Cyberpunk life-sim RPG Citizen Sleeper’s third, final free DLC is live
Citizen Sleeper was already one of the best cyberpunk games on PC, and now there’s even more of it. The narrative life-sim RPG that casts you as an escaped synthetic worker trying to carve out a new life for yourself in the off-world colonies—sorry, I mean on the space station city called Erlin’s Eye—has received several free DLC updates since it launched last year. The third of them is live now.
When I wrote my Citizen Sleeper review in 2022, I said the best recommendation I could give is that “it let me build a life I wanted to keep living.” This DLC promises to let me do just that. “With the release of Episode PURGE,” its announcement (opens in new tab) says, “Citizen Sleeper’s three episode post-launch DLC expansion is now complete and the game has even more to offer with a thrilling late game storyline that delivers an immersive new narrative arc introducing additional characters, lore and locations. Players returning to Erlin’s Eye might even find themselves running into some familiar faces!”
Purge follows on from Flux and Refuge, the three episodic DLC releases combining to make something more expansion-sized, the kind of add-on that would have come on a whole extra disc back in the day. They tell the story of a wave of refugees arriving on the station, beginning with a ship called the Climbing Briar, and the way Erlin’s Eye deals with these new inhabitants.
Citizen Sleeper’s creator, Gareth Damian Martin, recently blogged about how modern tabletop RPGs inspired Citizen Sleeper’s design (opens in new tab). They list indie RPGs like fantasy sneaker Blades in the Dark—which was itself inspired by videogames like Thief, Dishonored, and Fallout: New Vegas, as its acknowledgements note—and which has a mechanic called “progress clocks” to make the passage of time and the advancement of plans feel concrete. Its influence on Citizen Sleeper’s own clocks, which tick up as you make progress toward goals, is obvious.
Apocalypse World also gets a nod, for its emphasis on player agency via relatively abstract dice mechanics, which have also inspired a generation of “Powered by the Apocalypse” RPGs to adapt its ruleset. (I’m partial to World Wide Wrestling (opens in new tab), which uses those rules to fuel a PvP game of feuds and rivalries that can easily become alliances.) The actual play ecosystem rates a nod too, in particular for the way it influenced these DLC additions, which Damian Martin wanted “to have the story-telling rhythm of an actual play podcast, where the episodic story feels unpredictable and like something you discover as you play!”
Given that Citizen Sleeper deals with a struggle to survive in the ruins of capitalism, it’s nice to see that it’s done well enough to allow these add-ons to be given away for free. If you don’t already own it, Citizen Sleeper is currently available for 30% off on Steam (opens in new tab) and GOG (opens in new tab) until April 4.