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Cyberpunk Red starts with a little text from the author of original Cyberpunk, and it contains in a nutshell, why Cyberpunk Red is not just a continuation of Cyberpunk 2020 and that there are a lot of changes. In fact, Mike Pondsmith promises that quite some things from Cyberpunk 2020 have been reset (or in other words: retconned) to make the backdrop of Cyberpunk Red, set in the 2040s, and placed neatly in the gap between the old CP2020 and the console title in 2077.

In Cyberpunk, my solution has always been to treat the entire world like a giant comic book, divided up into roughly ten-year story arcs. The Cyberpunk world goes to hell beginning in 1993, starting with the invention of modern cyberware and the attack on the World Trade Center in New York by Colombian narco-terrorists. We start the main Cyberpunk story (what I call the Never Fade Away Arc) ten years later in 2013 with the culmination being Johnny Silverhand's invasion of the Arasaka Tower in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend, Alt Cunningham. Ten more years pass and then begins the Cyberpunk 2020 Arc (which I call the Fall of the Towers Arc… starting to see a pattern here, what with me destroying big buildings all the time?) by the end of which the Cyberpunk world is totally disrupted in 2023.

Working in story arcs is useful. It allows you to keep the main world operational while creating new storylines and introducing new characters. You get to build on what is already there and familiar. But by the end of the 2020 Arc, I had two big problems. First, it wasn't going to be enough simply to start a new storyline. I had to deal with the fact that much of the existing world had been mined out and needed a reset.

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Cyberpunk RED doesn't wreck the world. But it resets many of the elements of that world without having to make it unrecognizable. [...]

So... there's changes. Lots of them to be expected. The system comparison was done alredy and came up to "more streamlined, feels very similar", but now it is going into the actual feel of the world: Which elements of the CP2020 timeline got reset, retconned, declared non-happenings or spooled back or rewritten to Cyberpunk Red?

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Nothing of Note

The losses were all Cyberpunk v3.0 and CyberGeneration material. The first was declared non-canon a few years after it went on sale and the second is now a spin-off universe, if one of the 2020 problems spread out of control.

According to Mike Pondsmith (reddit, 2018, link in the title):

Ahem. There's still an incorrect interview floating around the interwebs that states that Cyberpunk 2077 and Cyberpunk 2020 are separate timelines. To clear this up, I am posting RIGHT HERE AND NOW that the timeline is unified, with the path moving from Cyberpunk 2013 thru Cyberpunk 2020, then through Cyberpunk RED and up to Cyberpunk 2077.

Lord knows, we spent enough time hashing the details out over the past six months. Expect more on this later. Back to your cyberlives, everyone.

In that same source:

Generation actually happened in 2020, but not as extensively. The Carbon Plague was ended in a year. On the other hand, V3 is no longer canon.

Other lore differences are all a result of different perspectives on the same events.

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