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Cyberpunk 2077: Highly anticipated game ‘may pose a serious risk to people with epilepsy’

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One of the most highly anticipated video games of the year is being warned against by Epilepsy UK, after a journalist suffered an epileptic seizure while playing. 

Cyberpunk 2077, released at midnight on Thursday, is said to contain “rapidly blinking lights and other animations that could cause seizures”, according to the charity.

It is calling on the game’s developers to quickly find a “permanent solution” to the problems, telling Sky News: “A disclaimer warning at the beginning isn’t enough.

Pic: Cyberpunk 2077/CD Projekt Red.
Image:
Epilepsy UK says the game’s current warning ‘is not sufficient’ Pic: Cyberpunk 2077/CD Projekt Red.

“While a warning is better than no warning, it is not sufficient to keep people safe.

“There may be people playing who are unaware that they have photosensitive epilepsy, would not think a warning applied to them and so this could trigger their first seizure.”

Liana Ruppert is the journalist whose epilepsy was triggered during gameplay.

Gaming journalist Liana Ruppert Pic: Instagram
Image:
Gaming journalist Liana Ruppert experienced a seizure playing the new game Pic: Instagram

She reported on the issue for Game Informer, saying: “During my time with Cyberpunk 2077, I suffered one major seizure and felt several moments where I was close to another one.”

In one reoccurring element of the game called Braindance, Liana says there “is a pattern of lights” that triggered her seizure.

Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed multiple times, which has added to the anticipation of its release.

The build-up has led some fans to react badly to Liana’s experience.

Since publishing the warning on 7 December, Liana has been receiving videos containing flashing lights to trigger her epilepsy.

Gaming journalist Liana Ruppert Pic: Instagram
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Liana Ruppert says she is receiving online abuse which could trigger her epilepsy Pic: Instagram

She wrote on Twitter: “I’ve been sent hundreds of videos disguised as support that are deliberate flashing to induce photosensitive triggers.

“If you’re sharing this saying you’re epileptic and receive a video, don’t press play.

“I’m back to being on my a**.”

CD Projekt Red, who developed Cyberpunk 2077 and other popular games like The Witcher, told Sky News: “We were all pretty shaken by reading about Liana’s experience and will definitely put this aspect of the game under more scrutiny.”

Pic: Cyberpunk 2077/CD Projekt Red.
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The game’s developer said it was ‘shaken’ by Liana’s seizure experience Pic: Cyberpunk 2077/CD Projekt Red.

The official Twitter account for the much-anticipated game thanked Liana for sharing her ordeal and stated they were “exploring” a “more permanent solution” to be released as soon as possible.

The developers said they have created an extra warning screen in the game, as well as one in the EULA – a legal agreement between gamers and the developer.

“An alternative visual effect is already awaiting implementation,” they added.

Cyberpunk 2077
Image:
The game’s creators have been working on an ‘alternative visual effect’ which is ‘awaiting implementation’

Photosensitive epilepsy – triggered by flashing lights or contrasting colours – is uncommon, and around three in every 100 people have it.

Epilepsy UK advises gamers who may come across something that could trigger a seizure without warning to keep their eyes open (to avoid a flicker effect), while covering one eye with the palm of one hand immediately and to turn away from the possible trigger as soon as possible.

They say that doing these things can reduce the risk of a possible seizure.

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