Why Cyberpunk 2077’s Biggest Mystery Is Baffling Internet Detectives

Cyberpunk 2077's F6:05:B5 riddle is a either a metafiction masterpiece, gaming's greatest red herring, or a little of both.

Cyberpunk 2077
Photo: CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 went through some things before it rebirthed itself into the joy-to-explore open-world RPG it has become post-Phantom Liberty and the massive 2.0 update. It had its loyalists from launch, though, and these dedicated souls immediately set about looking to create deep lore connections and dig for any mysteries left to be discovered by developers CD Projekt Red. They would find rewards for their dedication, though the larger journey wouldn’t be finished until the 2.0 release. Waiting for their obsession, hinted at by the Zenyatta-like multi-armed statues left around Night City, was the riddle of F6:05:B5.

A player will probably first notice the numbers on one of those huge statues being worshiped by monks at one of six major locations. The string of numbers is an instant eye-catcher, and a few savvy souls might recognize it as a color hex code format. It’s for magenta (a color that doesn’t actually exist) and is often used to patch over a missing graphical asset in video games. But rather than suggesting the Night City monks are fashion-forward neon punks in secret, the existence of this code takes players on a ride that winds from the world of the Witcher to the furthest edges of Night City, and, possibly, beyond the Blackwall.

The Origins of the Mystery

Before diving too much deeper into this mystery, I recommend you consult a dedicated walkthrough regarding this riddle, although most will likely skip one or two sub-events. To get you started, though, the trail begins at an abandoned church at the heart of the Biotechnica Flats. This is the region to the southwest with solar farms and greenhouses. Inside is a series of mainframes and an arcade machine called Arasaka Tower 3D that plays like classic Wolfenstein.  The church and its techy contents, which were added in the 2.0 release, clearly belong to someone. Once you beat it correctly (get that walkthrough handy) you’ll see a list of high scores. Note the last, PLHSTR, has a hacked score of FF06B5.

Enter the numbers (no, seriously, use a damn guide) into the mainframes to access a laptop in the center of the room. Be sure to read everything left by the mysterious Polyhistor. That’ll unlock map coordinates in the Badlands to the East. Rest on the mattress there before dawn for at least 10 real-life minutes, and just know you may need to troubleshoot things a bit via that swanky guide. Enjoy a bizarre cutscene that begins with another Relic malfunction and a glowing cube, examine everything at the site after, and leave with a new monster truck. Polyhistor doesn’t need it anymore.

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The Witcher Connections

How did Cyberpunk fans figure all this out? Through weaponized ADHD, says the equally ADHD-afflicted writer, many things are possible. But there’s an added wrinkle to Polyhistor’s obsession with FF:06:B5, and it’s hidden in Geralt of Rivia’s stomping grounds.

Just as the Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 update remixed this mystery, the Winter 2022 next-gen update for The Witcher III tossed a flashbang at busy detectives. In that game, hidden in Velen’s Destroyed Bastion, is an ouroboros symbol that features the same cyber-lines as Night City’s statues, a series of runes that translate, roughly, into something tantalizingly close to FF06B5, and a magenta-hued centerpiece.

Add in a conversation Ciri has with Geralt where she appears to describe Night City (a debatable but fun detail) and something funky is clearly going on. It could mean that The Witcher can transcend its own fictionality because that classic game is…well, a classic game that is referenced by magazines lying around Night City. Is this just CD Projekt being meta? Are they teasing future entries? Strap in, because things only get weirder from here.

Mama Mia, Meta Meatballs

V’s story of survival happens in a world built on top of some of the most famous cyberpunk stories in history, and it’s flooded with the same metafictional commentary as one of those stories: The Matrix.

The fact that The Witcher exists in Cyberpunk 2077 should get even the most non-literature-savvy fan already wondering about what’s “real” and what’s fiction inside Night City. For instance, Johnny Silverhand is, as Alt Cunningham confirms, the unreliable narrator at your side for the whole game. But he’s not the only unreality at work. Like Keanu Reeves’s Neo, Johnny’s problems (and yours) throughout the game include rogue AI interference. 

Garry the Prophet, an NPC a player can find early on, is a conspiracy theorist dedicated to warning others about observers from space, lizard people, and more. It’s wild stuff, but the hell of it is that he turns out to be right. He’s abducted by blue-eyed men during The Prophet’s Song because his borked implants had been listening in on secret conversations.

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The references to “blue eyes” become potential rogue AI markers given that some cyberware functions in the game turn their users’ eyes blue. It’s a hint that someone you’re talking to may not actually be the person you’re talking to, like the Doll who delivers Hanako’s message. Mr. Blue Eyes is his own mystery. He’s interpreted as an AI observer interfering with the mayoral election during the Dream On sidequest. The conclusion most draw is that Garry is accidentally listening in on rogue AI. They were not thrilled with him.

Meanwhile, FF:06:B5’s Polyhistor became obsessed with his Watchers, and it’s unclear if he means the same mysterious people Garry is talking about or if he’s referring to a fourth wall break. While his records left behind don’t suggest he’s talking about V, or you, they do suggest he could be glimpsing one other meta-warping possibility: the CD Projekt Red developers that made him. We know that Night City is a simulation made for our entertainment. Is it then interpretable as a simulation for its residents, too? Or is it just a zoo for rogue AI to observe? Have an ibuprofen.

Rogue AI, A Message to Players, or Both?

With the events at Polyhistor’s base resolved, the trail of this mystery seems to end. But the events you’ve witnessed hold one more secret: the cube in that bizarre cutscene can be pieced together into a readable QR code. The message is blunt, incapable of being misinterpreted, and delivered with wry intent: this part of the story is over.

Yet the sender is unknown, and with that comes the final metafiction mystery. FF:06:B5 tells a story about being driven mad by the need to understand, by peeking through the code and witnessing what lies beyond. We are Polyhistor and Polyhistor is a fictional narrative lead. Polyhistor reached the end of the story, and it deleted him. We, the players, are told to stop. And, in the background, poor Garry is whisked away, because he too learned something he shouldn’t have known.

With that in mind, the answer may actually be two answers superimposed over the finale: We can stop looking, say the devs, there’s no other riddles to find here. And Night City’s denizens need to stop prodding where they’re not wanted… because malignant rogue AI elements are willing to cut out any and all interference at the neck. With both answers comes one more: See you in Cyberpunk 2077’s upcoming sequel, choom.