While the bulk of gamers are waiting with bated breath for Cyberpunk 2077 to unlock and or hit the stores, early reviews have been coming. While generally positive, some reviewers have been reporting a highly unexpected issue arising from certain elements and sections in the game.
Some reviewers have inadvertently discovered visual elements of the game such as the “glitch” effect surrounding the character of Johnny Silverhand, as well as the boot sequence for the game’s “braindance” segments, which appear to be inducing epileptic seizures. The braindance section, in particular, appears to be using a pattern of lights which is commonly used by neurologists to trigger an epileptic seizure as part of the diagnostic process. Liana Ruppert, an associate editor at Game Informer, put out a PSA article covering the potential hazard points, noting that the braindance sections which are the most likely to cause the problem can’t be skipped owing to their connection to the main storyline.
“Pretty much everything about this is a trigger and this is something that caused me to have a grand mal seizure when playing,” Rupport wrote. “If not modeled off of the IRL design, it’s a very spot-on coincidence, and because of that this is one aspect that I would personally advise you to avoid altogether.”
Epilepsy warnings have been part of video games for a number of years at this point. For their part, CD Projekt RED addressed the matter in a tweet, stating that they would be adding an additional warning screen about potential seizure warnings. They also stated, “Regarding a more permanent solution, Dev team is currently exploring that and will be implementing it as soon as possible.”
Food For Thought
Ruppert certainly put her finger on the big question regarding this situation: did CDPR deliberately copy that particular pattern of lights or did they accidentally stumble on it? For now, it’s probably safer to presume the latter possibility at this point in time. However, it’s deeply disturbing that such a potential liability issue escaped notice by QA testers. While it is a felony in the United States for individuals to knowingly send seizure inducing images to people the perpetrator knows are epileptic, there isn’t a product liability law in place. Circumstances vary from nation to nation, but this could potentially cause CDPR a serious headache.