The biggest problem with Cyberpunk 2077 will always be the missing content. No matter how many bugs are cleared or how many systems have been improved, Cyberpunk will never be the game it was originally intended to be. Expansions, fixes, and sequels will help fill in the gaps, but the sheer number of underdeveloped and unexplored concepts, characters, factions, and locations is insurmountable. Some of the coolest factions only appear for a few moments, never to be seen or heard from again despite the fact that their very existence is expected to have a huge impact on the world and its history. There is no better example of wasted potential in Cyberpunk 2077 than Trauma Team.
We first meet the trauma team in the second story mission, right after the time jump. V and Jackie infiltrate a Scavenger hideout to save a woman named Sandra. After taking her lifeless body out of a bathtub, V resuscitates her and takes her to a nearby terrace where they are greeted by a helicopter from the trauma team. The paramilitary medical team makes a grand entrance, but quickly flies away with Sandra (almost) never to be seen again.
If you deign to open the lore tab and read about Trauma Team, you can learn a lot about this fascinating organization. Both ambulance and mercenary, Trauma Team is the most extreme logical extreme of privatized American medicine. Instead of buying health insurance, the wealthy of Night City buy trauma team memberships that entitle them to full medical coverage, including 24/7 monitoring of their vital signs, on-demand plastic surgery and emergency patient transport. When a subscriber calls the trauma team for help, military-trained paramedics arrive and extract them within three minutes, killing anyone who gets in their way. Only the wealthiest can afford this level of healthcare, and as such, Trauma Team is one of the largest and most powerful companies in Night City.
You meet them again later in the game – sort of. During The Heist mission, you can see a TT dropship arrive as you leave after Yorinobu kills his father. Trauma Team is mentioned during a few later missions, but they are never seen again for the rest of the game. Like I said – wasted potential.
It makes perfect sense for Trauma Team to appear in The Heist. Saburo Arasaka is one of the most powerful people in Night City, so you’d expect him to come under 24/7 surveillance. As soon as he hit the flatline, the trauma team showed up to save him. This is exactly what you would expect from such a faction, so why don’t they show up every time a wealthy person is in danger?
There are a lot of characters in Cyberpunk 2077 who would definitely use the services of Trauma Team. Dex is one of Night City’s most powerful repairers, but he is killed and his body is thrown out of town without anyone noticing. Anders Hellman is a famous bioengineer who invented the relic, but when his AV is shot and kidnapped, Trauma Team doesn’t come to save him. When it comes to Assault in Progress missions, any number of minor characters involved could be Trauma Team subscribers. Sometimes there are historical reasons that would prevent the trauma team from showing up, but I can’t believe there isn’t a single shootout with them as they come to save a target that you. try to murder.
There are an endless number of scenarios that Trauma Team could have been a part of. Imagine a mission where you have to pretend to be a paramedic and work with the trauma team to find a target, to kill the patient as soon as you find them. Or what if you run into a dead end on the street between rival gangs with a trauma team at the center trying to protect an undercover cop. I don’t know what CDPR had planned for Trauma Team, but it’s clear that they were meant to be a much bigger force in Night City than what they ended up being.
Cullen Bunn and Miguel Valderrama’s Dark Horse’s Trauma Team comic book miniseries is an incredible example of the kind of storyline the game could have had. The story follows Nadia, an EMT assistant whose entire team was killed in a bloody shootout. After he returns to work, his next mining subject is the Apex, the man who just killed his coworkers. Not only do Nadia and her new team have to save Apex, they have to fight their way through a skyscraper filled with rival gang members to reach it. It’s storylines like this that would have been fascinating to experience in Cyberpunk 2077, but instead we got nothing.
I’m not the first person to notice that Trauma Team is underused in Cyberpunk 2077, and it’s far from the only faction that doesn’t get its due. But it represents the dystopian future of runaway capitalism and technocracy better than any other aspect of Cyberpunk, and it’s a shame we can barely see it.
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