Now that Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty is upon us, I can finally tell you about the expansion’s best side gig. The themes of espionage and moral choice are rooted in Dogtown, with both the main story and side gigs offering up you and V opportunities to tackle objectives how you see fit, but one mission that I stumbled across exemplifies what is best about the DLC, and everyone needs to experience it.
I already made allusions to Dogtown’s best mission in my Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty review, and this literally hidden mission is one you don’t want to miss. I’ll start by telling you exactly when and where to look for the mission in the open-world game without spoilers, before diving into what makes the side gig ‘Talent Academy’ one of the best I’ve ever played in Cyberpunk 2077.
To even unlock Talent Academy you need to play through some of Phantom Liberty’s main quests, otherwise the map marker won’t appear. During the early portion of the expansion, Mr. Hands will task you with doing three side gigs. At this point they’ll be the only side gigs in Dogtown, so do them all and complete the quest ‘Get it Together.’
At this point you should see more side gigs pop up, so just go to the one toward the southeast side of Dogtown as highlighted in the image above.
From here you should see what looks like, well, nothing. There’s some construction work and an elevator door buried behind it. You should get a call from Mr. Hands around this point, starting the side gig.
Now you know how to start the gig, so beware of spoilers beyond this point.
Why Talent Academy is Phantom Liberty’s best side gig
Talent Academy starts with you needing to enter a Biotechnica sports facility in Dogtown, a district notorious for banning megacorps and stealing client data. The twist is that the secret underground sports facility is training and putting cyberware in children, while sports teams come to the facility to scout for future prospects.
It’s a brilliant setup that really gets to the heart of how Night City, Dogtown, and the universe of Cyberpunk 2077 as a whole operate. Both the young athletes and adults watching them are written superbly, and without spoiling how it can end, you very quickly realize that the decisions you make can have far-reaching consequences for the futures of a lot of people.
There’s genuinely no real right or wrong answer here, it all comes down to how you interpret the ethics of the scenario and want to make the best of a bad situation. Or not.
Not only is the Biotechnica facility a joy to explore but there are a handful of major and minor choices in the run-up to the quest’s resolution that can drastically change how you go about it. Putting the whole quest in an underground facility also turns it into a microcosm of Cyberpunk 2077’s best ideas, as your own stats, decisions, and skills can be used to explore and influence the entire facility and help, or hinder, you on your approach to the objective.
While you’re in Dogtown you’ll want to brush up on the best Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 builds for V, alongside the ideal Cyberpunk 2077 PC settings and Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements, as the 2.0 update and Phantom Liberty has changed what to expect.