Phantom Liberty is a self-contained Cyberpunk 2077 expansion that adds further depth to the game’s existing plot. Here, we’ll be breaking down the story of this expansion, exploring its key characters, major plot points, and all endings that are available.
Phantom Liberty Story Overview
Phantom Liberty takes place approximately two-thirds into the main storyline of Cyberpunk 2077. Players can choose to experience it by continuing their existing character’s journey or create a brand new one specifically for this expansion.
The story begins when V, the protagonist, receives an enigmatic message from a character known as Songbird. The task? Rescue the President of the New United States, who is on the brink of crashing in the perilous district of Night City, known as Dogtown. This lawless region is controlled by an independent militia called Barghest, making the rescue mission all the more daunting. To aid in this perilous quest, V partners with a sleeper agent from the NUSA, Solomon Reed, portrayed by Idris Elba. What follows is an intricate investigation that uncovers shocking secrets and a power struggle between various factions.
At the core of Phantom Liberty lies the complex relationship between Songbird and Reed. Their lives are inexorably intertwined, and the expansion delves deep into their broken pasts and their quest for redemption and self-discovery.
Unraveling the Backstory: Songbird, Reed, and Myers
To comprehend the intricacies of Phantom Liberty’s story, we must delve into the past of its key characters. Seven years prior to the expansion’s events, Songbird betrayed Reed during their departure from Night City. This betrayal seemingly led to Reed’s “death” with Songbird’s assistance.
Songbird’s backstory is equally fascinating. She was abducted at a young age and manipulated into becoming a tool for Myers, one of the key antagonists in Cyberpunk 2077. She was coerced by Myers to venture beyond the Blackwall, a digital barrier, with each foray eroding her memories and her sense of self. Reed, however, harbored genuine care for Songbird, even after she orchestrated a near-death encounter with Myers, designed to eliminate another loose end.
Songbird, discovering the existence of the neural matrix and its potential, sought to break free from Myers’ control and escape the looming influence of the Blackwall. Her ultimate aim was to take the neural matrix, despite the unintended consequences of the President’s ship crashing in Dogtown.
In terms of dynamics, think of these characters as chess pieces—Myers as the King, Songbird as the Queen, and Reed as the Knight. This expansion explores what would happen if these pieces had their own motives, making it a complex game of power and manipulation.
Phantom Liberty Ending Explained
Phantom Liberty’s multiple endings hinge on the decisions players make during its mission structure. One of the pivotal choices occurs in the “Firestarter” mission. Players must decide whether to help Songbird or assist Reed.
- Help Songbird escape: Selecting “I’m with you” leads to a different set of missions.
- Help Reed capture Songbird: Opting for “One more second” initiates a separate path.
The choice made here influences the finale, subsequent missions, and iconic weapon rewards. The story diverges significantly based on this decision.
Put simply, Phantom Liberty features two primary story arcs that lead to different endings. Let’s explore them.
Finale #1: The Killing Moon – Songbird’s Escape
Choosing to help Songbird escape in the “Firestarter” mission leads to a finale titled “The Killing Moon.” The objective is to secure a spaceport for Songbird’s departure to a lunar facility. However, as the mission progresses, doubts arise regarding Songbird’s true intentions. Several options become available at this juncture:
- Pick up Songbird: “Time to go” or “Wake the hell up.”
- Call Reed: “Reed will take care of you.”
What Happens if You Defend Songbird:
If you choose to help Songbird escape and pick her up, a standoff occurs when Reed intervenes. The following scenarios can unfold:
- Reed warns you to keep your distance; advancing will lead to your death.
- If you persist and refuse to hand over Songbird, Reed will take lethal action.
- If you holster your weapon, you surrender Songbird, setting the stage for a different outcome.
With Reed out of the picture, you can escort Songbird to the shuttle, with V and Johnny watching as the shuttle takes off. This arc does not lead to finding a cure for V. Instead, it directs the story back to the base game’s endings, such as Nocturne Op55N1 and the Hanako Arasaka storyline. No additional post-credits scenes ensue.
What Happens if You Give Up Songbird:
Surrendering Songbird to Reed takes the story down a different path. You have a couple of options:
- In the train car, call Reed and hand over Songbird once he emerges from the shuttle.
- Alternatively, pick up Songbird and, during the standoff, keep talking to Reed.
- Choose the option: [Holster weapon] “All yours, but you’ll help me live on.”
This choice leads to a new ending for the Cyberpunk 2077 main campaign, eliminating the need to complete Nocturne Op55N1 and Arasaka HQ-related tasks. Reed will transport Songbird, and V’s fate takes a different course.
Finale #2: Somewhat Damaged – Songbird’s Capture
Opting to help Reed capture Songbird in the “Firestarter” mission unfolds an entirely separate finale. It encompasses two missions: “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” and “Somewhat Damaged.” In these missions, you deal with MaxTac forces guarding Songbird and navigate a perilous facility while seeking the Erebus iconic weapon and Militech Canto Mk6 cyberware.
Towards the end of “Somewhat Damaged,” you confront a weakened Songbird. She presents you with a choice:
- Kill Songbird
- Spare Songbird: Additional dialogue options follow if you choose not to kill her immediately.
Opting to spare Songbird leads to the mission “Leave in Silence.” V and Reed escort her back to the NUSA’s border. The following events unfold:
What Happens if You Spare Songbird:
- President Myers awards you a medal, possibly contingent on taking the oath earlier in the campaign.
- Reed promises to contact you in the future.
- Songbird, weakened but alive, is airlifted to safety.
What Happens if You Kill Songbird:
Choosing to kill Songbird yields a similar sequence of scenes in “Leave in Silence.” However, there are notable differences:
- Reed mourns Songbird’s death.
- President Myers reneged on her promise to cure V since the mission was to bring Songbird back alive.
- Reed is disheartened by his failure to rescue Songbird.
After you’ve made the critical decision in the “Firestarter” mission, you’re asked to wait for a few days until Reed contacts you about a potential cure. The timing of this call is somewhat uncertain, but it will come eventually. When Reed does reach out to you, you need to meet him at a designated location.
- If you helped Songbird escape in Firestarter, you must surrender her to Reed in the mission “The Killing Moon.” This leads to another mission called “Through Pain to Heaven,” where you rendezvous with Reed at a gas station. He informs you that NUSA’s scientists are preparing for your operation.
- If you helped Reed capture Songbird in Firestarter, and you chose to spare Songbird in “Somewhat Damaged,” you’ll embark on the mission “Four Score and Seven.” Reed waits for you at a basketball court in Dogtown, conveying the same message about NUSA’s scientists getting ready for your cure.
From either of these branches, you’ll proceed to the quest “Who Wants to Live Forever.” Your objective is to reach the rooftop of Misty’s Esoterica, marked on your map. If you’ve played the base game, you’ll recognize this location as where V previously made decisions regarding how to approach Arasaka HQ.
New Cyberpunk 2077 Ending
This new ending, titled “Things Done Changed,” brings a bittersweet conclusion to the wider Cyberpunk 2077 experience. Here’s a brief summary of what unfolds:
- V has been successfully cured, which means no more Soulkiller and no more Johnny Silverhand.
- Unfortunately, V’s cyberware implants have been removed, rendering any attempt to use a combat implant potentially lethal. Solomon Reed extends a job offer in his office, which your character declines.
- The operation results in V falling into a coma for two years. Upon awakening, you find that much has transpired in your absence:
- If you had a romantic relationship with Judy, it has ended due to the two-year gap, and Judy is now married to someone else.
- Panam does not respond to your calls, and a post-credits scene reveals that she has been deeply affected by your disappearance. Mitch advises you to cease contact with her.
- Kerry is touring Europe and has no time for you.
- River has faced difficulties and has a criminal record, having crossed paths with dangerous individuals.
- Viktor, your Ripperdoc friend, seems to have a plan in mind.
Epilogue: Returning to Night City
This marks the epilogue of the Phantom Liberty expansion. Upon returning to Night City, you encounter a couple of familiar faces:
- Viktor attempts to run diagnostics but realizes that there’s no way to reverse the damage to V’s neural link.
- Misty, with a newfound aura of confidence, offers guidance and advice.
In this concluding phase, V, once a legendary mercenary, is alive and well. However, they can no longer engage in combat-oriented roles, as most of their cybernetic implants have been removed. V has transitioned into a regular person, blending into the city’s bustling crowds.
This unique ending also features post-credits scenes that offer insights into the fates of other characters:
- Mitch advises against contacting Panam further, as your disappearance has deeply affected her.
- Rogue welcomes you to the Afterlife bar but cautions you against tarnishing your legend.
- Takemura shares the story of his and Hanako’s failed attempt to overthrow Yorinobu Arasaka, which resulted in Hanako’s death and Takemura being falsely accused of her murder.
- Reed reports that Songbird is alive, but he hasn’t been in contact with her for an extended period, hinting at his remorse.
As you will have noted, Phantom Liberty provides players with unique and intriguing narrative paths and endings, offering a fresh perspective on V’s journey in the dystopian world of Night City. While it may not provide a definitive resolution to all of the main game’s storylines, it adds layers of complexity and emotional depth to the Cyberpunk 2077 experience. Whether this conclusion to V’s arc is satisfying or leaves room for further exploration is a subjective judgment that each player can make.