Follow TV Tropes



Go To

Post-Cyberpunk picks up where Cyberpunk left off. Whereas cyberpunk is/was a Darker and Edgier riposte to older Science Fiction, intended to portray what might happen if we don't all destroy ourselves, Post-Cyberpunk is intended to present a less pessimistic, more idealistic vision.

Where Cyberpunk is anti-corporate and anti-government, Post-Cyberpunk is willing to give both parties redeeming features. Where Cyberpunk portrays the future as a Crapsack World, Post-Cyberpunk posits society will probably be about the same, just with cooler gadgets and Crapsaccharine World aspects. Where Cyberpunk is futuristic, forward-thinking and on the cutting edge of technology... so is Post-Cyberpunk.

Post-Cyberpunk is the reaction to the apathetically bleak setting of Cyberpunk. Of course, Post-Cyberpunk involves reconstruction of concepts Cyberpunk deconstructed, or deconstruction of Cyberpunk Tropes (such as the Dystopia). The Cyberpunk genre itself was meant as a reaction to utopian fiction popular in the 1940s and 1950s while exploring technology's possibility for abuse 20 Minutes into the Future (e.g. tech from Star Trek will just result in Brave New World), but as the genre itself got so Dark and Edgy that it became unrealistic, it was predictable that Cyberpunk itself would get a deconstruction.

What the old and new Cyberpunk genres share is a detailed immersion in societies enmeshed with technology. They explore the emergent possibilities of connectivity and technological change. What Post-Cyberpunk has that separates it from pure Cyberpunk works is an emphasis on positive socialization. In Lawrence Person's "Notes Toward a Post-Cyberpunk Manifesto" he describes typical Post-Cyberpunk protagonists as "anchored in their society rather than adrift in it. They have careers, friends, obligations, responsibilities, and all the trappings of 'ordinary' life." For this reason, character goals also differed characteristically, "Cyberpunk characters frequently seek to topple or exploit corrupt social orders. Post-Cyberpunk characters tend to seek ways to live in, or even strengthen, an existing social order, or help construct a better one."

In other words, there is a notable absence of 'punk' elements as found in most other Punk Punk genres. And in recent years several works that rely heavily on post-cyberpunk conventions and tropes and have a strong post-cyberpunk atmosphere managed to drop most of the 'cyber' aspects as well. (See Inception and Mirror's Edge as examples.) Just like it's mentioned in the Cyberpunk article, Post-Cyberpunk heavily deals with Social sci-fi in accordance with Asimov's Three Kinds of Science Fiction, but its portrayal of technology is more neutral than Cyberpunk's, and sometimes it's downright positive. While Cyberpunk focuses on technology going beyond our control and dooming us all, Post-Cyberpunk states that humans cause technology to go awry, and that responsible use of technology could actually bring us to a new age. Simply put, Post-Cyberpunk basically reins in Cyberpunk's excess and tries to give us a more open vision of the future.

Aside from this main difference, the two sister genres share many themes, tropes, and story elements to the point that many question the legitimacy of this genre as separate from Cyberpunk, and contend that Post-Cyberpunk is simply Cyberpunk expanded beyond its base and taken further logically. Purists, however, see a definite difference.

As with mainstream punk culture, the cyberpunk movement (and it really did start as a serious Anarchist socio/political movement as in the 1986 Cyberpunk Manifesto) got Lost in Imitation which emphasized stylish elements over substance. Pop-Cultural Osmosis pushed the visual aspects of cyberpunk over the deeper meaning of the cyberpunk movement. Ironically, Blade Runner, the film that established the Ur-Example of the cyberpunk look, did not have significant cyberpunk themes (such as hackers, cyborgs, and cyberspace). It was a futuristic noir film that approached the often-approached What Measure Is a Human? theme. But the slick, cynical Neo-Noir style along with the background extras wearing mohawks, black leather, sunglasses, Asian fetish, and other tropes that would eventually make it into The Matrix trilogy remain the chief identifiers universally associated with cyberpunk. While the actual subculture punks did don signature looks, they were eventually outnumbered by posers who like to dress the partnote  but don't care about or understand the philosophy or lifestyle. The exponents of the original Anarchist cyberpunk movement were apparently not into costuming and insisted that a cyberpunk can and does look like anyone.note 

The Post-9/11 ideological atmosphere of 21st-century America also saw a marked decrease in heroes who were decidedly anti-establishment. Despite the dystopian nature of cyberpunk settings, it was frequently assumed that race, gender, nationality, and sexual orientation would be non-issues in the future, the rationale being that the last generation that really cared would have almost died out by then (even racially homogeneous Japan is often depicted as a melting pot in the future). However, now that society is in the chronological era that the majority of cyberpunk depicted, issues surrounding identitarian politics are still not only alive but even more volatile than ever, threatening to make society more divisive.

As a result, Post-Cyberpunk is often required to shelve more futurist themes and focus on existing social issues that have carried over from the past millennium. Additionally, it is far more difficult (bordering on impossibility) to operate anonymously or in the shadows outside of the system (the "Punk" aspect of Cyberpunk or under dual/false identities. The increase of security profiling, monitoring, hidden surveillance, and current forensics technology is making it less and less possible to move around without leaving fingerprints or footprints of some type, digital or otherwise. And today, there is now the understanding that there is no anonymity or privacy on the internet. But ironically, the cyberpunk revival of the late 2010s and early 2020s is post-post-cyberpunk, possibly indicating a Cyclic Trope.

Basically, if you have a Crapsack World modelled on Nineteen Eighty-Four and/or Japanese Zaibatsu where (most critically) technology is a method by which the power elite control the people, and the protagonists are entirely against said society, you have traditional Cyberpunk. If, however, you have a world that has some redeeming features, is not controlled by the State and/or MegaCorp, technology isn't screwing everything up, and the protagonists are trying to fix social problems from within rather than rebelling against society from without, you have Post-Cyberpunk. Of course, there is plenty of overlap.

In Japan, the tropes that would make up Post-Cyberpunk have been a part of their science-fiction worldview since as long as anime have existed, predating Cyberpunk itself. The incredibly influential Astro Boy portrayed technology as having the potential for both great good and great evil from the very beginning, and the punk elements were largely imported later and were never quite as popular in Japan as they were in the United States.

Compare Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk for Flavor, Punk Punk, and Postsomethingism. See Cyberpunk Tropes for tropes found in Post-Cyberpunk works and shared with its cousin Cyberpunk. Also compare to Solar Punk: both were created as reactions to Cyberpunk, but came to different conclusions — Post-Cyberpunk says "the future sucks so we will redeem it", it accepts the world we live in and the systems that support it (industrialization, corporate globalism, and resource exploitation), but adapts them to be less harmful; Solar Punk says "the future sucks so we will replace it", it rejects the Cyberpunk vision entirely and presents a new vision built around small communities, sustainable ecology, artisan craftsmanship, and social anarchism. Unlike Cyberpunk, which may ascribe to Science Is Bad, Post-Cyberpunk, and Solar Punk are more likely to ascribe to Science Is Good — or at least, science can be good if not abused.

Not to be confused with Post-Punk, which is a music genre based on New Wave Music. Soundtrack-wise, however, there is an overlap.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Though Appleseed starts with two soldiers scavenging for food in the wake of a nuclear holocaust and fighting against gangs of mercenaries, they are soon taken to a city of Crystal Spires and Togas, where they are hired as paramilitary police officers.
  • Perhaps the earliest example of Post-Cyberpunk predates Cyberpunk itself — Astro Boy. It has many of the themes present in Post-Cyberpunk works, where technology causes massive social upheaval and change that is rough, but ultimately good and a symbol of hope as cyborgs and robots experience discrimination and contemplate rebellion but are ultimately integrated into society.
  • Though A Certain Magical Index is more slanted in the direction of urban fantasy, spinoff series A Certain Scientific Railgun wears this trope as its central premise. The first season anime in particular toggles between being a slice-of-life series about the lives of young students living in a futuristic city (pictured above) and the plot which focuses on the social ramifications of said students being able to learn to have psychic powers. The Level Upper arc in particular is powered by the divisions between the haves and the have-nots.
  • Cowboy Bebop is mostly a Space Western, but is an interesting case, since it also pulls from cyberpunk elements as well; on one hand, you have a futuristic Earth that was devastated by an experiment gone wrong, which resulted in a majority of the population pulling up their stakes and settling elsewhere in the solar system, which itself resulted in a massive spike in crime across the system due to the mass immigration stretching law enforcement organizations too thinly to be effective, which then resulted in the establishment of an old-fashioned bounty hunting system to combat crime. On the other, there's... not much else going wrong. Despite the hardship, life continues as usual elsewhere in the system, with megacorps and corruption serving minor roles, if any, in the series proper.
  • Digimon:
    • The franchise is perhaps an extreme example of Post-Cyberpunk characterization. The main heroes are just normal kids with families and friends, who happen to also restore order to the Digital World, not to mention forge unbreakable bonds of friendship with sapient computer programs. Also, there is a important focus on relationships as much as world saving.
    • Digimon Tamers is closest to Cyberpunk, thanks to being written by the writer of Serial Experiments Lain. There's a secret government conspiracy, monitoring everything and conducting dark experiments; the heroes are young streetwise punks who befriend what are, essentially, rogue AIs. They end up subverting the government conspiracy and stopping more dangerous AIs. Philosophical questions about life arise. Granted, as it's part of a Mons children's series, on the whole, it's not as grim as other examples here, but by the same coin, it's pretty heavy for a "shōnen" series.
    • Digimon Universe: App Monsters, although not as egregious as Tamers, has applications and software turned into living AI and fighting each other, among other things. Hackers are also present as well.
  • Gatchaman Crowds has a heavy emphasis on the internet and how it's changing the world. Unlike standard Cyberpunk, this is portrayed positively.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex straddles the line between Cyberpunk and Post-Cyberpunk. On the one hand, the world is recovering from devastating world wars, while governmental corruption, media control, excessive state security (of which the heroes are one branch), and social division is at an all-time high. Yet at the same time, an ordinary middle class still exists, society and culture have not collapsed into mindless consumerism, and technology is portrayed neutrally. Most of all, the heroes may be ruthless agents, but ultimately are dedicated to protecting their country, even if it means pitting themselves against conspiracies that have emerged from their own government. Japan itself is visually depicted as fairly similar to its modern state (albeit with more advanced technology), rather than being a devastated Wretched Hive.
  • The Orbital Children, by the creator of Den-noh Coil, ultimately has an optimistic attitude towards space colonization and artificial intelligence.
  • Patlabor takes place in this sort of world, though the 'punk' side of things are portrayed to vastly different extents depending on the continuity (manga, TV, film, plus wherever the OVA series fits — but in all cases fairly mildly). The main characters are all police officers, the government is on solid ground, and the corporations clearly answer to it rather than the other way around as would be the case in classic cyberpunk. The only practical difference between then-modern 1988 and the 1998 in the shows are Labors and the Babylon Project that prompted their creation — and compared to other robot anime of the time, that the difference is so minor is astonishing. The Next Generation -Patlabor- continues the idea, except Labors are not seen anymore as being relevant and police and military forces are forced to keep them in working condition.
  • In Psycho-Pass, the protagonists work for the system and technology has brought something close to utopia, but there are darker undertones in relation to how technology has affected humanity and the nature of the Sibyl System.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has elements of this. Corrupt corporations and conspiracies? Check. Cyberspace? Check. Normal kids fighting evil? Check. While fighting consist of card games instead of high-tech action, the characterization and goals match.

    Comic Books 
  • Firewake is a Magitek example of this. The titular character is a high-ranking police detective pursuing a powerful villain, and the corporations and governments are both aids and hindrances.
  • The Surrogates isn't bleak enough to qualify as Cyberpunk, and technology comes pretty close to solving all of society's problems, but even a society where (most) people can possess the perfect body and the worst crimes are damaging property has its own flaws.
  • Transmetropolitan: While science has brought great wonders to humanity, humans are still the same old assholes. The most popular fast food franchise of the future serves cloned human meat. This key factor is what makes Transmetropolitan Post-Cyberpunk: the technology does not alienate people; people alienate people. The bizarre transgenic modifications actively help to bring about social good and fight the apathy choking the system. There's a good argument technology alienating people versus people alienating people has never been a feature of cyberpunk.
  • Wildcats 3.0 has a huge MegaCorp answerable to none buying out entire conglomerates, technological advances leading to social upheaval, and ineffective governments looking out for their own economic interests. All the elements of a Cyberpunk world, but with a twist; the MegaCorp is entirely altruistic. Interestingly, most of the characters are very aware of the implications. Even the two people who know the MegaCorp best wonder if a MegaCorp can actually be anything but malicious.

    Films — Animated 
  • Belle (2021) could best be described as "cyberprep" in the vein of her (2013). It features very few "punk" elements but uses many concepts that find their origin in Cyberpunk, including a virtual metaverse and commonplace brain-computer interfaces coexisting with more mundane technology like smartphones, motorcars, and trains.
  • Big Hero 6 starts out looking like Cyberpunk, set in a city that's literally a mash-up between San Francisco and Tokyo, and opening with a semi-legal underground robot fight, and it looks like the villain is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who dresses in a black trenchcoat. But the protagonist spends maybe 15 minutes as a criminal before he's convinced that his robotics talents are better spent off at college, and it turns out to be not really a dystopia at all.
  • Summer Wars is a shining example of this, what with the fact that a virtual world is the thing that connects everything together. Not to mention the Next Sunday A.D. setting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Despite its Cyberpunk elements, Alimuom actually isn't as pessimistic in its setting despite the heavy toll of pollution and environmental destruction and the existence of interstellar Mega Corps — in fact, as a film about the importance of farming and food security, Science Is Good (at least, the natural sciences are, anyway).
  • Although the late 1990s had a string of sci-fi movies that dealt with the Platonic Cave idea and virtual reality, eXistenZ (which also contains aspects of Bio Punk) is perhaps the only one to present the virtual reality as a good thing. As for the Cave, well... let's just say transcendence is no better than existence.
  • her (2013) features artificial intelligences that have the capacity to fall in love with natural-born humans and futuristic cities of glass and steel, which fulfils the "cyber" part, but very little in the way of "punk", other than the main character's boring corporate job. Many critics refer to it as "cyberprep".
  • Inception has some of the hallmarks of cyberpunk — a burned-out protagonist and the powerful Japanese Corrupt Corporate Executive who hires him to brainwash a business rival — but the Japanese guy turns out to be not so bad and is actually trying to prevent a monopoly, the protagonist gets better (sort of), and the brainwashing plays out as Epiphany Therapy. Extraction/inception itself is simply a different take on hacking in Cyberspace, only with dreams instead of computers. Inception mostly achieves post-cyberpunk status by avoiding the '80s-influenced look of cyberpunk, not the story and feel thereof.
  • Minority Report is a gritty noir tale set in 2054, and though it deals with cyberpunk themes such as Big Brother Is Watching and Sinister Surveillance, it's not a complete Dystopia and everything is actually quite shiny and clean. Washington, D.C. has the lowest crime rates in the country thanks to the Pre-Crime Division. An essay by David Brin asserted that when spider-bots flush into an apartment building to check people's eyes (in hopes of finding a pre-criminal), it's portrayed as a limited intrusion agreed to by the citizens, rather than an imposition from an unaccountable elite.
  • Replicas deals with a lot of the Cyberpunk themes, such as many technological developments often considered dangerous or controversial (brain uploading, cloning, robots) along with a huge nefarious corporation (plus the government it's working with) but treats using such technology as not inherently bad, just risky (partly due to their kinks, plus what people will do to have it). Though it isn't easy, with enough effort they can be used safely and lead to a happy ending. Meanwhile, the world looks exactly the same.
  • In RoboCop (2014), OmniCorp and its parent company OCP isn't an almighty 1980s-style MegaCorp, though the issue of automated drones, rising crime and Sinister Surveillance is touched on. On the other hand, Robocop is shown to be using many of those very same technologies for good.

Examples by author
  • Neal Stephenson:
    • Snow Crash, and to an extent, Cryptonomicon. Snow Crash especially straddles the line between Utopia and Dystopia and is usually considered the Trope Maker.
    • To an even greater extent, The Diamond Age, which begins with a typical cyberpunk character, the two-bit cyborg criminal Bud, who gets arrested, tried, and executed before the actual story begins, to show that such characters have no place in this world. The novel is set in a near-future where technological advance has wiped away nation-states and radically altered the entire global economy –- for most people, this turns out to be a good thing.
  • Bruce Sterling:
    • The 1988 novel Islands in the Net is one of the original Post-Cyberpunk works. Sterling tackles the problem of corporate power head on, envisaging Rizone, a highly networked multinational founded on "economic democracy".
    • Sterling's two interlinked short stories, "Maneki Neko" and "Bicycle Repairman", both published in his seminal collection meaningfully called Good Old-Fashioned Future, arguably do an even better job at it, due to being written more than a decade later, when his ideas became clearer. But then, Sterling has always been ''less'' bleak than most of the Cyberpunk authors. In "Maneki Neko", the Japanese combination of gift economy and social networking on a large scale, backed by enormous (and anonymous) network support, appears not only wholly benevolent, but also much more convenient, friendly and efficient than your garden variety cyberpunk MegaCorp capitalism exemplified by the US agents. However, this system is not without its problems, some of which are explored in "Bicycle Repairman".
  • Charles Stross:
Examples by title:
  • Aeon 14 blends significant influence of post-cyberpunk into a Space Opera setting, with Artificial Intelligence, Brain/Computer Interface, and Bio-Augmentation as major parts of the setting and portrayed neutrally (and sapient AIs almost always counted solidly among the good guys). The world overall looks quite similar to what we have now on Earth, except in space.
  • ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture has cyberpunk subversions galore, to the point that the closest people to freedom fighters hacking their way to a better future are the Social Media Killer, a villain who "kills" public figures by revealing scandals and is secretly a pretty high-schooler, and the Cybermancer, a washed-up Matrix reject. Both come out looking more pathetic than Morgan, which is quite a feat.
  • The Cassandra Kresnov novels are post-cyberpunk with a Military Science Fiction backdrop for flavor. The title character is an Artificial Human Super-Soldier who works for Callay's planetary police after gaining political asylum there, and Tanusha is portrayed as a mostly happy cosmopolitan city of shiny skyscrapers instead of a dingy, crime-ridden place.
  • The Centenal Cycle is about the idea of microdemocracy, with every population of 100,000 people developing their own government. The cyberpunk part mostly comes from Information, the hybrid of the UN and Google who run elections. The post-cyberpunk part comes from the fact that this system is largely an improvement on the current state of the world, and the question of whether something even better could replace it.
  • Cyberpunk City is about a hacker living in a bright Neon City in the future that works for the megacorps rather than opposes them alongside his beautiful Hollywood Cyborg Action Girl companion. It has darker elements but is a great deal lighter and softer than the usual cyberpunk dystopia.
  • While Daemon is a cyberpunk techno-thriller, its sequel, FreedomTM, deals with the establishment of a new social order in the aftermath of the first book's open class warfare.
  • Dark Destiny is a story about a young student activist working against One Nation Under Copyright before time travelers start targeting him.
  • Pat Cadigan's Dervish Is Digital about cops working in AR (Artificial or Alternate Reality) which is basically treated like a frontier in desperate need of taming.
  • The Future Punk series is a centuries-long struggle of various Ragtag Band of Misfits against corporations.
  • Richard Kadrey's Metrophage sits uneasily midway between Cyberpunk and Post-Cyberpunk — it was published relatively early in the cyberpunk era but is far more concerned with political and social issues than most of its contemporaries.
  • Murderworld posits a mostly functional American democracy, although one tainted by corporate influence, economic classism, and a societal propensity for simulated violence that spills over into the real world and its politics.
  • The Peace War has both dystopian and Utopian themes. The Peace Authority is a strange semi-Stalinist state; authoritarian, yet antipathetic towards any government outside their own small territories. They are challenged by a free-spirited "hacker" community, the Tinkers.
  • The protagonists of The Polity are loyal to a benevolent autocratic government controlled by advanced artificial intelligence, and the universe is coming close to The Singularity. Essentially, the series takes the scope of Space Opera (with particular influence of The Culture), but gives it the gritty tone of Cyberpunk.
  • Postsingular by Rudy Rucker jumps back and forth a bit, but ultimately ends on a post-cyberpunk note, with the characters fighting for freeware.
  • Railhead: The general "vibe" of the Network Empire. Sure, there's poverty, greedy Mega Corps and self-aggrandizing A.I.s, but life for most ordinary folks isn't too bad and mostly untroubled, and none of the advanced technology has had the chance to Go Horribly Wrong. The Imperial family is far too interested in hunting, partying and internal power games to bother with Crushing the Populace, and indeed one of the things the Guardians seem to be best at is breathing down the necks of the Corporate Families to ensure they get as few people killed in their squabbles as reasonably possible.
  • Ready Player One straddles between this and classic cyberpunk. IOI owns pretty much everything except the Oasis which lets people escape from their hellish reality. Wars, poverty, disease and climate change are rampant in the real world, so people spend as much time as possible inside the OASIS, which leads to it being abused so that it consumes your life. Then again, it allows the protagonist to meet his best friends throughout the book, it lets people be who they want to be, lets impoverished people get more opportunities, and ultimately helps give meaning to one's life. OASIS also gives such a huge, realistic universe to people for a single quarter, although it is an Allegedly Free Game. If IOI gets the egg, however, it'll become a clear-cut example of dystopian cyberpunk.
  • The Transhumanist Wager focuses on Jethro Knights, a Transhumanist philosopher who travels around the world by boat to spread the message about Transhumanism. He returns to what was the United States as Christian terrorists begin taking control of the government, turning it into The Theocracy and targeting all Transhumanists. This results in Mr. Knights creating a utopian floating city-state named 'Transhumania', designed to be free from governments that fear and hate radical science.
  • The Upgrade asks the question about how the world might end up under the control of corporations and what sort of people would be inclined to oppose them. Unlike regular cyberpunk, the answer is not a bunch of anti-establishment rebels but white-collar idealists and trained soldiers.
  • While You Can Be a Cyborg When You're Older contains the Crapsack World and Street Samurai of classic 1980s cyberpunk, the protagonists are all Young Adult novel heroes and heroines trying to save their Orphanage of Love. The job of being a corporate mercenary and status of being cyborgs is also treated as being awesome by the protagonist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Almost Human is this, because despite the rampart hi-tech crime, the good guys (a traumatized cop and his android partner) actually often save the day. There are also instances of hi-tech criminals genuinely repenting and corporations honestly cooperating with law enforcement.
  • Babylon 5 dips into this genre from time to time, especially in the first few seasons, with various things like the Changeling Netnote , genetic, physical, and cybernetic modificationsnote .As the series continued and the Myth Arc took off, many (but not all) of these elements were overshadowed or quietly forgotten.
  • Continuum, due to some of the technological benefits to everyone in the North American Union and that Kiera is trying to do her duties despite the NAU being under the rule of corporations.
  • Kamen Rider Zero-One is a complete inversion of Cyberpunk ideals: radical technology has benefited humanity rather than diminished it, hackers are dangerous terrorists rather than free-thinking rebels, and the MegaCorp and the military try to make life better for people. The whole reversal is exemplified in the hero: in ordinary Cyberpunk stories, it would be a street-smart mercenary — here, it's the CEO of the Megacorp who goes out and fights to protect everyone in the hope that humans and HumaGears can coexist.
  • Mr. Robot has most of the hallmarks of cyberpunk: a malicious MegaCorp (actually referred to as Evil Corp in-universe), heroic anarchist hackers, a threat from the East (the Dark Army hacker group in this case), however it takes place in the modern world instead of the future, and the plot is actually a Deconstruction of the kind of anti-establishment rebellion story seen in Cyberpunk. The main hack intended to destroy Evil Corp ends up making the situation in the world worse. The protagonist realises the mistake, and the corporation gets dealt with by removing individual evil people from positions of power, not trying to take down the whole behemoth.
  • Person of Interest has the setup for a traditional Cyberpunk series but is post-cyberpunk in execution. The Machine is an Artificial Intelligence created for government surveillance of the entire world (ostensibly in order to prevent terrorist attacks or acts of treason, but the agency operating it, codenamed Northern Lights, has no problem killing innocents to keep the secret). However, Finch and Reese use it to prevent mundane violent crimes, taking down organized crime and Dirty Cops among other threats, and because Finch wanted to protect people's privacy as well as provide security, he deliberately hobbled the Machine so that it was a complete Black Box: all somebody on the outside gets is a Social Security number as a clue to lead them to the threat.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Android setting is portrayed this way in the Worlds of Android setting book and Shadow of the Beanstalk roleplaying rulebook. While the games heavily lean on cyberpunk tropes of off-the-grid runners fighting against malevolent megacorporations, the setting as a whole is portrayed very neutrally, with good and bad existing in all factions, most people just trying their best to make a living (even if it's impossibly tough for most), with even the heartless actions of the megacorporations being an unfortunate but natural consequence of their size and scope as often as malice or conspiracy. The roleplaying game in particular presents all walks of life (including both oppressed and privileged) as equally viable options for a protagonist in character creation, and offers advice for a wide range of stories in the setting.
  • CthulhuTech is very much a post-cyberpunk setting, and despite the nature of the universe, has a government that despite its flaws is trying to save humanity, an economy which is approaching post-scarcity with nanofactories and the D-Engine, and themes of transhumanism (though not of the kind that you necessarily like).
  • The third edition of Cyberpunk is set in a Post-Cyberpunk world. The irony of a Post-Cyberpunk game titled "Cyberpunk" is not lost on anyone. These thematic changes are also what caused fans of the game's previous editions to react negatively to this one. The fact that the core book's artwork consisted entirely of Photoshopped images of posed action figures in ridiculous costumes didn't help, either.
  • Eclipse Phase straddles the line between cyberpunk and Transhumanism. On the one hand, many people do wind up with a totally different understanding of culture, life, and even humanity, and on the other, there are even more trying to keep the old forms of government and commerce alive... often as a means to control others. Also, from the outside, the more transhuman beings usually appear horrifying and incomprehensible.
  • Fates Worse Than Death features a setting where cyber isn't quite as popular, and implants help, but don't turn you into a Chrome Champion. Corporations are powerful, but not omniscient, and guns are tightly controlled, leaving more space for switchblades. Above all, everyone has a place in society, including gang members! Actually, especially gang members, as gangs are less of crime groups and more of mutual protection societies when the government isn't willing to keep the order and safety (which is how many gangs started anyway in the real world, making this Older Than Feudalism).
  • Free Market (based on Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom) is bright and shiny and just plain awesome about how future technology will be. It does really crank up the "humans will be humans" aspect with an entire social structure/economy based around how much people like you, similar to Facebook. Viva la adhocracy!
  • Hc Svnt Dracones straddles the line. Yes, Mega Corps literally rule the solar system, however the standard of living is still higher than the modern day, and in the backstory, it's stated that people willingly left governments behind for Corptowns, and the nation-states launched the first nukes in the war that glassed Earth... Or maybe not. And losing humanity from augmentation is a null issue since humanity has been extinct for 700 years and everyone is either a genetically engineered Vector or a robot (Cog). On the other hand, player characters are apparently usually freelancers who might be hired to hit rival Corps.
  • Neuro Spasta is a post-cyberpunk setting similar to Ghost in the Shell or Appleseed. The default premise is that the characters are members of the Division of Public Safety, a counter-terrorism unit that protects Archon, a technologically advanced city-state built and governed by the United Nations in international waters. They will usually be opposed by national governments and terrorist groups that view the city as the first step towards a global police state — a fear that is not completely unfounded.
  • Shadowrun also straddles this, having evolved along with the genre. The original 1989 game was a typical Cyberpunk dystopia, with evil megacorps running things. By the 4th edition, the corps are generally more neutral and there are far greater threats than them. While still dystopian, it's far less so than the earlier edition. 5th edition rolled things back, however; now the megacorps have re-tamed the Matrix and the game is about badass shadow mercenaries fighting corporate wars again.
  • Sufficiently Advanced, a game almost entirely about how far-flung future technologies effect society and how ideas change the world, has so much hope and wonder at what science can achieve that even the more disturbing cultures, like those that use meshes to make everyone a willing slave of everyone else, are able to sit down with the rest and have a civil discussion about why their way of life is the most moral and correct.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The story is set in a post-cyberpunk metropolis with multiple cities mixed with (pre-dominantly) influence, complete with Virtual Celebritys, robots, futuristic cars. While there are some darker elements, such as the Mechanika Virus that caused peoples bodies to be turned metallic and robotic, and an Eldritch Location that's unknown to the world as an N.G.O. Superpower studies it to find the means of destroying it, the setting is often times brightly lit with vibrant colors, making it veer far from the dystopian-type scenarios.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt Series: The first game is initially not this, as it's about a La Résistance vs a MegaCorp. Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 and 3, on the other hand, veer into this, as they're about maintaining peace between humans and adepts while fighting against those who dare disturb said peace. The post-iX saga follows this principle after Demerzel has been dealt with.
  • Beyond A Steel Sky: Subverted. While the original game was heavily based on Cyberpunk, Saviour Joey's restructuring since then has led to a more positive outlook of technology's impact on society — on the surface, anyway.
  • The storylines of the Deus Ex Universe essentially explore the transition between cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk: individuals gain control of the technologies society uses to oppress them, and use them to change the world.
    • Deus Ex is incredibly dystopian; disease and class war abound. But the heroic characters and their goals? So very much aimed at improving the existing system. The endings are pretty bleak, though; humanity is either controlled by a powerful AI as a benevolent world dictator, or controlled by a "democratic" group of rich old men, or not controlled at all by anyone, but as a side-effect, technology takes some dramatic steps back.
    • Deus Ex: Invisible War is even more so; the previous game turned out to be a "Shaggy Dog" Story because all three endings happened — the uber-AI was born crippled, the Ancient Conspiracy returned to power, and the world was reduced to a series of high-tech enclaves in a ruined wasteland. But again, the heroic characters have the opportunity to change things for the better — and to decide what "better" is for themselves; give everyone enhancements and voting control over an AI overlord, resurrect the old democracies, get rid of all the crazy technology, or let the chaos give birth to Transhumans who will colonize the universe without fear.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution actually has the conflict between cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk as its core plot element. The most idealistic faction wants to give augmentation to the masses in the hopes of creating a better world, while the old guard is stirring up fears of oppression and abuse to justify regulating the technology. But others want to rid the world of it altogether.
  • The Caldari State in EVE Online is themed after Cyberpunk stories, but it's actually closer to Post-Cyberpunk in how it works. The society is controlled by megacorps, but the corporations aren't really evil, and while they compete amongst each other (sometimes violently) and often engage in questionable practices, they still stand united against any external threat to the State. The society is meritocratic, so people who work hard will get into good positions, and the average citizens have fairly comfortable and productive lives (but those that can't keep up with the system are pretty much screwed since there is no such thing as social security).
  • Chapter 4, Season 2 of Fortnite introduced Mega City, which both has cyberpunk aesthetics and seems to be a good place to live, and the plot of that season's missions is that a saboteur is trying to disturb the peace and prosperity there rather than something about a corrupt megacorporation or dangerous technologies.
  • Hi-Fi RUSH is a game with the very standard Cyberpunk setup of a young man who joins a resistance movement after getting a faulty cybernetic arm from a MegaCorp. It's also a very colorful, stylised and cheerful game that runs on The Power of Rock.
  • In Invisible Apartment, the setting probably leans more this way than towards traditional cyberpunk. On the one hand, it's highly regulated and involves powerful people covertly using technology for their own interests. On the other hand, people who aren't on the government's wanted lists don't seem to have as bad as a typical cyberpunk dystopia, and there are people on the inside who try to do the right thing.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man Battle Network takes place in an Everything Is Online world where Internet browsing is accomplished by using sentient programmes called Network Navigators (also known as Net Navis, or just Navis). While the world is generally bright and cheery and the protagonist and companions never stray into antiheroism, viruses, which serve as the game series' Mooks, are horrifically common and cyber-crime is a very real threat.
    • Add all-encompassing Wi-Fi connectivity, angst, and aliens attracted to loneliness and you get Mega Man Star Force.
    • Mega Man ZX takes place after the post-apocalyptic Mega Man Zero, where humans and reploids live side by side and are rebuilding society anew.
  • Mirror's Edge: Both the plots and the visuals are straight from the core concepts of the post-cyberpunk genre. Yet there's no technology that hasn't been around for years, and neither technology nor science play any part in the plot or gameplay. The game actually sits right on the edge (no pun intended) of old-school cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk with the main character Faith being a member of the underground who resist the oppressive and authoritarian government who tries to rescue her sister, who is a police officer working for the very same corrupt politicians. As a kind of minor twist in the later parts of the game most of the Runners realize that they are the only ones who still believe their world follows the conventions of cyberpunk, while everyone else has accepted that reality is much more like post-cyberpunk. With their feeble rebellion against the establishment being both futile and pointless, many chose to rejoin society rather than hiding from cops in air shafts all their life.
  • Ninja Pizza Girl follows the tropes of Cyberpunk but breaks with tradition by being, for the most parts, quite upbeat and optimistic. Living in an overgrown, rain-soaked maze of a city dominated by soulless megacorporations has not ruined people's ability to stay cheerful and care for their friends and family. Or to enjoy a really great pizza, for that matter.
  • Overwatch takes place sixty years in the future. Despite a robot uprising and the presence of large and powerful megacorporations, the world isn't a dystopian Crapsack World. Several playable characters have cybernetic limbs, but none of them (except Genji) have any sort of crisis about whether it makes them less human. In Genji's case, his existential crisis is mostly about feeling like an outcast among both humans and robots, and less about having a partially robotic body in the first place.
  • Rollcage is set in a heavily technological future world a few centuries in the future. Overall, things don't seem very grim, as there are pleasant seaside resorts with lots of greenery, some cool futuristic architecture and hovering billboards, as well as highly advanced and dense, but well-lit and tidy (rather than dystopian) megacities, and even pretty hospitable and busy colonies on Mars. Everything seems to be powered by clean propulsion technology and hovertech is pretty widespread. Add to that the fact the game revolves around a few thrill-seeking daredevils practicing street racing with nigh-indestructible super-fast cars that have no issues with riding upside down, since both their upper and lower halves are identical.
  • System Shock 2: While the first System Shock was set in a rather standard cyberpunk world, with the villains being a Corrupt Corporate Executive and an evil insane AI, and the hero a hacker pressed into service after being caught by the MegaCorp's security forces, the sequel is set some 40 years later. In the meanwhile, events of the first game caused a backlash against the corporations that led to the establishment of a quasi-socialist world government locked in a sort of a cold war with the remnants of MegaCorps. While the plot of the game is mostly removed from politics, they make an impact on the story at several points.
  • Transistor eschewes cliché production design and interleaved cyberpunk tropes with romanticism and humanism. The Power of Love wins. Kind of.
  • Watch_Dogs 2 is set in sunny (but also appropriately foggy) San Francisco and the technology is used by the heroes and villains to achieve their own ends. Watch Dogs: Legion is a step towards original Cyberpunk, but the ending shows that there is plenty of room for a free and just society.

    Visual Novels 
  • In VA-11 HALL-A, Glitch City is a Cyberpunk dystopia where rich corporations control just about everything, the White Knights police force is openly corrupt, and cybernetic enhancements are the norm. Even so, the game manages to be more idealistic than standard cyberpunk fare. Its main message is that people are basically good, and even in a dystopia like Glitch City, they'll look out for each other. Stella even says that despite the Zaibatsu Corporation having a large hold on everything, it's definitely improved peoples' lives. Plus, the corpos aren't heartless monsters, either. When the White Knights go rogue, the Zaibatsu Corporation activates a failsafe in their armor to prevent them from killing any more people. All of it is framed through the eyes of a single bartender who is just an ordinary woman, trying to live her own life.

  • Claude & Monet takes place in a future that's just as retro as it is futuristic, yet at the same time also feels like the problems and solutions of the present have also crept in. In other words, plus ça change.
  • Questionable Content: On the surface, it looks like a story about a group of friends just going about their daily lives and being snarky. And then you see the AnthroPCs, which are basically robots that function as pets and home computers, although it's not always clear just how that's supposed to work. The AnthroPC characters run the range from Cute Machines and Robot Girl to Eating Machine and at least one Killer Robot. There is even a chart showing the Mechanical Evolution of the setting.

    Web Originals 
  • In Chaos Fighters II-Cyberion Strike and Chaos Fighters: Cyber Assault-The Secret Programs, the guardians (similar to Navis in Mega Man Battle Network) are originally designed as virtual humans, but due to crimes, the research project switched its focus to develop fight-capaable guardians so that the crimes can be solved quickly.
  • The setting of H+ is implied to have been this before human civilization crashed due to a virus infecting a nano-cybernetic implant that nearly the whole human population wore.

    Western Animation 
  • Despite its seemly Cyberpunk-themed Paris, France, Code Lyoko and its live action sequel Code Lyoko: Evolution share a Post-Cyberpunk-ish style (In terms of technology and fashion) due to the show actually being set mid-Turn of the Millennium, and the majority of episodes are set in lightly rainy day/night all of the time.
  • Get Ed is a prime example, as society is technologically advanced, and the world seems to be in good shape, with the exception of Bedlam and his empire.
  • Synergy from Jem is a Ur-Example of Post-Cyberpunk with its aesthetic and advanced technology that projects itself with a more nicely and useful personality than other AIs from Cyberpunk in that time.
  • In South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid, while The Plague still occurred, China's still a superpower, and tech is still very advanced in the new timeline, the world managed to make the first point easier to handle, while everyone (sans Cartman) is living happier lives.
  • Transformers: Animated shows a future with big megacorporations and police drones everywhere, but for the most part, it's portrayed as a pretty upbeat and optimistic setting; Detroit's even experiencing a new economic boom thanks to the rise in robot manufacturing.