Cyberpunk 2077 introduces what at first appears to be a bog standard open world item collection quest in the form of scannable tarot card grafiti littered throughout the city. There isn’t a whole lot of challenge in finding them as the map lays out every single location for you as soon as they appear.
You might be tempted to coast around the map and knock them out all at once, or just ignore it if checklist-y busywork isn’t your thing. But this quest isn’t just about earning an achievement. It’s actually a very clever narrative string woven through the whole game and loops into several elements of the plot. There’s a very particular way you should go about scanning these cards and interpreting the meanings of what you find. There’s some cool art to be seen, and you’ll get some interesting perspectives on the plot.
If Edgerunner’s use of the tarot has you mystically inspired, what’s in the game won’t disappoint. This guide will help you sort out when and where to tackle the tarot cards. If you’re returning and either let these collectibles go uncollected or just surfed through map gathering them, this will help you reinterpret what you might’ve thought was a boring aspect of Cyberpunk 2077.
Cyberpunk 2077 won’t make it too hard for you to activate the tarot card quest. In fact, it’ll toss it in front of your face, though you can very nearly miss it if you’re not careful.
After the conclusion of Act One, you’ll get a certain rockerboy stuck in your head. When passing by one of these tarot collectibles, which may be random based on where you are, Johnny Silverhand will point it out and you’ll then be asked to talk to Misty at her shop.
She’ll give you a rundown, more or less, of what the tarot means and you have a choice of responding skeptically or by playing into the mysticism. This has no impact on the quest, so feel free to roleplay V however you wish here.
Scanning each tarot card graffiti is as simple as walking up to them, holding down Tab on keyboard or LB/L1 on a controller, and that’s about it. You can hit the dialogue button when you come across one, and if you’re not keeping an eye on the map in your menu, seeing a random dialogue prompt show up might be a clue that there’s a card in your immediate vicinity that you haven’t spotted just yet.
But given that the game lays out the location of each card, you’re likely to think “where’s the challenge in this?”
The challenge, I shall tell you dear reader, lies in when and where you scan them and what meaning you derive from them as it relates to certain characters and plot developments. It’s a nice ribbon of the fantastic woven through an otherwise grounded science fiction setting.
If that sounds like woo…well, we are talking about tarot here! It’s best to see all of those tarot icons on the map as a digital tarot spread and V has the freedom to turn over whichever cards call to her first. And trust me, it’s worth it to play the quest this way.
Many cards appear near the sites of major plot points. Resist the collectible impulse AAA video games have instilled in us and instead choose to scan each card when you’re in an area for a main job. Check out the awesome art in the menu when you get each one and read the descriptions of the cards. What you’ll start to find is that they often resonate with certain characters and plot points.
For example, you can scan “The Hierophant” when meeting with Goro Takemura for the “Down on the Street” main job. Whether you scan this before or after you meet with Goro is up to you, but it’s just down the road from him. The content of the Hierophant, which you can read in the main menu, under Journal/Tarot, is where things get cool.
The Hierophant symbolizes a respect for tradition. It represents one who tries to maintain the established order, even though their very character is shaped by it. The Hierophant places his faith in institutions – for the alternative is pure chaos. Only by placing his faith in order can he draw strength.
If that doesn’t describe Takemura, I don’t know what does. Scanning these cards as they appear in the order of the plot will tuck some cool narrative puzzle pieces in your mind as you follow the story. Completing each piece in this order won’t give you anything special, but you’ll have a more narratively rich experience if you collect them as they appear in the story. It helps prevent the game from disappearing into open-world nothingness.
And if you’re feeling up for a little extracurricular study, I also recommend checking out other interpretations of these cards from sources outside of the game. For example, sites like biddytarot.com offer a deeper dive into the interpretations of these cards. Sure, these aren’t written with Cyberpunk 2077’s plot in mind, but it’s hard to read some of these cards without thinking about the themes present in the story. If you’re still a skeptic, I’ll present another example.
Out in the Badlands, the Sunset Motel becomes a site for a handful of quests. One of the most narratively heavy is “Life During Wartime.” If you haven’t played this, I’ll spare you the spoilers, but know that it’s a pretty heavy shift in V’s quest to deal with her plot-central problem. The outcome of the quest is certainly a little nebulous, maybe even troubling. And it turns out that the card in this location is the “Wheel of Fortune.” The text in the main menu reads as such:
The Wheel of Fortune means that change is coming. One’s destiny could turn out for the better or the worse, yet it also bears the promise of new possibilities. The Wheel reminds us that nobody remains at the top forever, but also that not every situation is hopeless.
If you’ve played this quest, then this description might be more than a little chilling.
As you can see, the synergy between “Fool on the Hill” collectible tarot quest and the main plot is very much worth taking your time and choosing to scan each card as it calls to you. Kinda like an actual tarot reading.
As I’ve said before, there’s not much of a challenge to “Fool on the Hill.” The game gives you all the locations as soon as you activate it. What matters is the journey. (Oh, don’t roll your eyes.)
That said, you’ll definitely get something for your efforts. Not only will collecting all 20 tarot cards net you an achievement, “The Wandering Fool,” but you’ll also get a dreamcatcher from Misty to hang in your apartment. Though something tells me V will need a little more than a dreamcatcher to deal with her issues.
Misty will, however, inform you that two cards are missing once you go through all 20. “The Devil” and “Judgment” are found past the “Nocturne OP55N1” quest but you can’t get both in one playthrough.
“The Devil” is revealed as part of the ending that follows when you agree to go with Hanako’s plan in “Nocturne OP55N1.” V will have a nightmare involving a rubik’s cube. It’ll break open and right in the middle is the art for The Devil. Note, this card won’t be added to your tarot menu even if you get this ending.
“Judgment” can be found in the area where you fight Adam Smasher. Choose to go with Rogue’s plan for Nocturne OP55N1 (or any choice that has you raiding Arasaka tower) to find this one. After you emerge victorious from your battle, keep an eye out for a pillar to your left before leaving the area.
You should take your time with this quest and let the cards call to you naturally as you move through the main story. You’ll have until finishing starting the “Nocturne OP55N1” quest to grab the main 20 cards scattered throughout the world, as that quest is the game’s “point of no return.”
“The Fool on the Hill” isn’t the only way tarot factors into the story. Once you get this quest rolling, you’ll have the option to get your tarot read by Misty in her shop.
Misty will explain that the deck she’s using was a gift from Jackie, which should hit a certain way if you’ve gotten through Act One. You can ask her to read your tarot and she’ll deal out a spread, walking you through the meaning of the cards and their combinations.
This isn’t necessarily part of a quest and you won’t get anything for this. But the reward is the cool mystical metaplot that is found in these cards as it sort of outlines the major beats of what V has gone through and is likely to go through.
If Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t appear to have enough role playing for a role playing game, the tarot is your anecdote to this.
Misty’s reading here (note this is distinct from her final tarot reading near the end of the game) will change based on where you are in the story. Sometimes it’s hard to predict when it will change, so be sure to check back with her whenever you finish a “Main Job” quest that moves the primary story forward.
As you’ll find, some of the cards are similar to ones you’ll find on the map. For example, Misty’s first reading involves a “Reversed Hierophant.” If you remember, The Hierophant appears near Takemura. Does the reversed position indicate something about him? Does it stand for another character? Misty will warn you about this card, but what exactly is the warning?
That’s up to you, the player, to determine. And it’s part of the charm that the tarot weaves throughout this game.
Uh. Well, you don’t want a hardline skeptic like me doing that. I’m not one for the spiritual aspect of tarot cards; I just think they’re neat.
But okay, I’ll pull a card just for you: It’s the King of Swords. Interpret what you will from that.