The Enigma of Jackie Welles: Graffiti, Tributes, and Cocktails in Cyberpunk 2077
In the sprawling metropolis of Night City, Cyberpunk 2077 hides a hidden detail that can either be a touching tribute or a disparaging defamation, dep...
In the sprawling metropolis of Night City, Cyberpunk 2077 hides a hidden detail that can either be a touching tribute or a disparaging defamation, depending on how it's interpreted. As V, the cosmopolitan protagonist, navigates the corporate towers and residential megabuildings, working for different fixers and gangs, they build a reputation and form alliances. But what happens when those allies meet their demise? That's where the enigma of Jackie Welles emerges, immortalized in graffiti scattered throughout Night City.
Our adventure begins with V and Jackie embarking on "The Heist," a daring mission to steal a relic from Arasaka Tower. After witnessing a father's murder, the duo stages a thrilling escape, only for tragedy to strike. Jackie, fatally wounded, sacrifices himself by slotting the relic into V's socket, securing their mission's completion and etching his name into Night City's history.
It's in the aftermath of this fateful event that the graffiti appears, particularly in Heywood and The Glen, Jackie's home turf. The phrase scrawled across the walls reads, "Pinche Jackie Welles se lio con la plebe equivocada," roughly translating to, "F***ing Jackie Welles got involved with the wrong crowd." The interpretation of this graffiti becomes a matter of perspective and emotion.
Some may view it as an insult, chastising Jackie for the choices that led to his demise. However, upon closer inspection, we discover that the messages appear primarily in neighborhoods controlled by the Valentinos, the gang Jackie once belonged to. Despite parting ways, Jackie maintained friendships within the gang, and some Valentinos even attend his funeral, sharing a drink with V. Perhaps the graffiti serves as a message from one of Jackie's old friends, informing others of his passing and ensuring his name lives on.
Moreover, despite its vulgar nature, "pinche" can be a term of endearment among close friends. In this light, the phrase takes on a regretful tone, expressing that Jackie fell in with the wrong crowd, but with a touch of fondness. If only he had stayed with his friends in the Valentinos, if only he had resisted the allure of a life of crime alongside V, things might have turned out differently.
But who exactly constitutes the "wrong crowd" referenced in the graffiti? One interpretation points to Dexter DeShawn and Evelyn Parker, the fixer who orchestrated the Arasaka job and V's client, respectively. While not directly responsible for Jackie's death, Dexter and Evelyn bear some guilt. The Valentinos, well-connected to Night City's extralegal activities, might have heard rumors of their involvement. Another possibility is Jackie's girlfriend, Misty, whom some members of his family disapproved of, adding another layer to the enigma.
Ironically, the graffiti may also suggest that V, the closest ally of Jackie, falls into the category of the wrong crowd. At Jackie's funeral, the Valentinos sympathize with V, but upon future encounters, they see V as a potential threat. Jackie's former associates watched him leave the gang, only to return to a life of crime with V. Perhaps a hint of jealousy lingers, reflected in the graffiti that adorns the walls of Night City.
Notwithstanding others' perceptions, V can pay tribute to Jackie in their own way. If they send Jackie's body back to his family, they unlock a mission called "Heroes," where V attends Jackie's funeral. V is tasked with leaving an offering, an ofrenda, on an altar dedicated to Jackie. For an extra scene, V can involve Misty in the process, selecting an ofrenda together and encouraging her to attend the funeral. The interaction culminates with V defending Misty in front of Jackie's mother, leading to reconciliation.
At Jackie's garage, located nearby, V can choose any item as an ofrenda, such as a picture of his family, a bottle of tequila, or a copy of "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Additionally, V has the opportunity to deliver a heartfelt eulogy and chat with other mourners before receiving the key to Jackie's motorcycle from Mamá Welles.
Returning to the Afterlife, the bar where V and Jackie shared a drink before their Arasaka heist, holds another chance for tribute. Cocktails at the Afterlife are named after Night City icons, and V and Jackie once fantasized about appearing on the menu. After Jackie's passing, V can fulfill this dream by speaking to the bartender, Claire. She fondly remembers Jackie's order and officially adds it to the menu as the "Jackie Welles" cocktail.
The Jackie Welles cocktail comprises vodka on the rocks, ginger beer, lime juice, and "a splash of love," reminiscent of a Moscow Mule. It standsas a bittersweet reminder of Jackie's presence and his enduring legacy within Night City. Players can order the cocktail and raise a glass to Jackie's memory, celebrating his life and the impact he had on V's journey.
The enigma of Jackie Welles in Cyberpunk 2077 is a multi-layered one, with graffiti serving as both a memorial and a critique. Interpretations of the messages scrawled across Night City's walls vary, from a warning about the perils of falling in with the wrong crowd to a wistful expression of fondness and regret. Regardless of the perspective, the graffiti ensures that Jackie's name lives on, forever etched into the fabric of Night City.
Through missions like "Heroes" and interactions with characters like Misty and Mama Welles, players have the opportunity to pay tribute to Jackie in their own way, attending his funeral, leaving an offering, and delivering a heartfelt eulogy. These actions not only provide closure for V but also honor the memory of a beloved character, solidifying the bond between player and game.
Furthermore, the Afterlife bar allows players to order the "Jackie Welles" cocktail, immortalizing Jackie's spirit in a drink. By adding his favorite concoction to the menu, the game acknowledges his impact and offers players a tangible way to toast to his memory.
In the vast and gritty world of Cyberpunk 2077, where danger lurks around every corner and alliances are tested, Jackie Welles remains an enduring figure. Whether through graffiti, tributes, or cocktails, his presence lingers, reminding players of the choices made, the friendships forged, and the sacrifices endured. The enigma of Jackie Welles serves as a poignant reminder of the complex and interconnected nature of Night City, where even in the face of tragedy, the memory of a fallen friend lives on.