After some more hanging out, it seemed clear Ana wasn’t going to do much more than sit on different benches and eat containers of noodles. I remembered that many players had been annoyed by NPC panic behavior, so I fired off a shot to see what would happen.
Ana took off running. I’m not sure what happened to them next, because this was before the latest patch: The cops spawned right in and I had to take off running too. Thus ended my lunchtime hangout with Ana.
So what did I learn? There’s the obvious: at least back in December, NPCs didn’t do that much, and the re-used character models were a little heavy-handed. I like to imagine that maybe in the cyberpunk future, people get modded up to look the same, but that’s probably reaching.
But all that aside, I actually enjoyed my weird time with Ana. There was something really peaceful about all their drifting around. Despite the looping behavior and clones, I really felt like I was following someone who was taking a break from their hectic corporate life to enjoy some time outside. I’m really into the design of Night City, and it was cool to learn more about how NPCs make use of it outside of scripted events.
Perhaps counterintuitively, something about Ana’s aimlessness made them feel very real to me. The getting up and sitting down, the picking at their lunch—it all felt like ways I used to drag my heels back when I had my corporate job. I remember taking the long way back to the office after having lunch, walking the same block repeatedly until I worried store owners thought I was casing the joint, all to have a little more time in the world before submitting to the florescent lights and stress of my workplace. Even though I did this months ago, I can vividly remember the way Ana’s routine felt stolen out of the demands of a workday, a sort of human secret we were sharing. The clones made things feel futuristically surreal, but Ana felt relatable.
I had fun with you, Ana. I hope the rest of your day went well.