In a somewhat inevitable outcome, a new Cyberpunk 2077 mod that allowed players to kinda-maybe-halfway have sex with Keanu Reeves has been quickly shut down by CDPR.
Created by one Catmino and hosted on Nexus mods, essentially it allowed players to manually swap character skin textures onto other models, and Johnny Silverhand is one of the skins that can be shuffled around in this way: specifically, onto a sexbot called a joytoy.
Johnny Silverhand does have a few saucy scenes in the game, but these are seen from the player's perspective. The mod creates a pretty bad approximation of having sex with Keanu, to be honest, because the character remains dressed and doesn't have Keanu's voice (it retains the Joytoy's voice lines). I mean, I haven't had sex with Mr Reeves so I don't know, but I'm guessing at some point he takes his pants off.
The mod was spotted by Eurogamer earlier today and, shortly after that story's publication, was removed from nexus mods with the following explanation: "Clearing things out with CDPR."
PCG contacted CDPR to ask what was going on, and received the following statement: "Our most important rule regarding user-generated content, game mods in particular, is that it can’t be harmful towards others. In the case of model swaps, especially those that involve explicit situations, it can be perceived as such by the people who lent us their appearance for the purpose of creating characters in Cyberpunk 2077." CDPR will understandably not want to harm its relationship with Reeves, as his character could return in DLC or other forms.
The below video shows the mod in action: as it's been removed I couldn't install it myself for testing.
It's worth noting that Keanu Reeves is the biggest celebrity in the game, but far from the only one. Catmino's mod was rudimentary because it's one of the first to focus on this area, if not the first, and it's a fair assumption that things would only get 'better' in terms of allowing players to get it on with, for example, Hideo Kojima.
CDPR's statement continues: "Therefore, when making fan content, creators have to make sure they’ve got permission from all the concerned parties (which might be people other than CD PROJEKT RED). For the characters we’ve invented for the game, we broadly permit you to tweak the game at will and just have fun. When it comes to models of real people whom we’ve asked to participate in the game, we kindly ask you to refrain from using them in any situation that might be found offensive if you don’t have their explicit permission."
CDPR ends by pointing modders towards the game's license agreement and fan content guidelines.
There are certainly some interesting ethical questions about modding like this. I mean, swooning over Keanu Reeves is one thing, but sticking his face on a virtual sexbot seems a bit over-the-top and, if he were bothered about such a thing, personally offensive. On the other hand it's a textured character model, not Keanu Reeves, and a relatively hacked-together scenario like this feels like it may come more from a place of experimentation for fun and the hell of it than a desire to be skeezy. This is, after all, what modders do (and in this case, what some of the audience said they wanted). It could also easily be filed in the category of 'the pandemic seems to have made gamers thirstier than ever' (see, for example, the lust for Lady Dimitrescu).
There's a lot to chew over. I guess the only things left to say are (a) the internet is weird, especially right now, and (b) whatever you think of this exact mod, be excellent to each other.