Cyberpunk: Edgerunners producer talks working with Studio Trigger

An interview with producer Saya Elder on the creation of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and topics like Studio Trigger's involvement.


Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was nothing short of a delightful surprise when it first aired back in September 2022. Not only was the show itself massively successful, earning itself the Shacknews award for Best Adaptation of 2022, it helped attract more positive attention to CD Projekt Red’s most recent title, Cyberpunk 2077, which initially struggled with a rocky release back in late 2020.

Curious about how the core concepts of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners came together, in addition to the process of working with Studio Trigger, we reached out to the show’s producer Saya Elder with some of our most burning questions. If you’re curious about these topics as well, or simply want to learn more about what went into the show’s creation, join us as we dive even deeper into the world of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners!

Shacknews: How far into the development of Cyberpunk 2077 did Studio Trigger get involved?

Saya Elder (Project Manager - Japan, CD PROJEKT RED): Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was initially slated to enter pre-production after the release of Cyberpunk 2077. However, with the game’s release being pushed back, Director Imaishi requested that he be able to play a pre-release build early to get an idea of what ‘cyberpunk’ meant to CD PROJEKT RED, and align Trigger’s vision for Edgerunners with the game world. Studio Trigger was one of the very few outside organizations that received access to an in-development version of Cyberpunk 2077.

Shacknews: How was the concept of what Edgerunners would end up being formed?

Elder: CD PROJEKT RED initially drafted a very different version of the show that involved a coming-of-age story of a teenage boy surviving in Night City. This story was something we shared with Studio Trigger. What followed were more than 20 months of discussions and close collaboration between CD PROJEKT RED and Studio Trigger — aimed at determining what story would best portray the world of Cyberpunk 2077, and how to best translate that story into an amazing anime. The Edgerunners we know and love right now is the result of that collaborative process.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners characters Lucy and David lying next to one another with purple lighting
© Netflix

Shacknews: What was it about Studio Trigger that appealed to you and why did you choose to work with them?

Elder: The selection of the studio happened before I joined CD PROJEKT RED in January of 2019. That said, I know that we were drawn to their unique style, uncompromising passion for their projects, and love for the cyberpunk genre. I’m confident that a huge part of why Edgerunners turned out the way it did is due to Studio Trigger’s hands-on attitude throughout, as well as the massive amounts of love they poured into the show — from their involvement in adapting the story to making the show really pop on screen with the dynamic and vibrant animation style Trigger is known for.

Shacknews: What was the collaborative process like between CDPR and Trigger?

Elder: I’d say it was uniquely passionate, humbling, and eye-opening. What it wasn’t is easy. The many linguistic, cultural, and industry differences in play more often than not ended up getting in the way, but what kept making us come together was the end result we were working toward — creating a great anime that’s respectful of the source materiał, the genre, and Japanese animation. It was a labor of love that taught us to trust in each other’s strengths and allowed us to create something I believe is truly special, and that perfectly aligns with both company’s core values.

Shacknews: Although Edgerunners was a self-contained story, is there a chance that we might get more stories from the world of Cyberpunk 2077 in the medium of film or television?

Elder: As a good corpo representative of CD PROJEKT RED… ;) In all seriousness, however, I can’t say anything for certain at this time. That said, the Night City that was crafted by Mike Pondsmith and lovingly adapted into an open-world format for Cyberpunk 2077 has too many stories not to be further explored. We’re already exploring many of them outside the game — whether it’s Edgerunners, Gangs of Night City board game from CMON, or the many Dark Horse-published comic books written by my friend and colleague Bartosz Sztybor. The world of Cyberpunk 2077 is an incredibly rich place when it comes to storytelling, whatever medium it may be, that I’m certain we will be delivering more tales of its denizens in the future.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners characters Lucy with David in the background and Lucy shown sifting through data
© Netflix

Now that you’re caught up with some of what went into the creation of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, we want to take a moment to Saya Elder for taking the time to answer our questions about the show. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is currently streaming on Netflix. If you want even more Cyberpunk excitement after finishing the show, you can also play Cyberpunk 2077 right now on platforms including Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, PS5, and Windows PC.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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