Rachel KaserInternet Culture Writer
Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.
If you, like a vast swath of the gaming community, are looking forward to the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 (now that it appears to finally, mercifully be dropping out of the figurative womb this week), you might want to be careful if you also suffer from epilepsy or a seizure disorder with photosensitive triggers. The game’s developers have since responded the reports that the game contains such triggers, saying they’re looking for a more permanent solution.
Earlier today, Game Informer published an article titled “Cyberpunk 2077 Epileptic PSA.” The author, Liana Ruppert, reports that she suffered one major seizure and came close to one several times while playing. She notes that one of the game’s main features is “braindancing,” which allows the player character to cybernetically interface with and experience memories. To do this, your character uses a headset that includes flashing LEDs similar to real-life devices used to trigger seizures for medical purposes. Says Ruppert:
Pretty much everything about this is a trigger and this is something that caused me to have a grand mal seizure when playing to help with our review… If not modeled off of the IRL design [of triggering devices], it’s a very spot-on coincidence, and because of that this is one aspect that I would personally advise you to avoid altogether. When you notice the headset come into play, look away completely or close your eyes. This is a pattern of lights designed to trigger an epileptic episode and it very much did that in my own personal playthrough.
Developers CD Projekt Red responded that there was a seizure warning in the End User License Agreement, but that it planned to add a separate warning to the game itself. That would be helpful since, well, when was the last time you read an EULA? It also says its dev team is looking into a solution to fix the in-game triggers.
Thank you for bringing this up. We’re working on adding a separate warning in the game, aside from the one that exists in the EULA (https://t.co/eXpPn73VSK). Regarding a more permanent solution, Dev team is currently exploring that and will be implementing it as soon as possible. https://t.co/lXFypnSit2
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) December 8, 2020
I’m a little concerned by the fact that Ruppert claims to have been sent triggering videos in response to the article’s publication (and anyone who’s doing such a terrible thing: stop that). Similarly, some of the responses on Twitter can charitably be called “defensive,” claiming that Ruppert should just accept that seizures might happen when she plays a video game. Ruppert herself noted that she understands how the desire to play can override everything, and that she continued to play the game after having the seizure.
I did have a bad seizure while playing this game but look, I get it. I'm stubborn, I'll push myself for something if the desire is high enough (don't be like me). If you have any sort of epilepsy leanings, here is what you need to know about Cyberpunk 2077. Be safe, friends ? https://t.co/ozAGV48hVC
— Liana Ruppert (@DirtyEffinHippy) December 7, 2020
That said, she notes that it’s a win for accessibility to have the developers address the issue. While we don’t yet know what the solution will entail, it’d be great for anyone with photosensitive epilepsy to have the ability to turn off the in-game strobing effects.
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