Cyberpunk 2077 is a game loaded with decisions, both big and small. Perhaps one of the biggest you will make early game is that of your lifepath. Working predominantly for worldbuilding, this decision will affect the way you play and talk more so than the story itself. If you are someone who doesn't invest in the roleplaying, this will fairly minor, but for those who like to know their character, this will be a huge decision.
This will affect a few major features here. The first and most obvious is how you are introduced to Jackie Welles, your lovable companion. Each path will have a unique quest to them at the very start of the game, changing your relationship with him. They also all have a few optional decisions and lots of unique dialogue for both the main quest and side gigs. This will likely come in handy, especially if planned around well. Let's take you through the difference.
Spoilers ahead for the prologue of each lifepath. Skip to the third paragraph of each section if you want a rundown of their character without spoilers
Cyberpunk 2077 Corpo Lifepath
The Corpo lifepath is one rooted in corporate deception and knowledge of the 1%. They have privileged information granted to them by their employment in the Arasaka Corporation. This employment has rubbed off on V, making them ruthless, powerful, and very knowledgeable of the corporate world. V's boss, Arthur Jenkins, orders them to deal with another Corpo who took their promotion.
You get the money and make your way forward, working with your long-time friend, Jackie Welles, to figure out how to get rid of them. They crash your brainstorm session with armed guards and fire you for daring to do so. Jackie offers to help you get back on your feet and the prologue is done.
The Corpo path is very much based on a certain magnetism and charisma. Your character is good at seeing through lies and even better at cracking down on them. Whilst it gives you unique ways of solving certain quests, you are better off making this decision based on how you play. If you like making money, tip toeing the lines of morality tripping people up with words, this is the path for you.
Cyberpunk 2077 Streetkid Lifepath
Streetkids know Night City very well but from the bottom—the opposite of the Corpo. Spending your life in the streets, you go from gig to gig making just enough Eddies to survive. With this, you start in El Coyote Coho Bar tending to a broken nose. After telling the short tale of someone attempting to mug you, the bartender confides in you that he owes money to a new fixer in town. If you can sort it, he will forgive your bar tab.
You agree to steal an expensive car from a Corpo. Getting in with Padre, a friend, you make your plan and get on your way. Padre's driver, Jackie Welles, attempts to steal the plan for himself where both you and Jackie are caught. Instead of killing you like they were instructed, you are released with just a beating, where you and Jackie team up to survive together.
Streetkids are knowledgeable in the streets, as obvious as that sounds. You will have more access to gangs around the streets and will get that information much easier, but you will deal with Corpos poorly. You will often be judged and tend to lash out in response. This is an interesting path for someone who wants access to the grime at the bottom of the city but can be picked by someone who wants to deal with it too.
Cyberpunk 2077 Nomad Lifepath
The Nomad is very much a bit of a hermit character. They actively tend to disengage with the city and are rather anarchistic in nature. They have a heart beating at the center of their Nomad family but not much more.
In this, you start in a garage looking to fix your car and head out to a meeting spot to start a gig. You are immediately harassed by a police officer and the mechanic himself. You get out quick and with little to say. You make your way out to a shack in the city where you spot Jackie Welles sitting on a sofa. He works with you to smuggle something into the city. After making your way forward, you are stopped at the border and chased down after being flagged by an officer. You go through a hectic car gun fight to arrive - battered and bruised - at a garage, only to find your luggage is a rare iguana. Now that you're in the city, you and Jackie form a bond with your Nomad nature and work together to survive.
Your role as a Nomad will be one that often leaves you on the outside of conversation. You are looked down upon as somewhat of an anarchist, but this can work in your favor when you find likeminded individuals. You can convince a few people to leave their position and others to trust you. Nomads are known as outsiders but trusting to a select few.
And with that, you are done. The decision won't be an easy one but you can check all our coverage to make it a little easier.
For more Cyberpunk 2077 guides, check out our guides hub for all things Night City.