In the Cyberpunk universe, over usage of implants eventually leads to one losing their humanity and becoming mindlessly violent cyberpsychos. However, there is one exception -- Adam Smasher has been almost full Borg for years and yet he retains his self-control and mental faculties. How did he achieve this feat?

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    I do not know whether he has any secret. We saw that some people have much higher tolerance than others: David seemed to be almost completely fine, mentally, before using the overpowered suit despite his extensive use of powerful implants, and he was able to come back from even that. My guess is that Adam just has a more extreme version of his suitability for implants. That's why Adam said that he would have been curious to see what David would have become.
    – Adamant
    Dec 1, 2022 at 15:33
  • What makes you think he isn't one? Do you really see much "humanity" in his actions? Dec 1, 2022 at 21:54
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    @ChristopherJamesHuff - He's a regular psychopath, but he does not exhibit the traits of so-called cyber-psychos: hallucinations, lack of self-control, dissociation, and indiscriminate violence. He is very controlled and directed, however cold-blooded he may be. Cyber-psychos are not feared because they are brutal killers—that's half the people around, including arguably almost all the protagonists —but rather because they attack anyone without any criteria.
    – Adamant
    Dec 2, 2022 at 15:53
  • @Adamant those are things that can happen with some cyberpsychos, and even then they can be returned to a semi-functional state and still clearly be cyberpsychos, like many of the MaxTac officers. Per Mike Pondsmith, Adam is a cyberpsycho, as is Johnny. Dec 2, 2022 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


According to the creator of the Cyberpunk game, he is a cyberpsycho, but not a normal one. As he explains:

Didn't say he wasn't. Theres a concept in psychology called "high functioning." Adam is a high functioning cyberpsycho who happens to have a job where they want him to kill people.

Of note, Adam's EMP (empathy) statistic, which when it goes too low leads to cyberpsychosis, is officially listed as "Yeah, right...".

Pondsmith further elaborated on the mechanism of cyberpsychosis in a way that sheds some light on Adam Smasher:

First of all, Cyberpsychosis is a disorder that in part depends on the subject's overall internal susceptibility. Just like every person who drinks a lot at parties doesn't end up an alcoholic in the gutter, not everyone who gets loaded up on cyberware is going to automatically go cyberpsycho. You have to have an inherent susceptibility, which (in the TRPG) is represented by the player's Humanity Stat. Humanity is not just a measure of one aspect of personality, but an overall measure of several elements including the subject's ability to emphasize and relate with others, their ability to absorb and rebound from mental and physical stressors, their ability to show compassion and flexibility to others, and whether they are able to balance their worldview through other methods.

So, in some ways, I tend to treat cyberware as an addiction--heavy anabolic steroid use being my favorite model. Not everyone who juices ends up crazy mad with roid rage. But those who are more susceptible to the need to take more steroids are more likely to hit a point where they do flip into roid rage...


David's starting Humanity was probably already pretty high. And before things went to crap, he had a loving mother, a career path, and no more hassle than the average poor guy in a wealthy Ivy League school. So he had lots of buffer. But even so, he still, even after losing all that, was able to make friends, build a replacement family, and (after some prompting) even get a girlfriend. And a mentor (Maine) to create a supportive father figure. So he could definitely handle the stress of added cyberware up to a point.

Most people in Night City don't have the level of Humanity to pull this kind of stunt off without going cyberpsychotic. So David is one in a million. And that's why Arasaka wants him.

In essence, everyone reacts differently to cybernetic implants. Adam Smasher is a cyberpsycho with an uncommon degree of self-control: all of the vicious impulses without the compulsion to act on them in any and every situation. Since he almost certainly did not start with a high level of Humanity (in game terms), his advantage was different—perhaps because he was already so cruel and vicious beforehand, he was better able to channel the cyberpsychosis.

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    Fun fact from the video game: when the player (as V) meets Adam Smasher for the first time, V is hiding behind a huge TV, but Smasher can see V: he is looking directly at the player and an implant can say that you have been detected and targeted. Yet, Smasher doesn't react, because he enjoys V's fear and the confusion that V can create.
    – Yasskier
    Dec 4, 2022 at 21:53

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