensive of the entertainment districts in the metropolis, but it also has a shady side when the sun goes down. By day, this is a massive new office and apartment buildings sector, with corporate hotels and restaurants, the exclusive social heart of Night City. By night, dark alleys, shadowy spots, and sleazy hotels where drug deals go down and black Braindance is produced.
West of Downtown we can find the previously buried Morro Rock, now property of the megacorporation Orbital Air, one of the corps whose headquarters in Night City is also in the Corporate Plaza. Orbital Air is a megacorporation from Nairobi, Kenya, although a good portion of it belongs to the European Space Agency, who injected plenty of capital into the Aerospace corp. Orbital Air is the company specialized in transporting cargo and passengers from Earth to any point outside it, may it be one of the plenty workshaks in Space of the Euro Space Agency, the orbital colonies like the O’Neill or Crystal Palace or the moon colonies of Tycho and Copernicus.
South to the City Center things get interesting again, as we’re entering into the District of Heywood, divided into the quarters of Vista del Rey, The Glen, and Wellsprings. The Northern part of the district, closer to the Corporate Plaza, is modern and well maintained, with skyscrapers, nice parks, and public service buildings, but the closer you get to Pacifica in the South, the architecture becomes more suburban and you can notice the degradations. In the 20s Heywood used to be a light industrial area that lied on the east of Del Coronado bay, between Rancho Coronado and North Oak. Heywood had a little of everything, some housing, a little retail shopping, a few parks, and the well-known Corporate Valley subdivision, a primarily Biotechnica-dominated beaverville in South Heywood. Apart from the housing sector, Heywood used to host many industrial complexes, including an Arasaka Weapon Assembly Facility, a Biotechnica cloning research station, an EBM remote assembly facility, and a Militech training center for assault groups. During the reconstruction of Night City, the district was moved west while the industrial part was kept in the east part of the metropolis.
Several gangs operate in this district, but this is clearly the turf of one of the largest gangs in Night City the Valentinos. The Valentinos used to be a poser gang, named after the cinema sex symbol Rodolfo Valentino. Back in the day, before a mini-nuke changed Night City forever, they were just a group of chasers who were only worried about getting in the pants of the most attractive people of Night City. But everything changed with the destruction of the Arasaka Twin Towers in the Corporate center, which caused the collapse of the Night City Police Department. This collapse made Night City even more dangerous than before, as there weren’t enough police resources to keep the city safe and, as a consequence of that, vigilante boostergangs started to appear, or gangs that had other worries in mind started to act as protectors of their communities.
It’s the case of the Valentinos, who went from a posergang to a vigilante gang in 2077. Most of the members of this gang are of Mexican origin, although they welcome anyone from different origins. The Valentinos are widely respected amongst the community, if a member of the gang dies fighting other gangs, police, or corporate enforcers are often remembered as saints and martyrs, commemorated in songs, and depicted in giant murals. Valentinos are very religious, and they often display spiritual Christian iconography in their cyberware, jewelry, and decoration, as such, it is no surprise that the most powerful fixer of the zone is referred to in a religious way: Padre, which is the word in Spanish used to refer to a priest, Father Sebastián in this case. The Valentinos own many legitimate businesses in Heywood, such as restaurants, auto shops, and nightclubs, but they also operate Braindance recording studios, sports-betting parlors, and local construction companies, that can be also used as a stage for criminal activity and money-laundry. Even though they have a legit face, their main sources of income are gun smuggling, car theft, drug trafficking, robbery, sex work, illegal modifications of weapons and vehicles, and hit jobs for the right price.
Wellsprings is the safest quarter of Heywood, at least the part that borders the Corporate Plaza. Most of the buildings were built in the second phase of the reconstruction and they house hundreds of mid-low corporate workers and other average people that can afford a mid-tier apartment, that goes cheaper the further you go from downtown. East to Wellsprings we find the Glen, a neighborhood that is next to the Corporate Plaza and, as such, the Glen was planned as the new seat of power for the Night City government, the civil government not the real corporate government, this state-owned subdistrict is rich, clean, and mostly crime-free, although this is still the Valentinos territory, they are omnipresent here, so when I say “crime-free” I mean “violent crime” free, what happens in the backstage of the restaurants and other venues owned by the Valentino’s doesn’t need to disturb the tourists that come to visit the Glen.
This is the quarter where we can find the City Hall, the seat of the current mayor of Night City Lucius Rhyne, but only a few blocks away from the City Hall we enter in a totally different and way poorer area. The western quarter of Heywood, Vista del Rey, is the poorest part of this district, it’s dramatically affected by poverty and violence. Gangs have overrun this place. Set between the Corporate Plaza and Westbrook, the two richest parts of the metropolis and under corporate control, the neighbors of Vista del Rey are expecting corpos to take over the place anytime soon, although corporations know that they can’t kill and clean an entire district, even if it’s filled with poor folks and gangers, without having some consequences, because corporations don’t care about legality but they care about PR and they avoid doing the shadiest things out in the open.
Even though the Valentinos are the true power here, there are still some places run by the 6th Street, a gang that is not as welcoming as the Chicanos. The 6th Street was formed by veterans of the 4th Corporate War shortly after it ended, your average vigilante boostergang formed after the collapse of the Night City Police Department to protect their communities where Police couldn’t. Its charismatic founders gave the people a way to protect themselves and seek retribution for the damage caused by other gangs, but in 2077 the foundation of this gang happened around 50 years ago, and their original philosophy of serving the public trust has been forgotten, and today they’re no better than other gangs who abuse their power and position in local communities. This gang is mainly formed by veterans of the most recent conflicts, retired military, and discharged corporate security officers who were unable to find other employment, as well as civilians who were provided military training after joining the gang. Their economic activity include robbery, extortion, and gun smuggling, they have extensive connections with Nomads in the Badlands, who have the best techies when it comes to modifying cars, which helps the 6th Street to run many garages and workshops around the city, as well as hosting illegal races with modified cars, and they also run their own Combat Cab company.
Their main turf is the quarters of Arroyo and Rancho Coronado in Santo Domingo, although they also have some influence in Charter Hill and the Glen, although they try to respect other gangs there when they are not the main power. West to Heywood, we have one of Night City’s older districts: Santo Domingo, composed by the quarters of Arroyo and Rancho Coronado. During the reconstruction of Night City, the old industrial area of Heywood was joined with the housing district of Rancho Coronado to create the industrial park and power plant that includes housing for their workers.
Arroyo is the industrial quarter, composed of an old-fashioned nuclear power plant, robot factories, a logistic center, and a gigantic junkyard, although is always under constant construction as megacorps build and destroy things there all the time depending on how profitable these factories are, or they simply abandon them, that’s why this area is filled with partially constructed or ruined buildings. This is the territory of the 6th Street, they control the abandoned factories and heavy equipment storage areas in Arroyo. Rancho Coronado didn’t change much since the 20s, back then it already was your typical American suburb, megacorps advertise it like a place for their workers to live the American dream, but in spite of the fact that this quarter is almost a self-sufficient town by itself, with its own bars, shopping, school, parks, restaurants, and metro stations the neglect is more than noticeable. What before the 4th was one of the best-guarded districts of Night City, as its security was famous for its pit bull tenacity, police neglect made the 6th Street take the wheel and now they oversee the protection of this suburb mainly filled with workers of Arroyo and mid-level corporates that got tired of the lights of the Metropolis.
In the southern part of Night City, we find the district of Pacifica, also known as the Combat Zone. When the economy of the States started to boom again at the end of the 50s and early 60s, the city hall though Pacifica was the perfect spot to take advantage of the growing tourism, and a huge plan was created to build the perfect resort. Megacorporations threw at it billions of eddies and they hired Nomads and locals –mainly from Haitian diaspora who settled in Night City after the destruction of their island, to provide cheap labor.
Some years after the construction started a new President was elected, Rosalind Mayers, who wanted to unify America again and declared war on the Free States. During the Unification War, South California sided with the government of the New United States and, afraid of an invasion from the South, investors pulled the capital and fled in fear of being caught in the middle of the fight, or because they wanted to invest on the war, leaving the half-built landscape behind and thousands of people without any mean of survival. The district became the poorest one in the Metropolis: the Combat Zone, so dangerous not even the Police go there, in fact, no one does unless they absolutely have to. Then, the Haitian community took over to take care of the locals and created a new Creole community in Pacifica, also taking control of the boostergang the Voodoo Boys. In the 20s the Voodoo Boys where a bunch of white guys that sold non-synthetic drugs, mainly to students of the Night City University, that they got mainly thanks to contacts in the Caribbean.
They were the worst of the worst: they terrorized and burned without rhyme or reason. Thanks to their contacts they learned about Voodoo, although they had no real knowledge or interest in the religion, they loved the tropes, and they loved to use these magic overtones to scare the competition. So imagine what happened when the real Voodoo practitioners settled in Night City: they kicked the dorphers out of their own gang and took their place. In 2077 the Voodoo boys are part boostergang part secret society. The police of Night City doesn’t consider them a threat as they are not particularly violent if you leave them alone, although Netwatch has a different opinion, as this gang is composed by expert netrunners whose primary criminal activities involve hacking databanks and accounts within various corporations in search of restricted and top-secret data, as well to navigate the old net in the hopes of contacting the free artificial intelligences that live on the other side of the Blackwall.
The district of Pacifica is divided into the quarters of Coast View and West Wind Estate, home of the amusement park Playland by the Sea, which used to be known for having the most cutting edge Braindance. After the Metal Wars finished, some investors tried to restart the Pacifica project, corporations tried to clear the construction out of squatters, although it was too late as the workers left behind already made the district their home. Further attempts by the Night City Police Department escalated to full riots that lasted for weeks, and police withdrew. Although corporations weren’t over and the City Council shut down all city services in Pacifica to force the Voodoo Boys and the locals to leave. They didn’t count on them not caring at all. There are more gangs in the Combat Zone, the Voodoo Boys are not the only one there, we can also find the Animals.
The Animals recently moved to South Pacifica in 2077. They are an aggressive street-fighting gang obsessed with growing in muscle and strength, and fascinated with the feral, primal side of human nature. They often take on dangerous cyberimplanted opponents because it’s good sport, and they constantly subject themselves to various brutal and violent tests of skills. They are mostly known for their ultraviolent raids on residential districts and other gangs’ home turf. They also organize underground fights and manufacture and sell drugs. Some Animals hire themselves out as bouncers at brothels and strip clubs, or as racketeers who specialize in extortion and assault. South to Pacifica, in the outskirts of Night city, we can find the Biotechnica farms, which produce synthetic protein derivates on a massive scale, and the Solar Power Station. Climate Change was a problem in the Cyberpunk Universe since the 90s, and even though Biotechnica makes its best efforts to preserve as much as possible and to bring back what was lost, most of America is a desert, nothing but a wasteland.
And here is where you find the Nomads, in these badlands where only the road warriors can survive. During the reconstruction of Night City, there was an attempt to build a self-contained district in the desert east of the city. Streets were plotted out and houses built, ready to welcome the workers employed by the businesses located just next door. Unfortunately, those businesses went bankrupt shortly after, and the neighborhood was abandoned, until Nomads reclaimed it for themselves. The Aldecaldos is one of the oldest and largest Nomad groups of America, born from the wreckage of Los Angeles around the engineer Juan Aldecaldo, who became famous for calling the President of the United States a “pendejo son-of-a-bitch” and traitor to the working people of America for turning his back on them during the great crisis of the Collapse, on Television, peak audience, all this amongst an impassioned speech in response to the tragic death of his son, killed by boosters.
When the Aldecaldos united around him, the Nomad Nation set a foot in the business of civic reclamation and repair, a very busy business given the damage of the Collapse, they participated in the reconstruction of Chicago that went well until Arasaka destroyed it during the 4th Corporate War. During the 40s, the Aldecaldos and their allies StormTech banded together again to help in the reconstruction of Night City, which granted them a seat in the City Council during the Time of the Red, until megacorps took control of the metropolis again, this group of Nomads also played their part in re-establishing trade routes for shipping. For three generations this Nation was headed by members of the Santiago family, including Nomad Santiago, who participated in the Arasaka Riot and, after that, provided shelter to Johnny Silverhand and his crew in Mexico City, a town controlled by this family. This Nation, composed of tens of thousands in total, is divided into several families, so don’t expect to find all the Aldecaldos in just one settlement.
Their strong suit, as all Nomads, is cars and car modifications, as well as the transportation of goods. Nomads have a very bad press and, in the popular media, they are portrayed as bandits, marauders, and killers, which is normally not true, with the exception of the Raffen Shiv, who are everything media will want to make you believe all Nomads are. The Raffen is the scum amongst the Nomads, they follow no laws and no code of conduct, and they’re vicious and aggressive. The largest of the Raffen gangs is the Wraiths: highway robbers who live off the spoils from their raids. They don’t take many contracts for transportation as you can’t trust them, they rather raiding small villages and attacking small groups of Nomads and weakly guarded corporate transports.
But the ghost town of Rocky Ridge, in the outskirts of Night City, is not the only place we can find Nomads, as they are the kings of the badlands and you can always expect to find them in the highway. And this is Night City: its story, its districts, and its gangs, don’t forget to visit the links in the description to expand all the information that we talked about in here, including the playlist with all the Cyberpunk 2077 lore that your body might need. Click that like button if you enjoyed and don’t forget to subscribe if you want more lore.
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