Cyberpunk 2077 The Pickup: Kill Royce or Pay for the Flathead?

Cyberpunk 2077's The Pickup mission is your first big gig with some even bigger consequences. Here's what happens if you shoot Royce or pay for the Flathead.

Cyberpunk 2077 The Pickup mission is your first big, open-ended quest in the game. It revolves around a defining question: do you shoot Royce or pay for the Flathead? The answer isn’t as cut and dry as it might seem since whatever you choose can have long-lasting consequences. But we’ve got all the options covered for you here. 

The decision to kill Royce or pay for the Flathead also ties into saving Brick later in the mission. If you're wondering how to save Brick, we've covered that here

Cyberpunk 2077 The Pickup: Kill Royce or Pay for the Flathead?

The Pickup mission unlocks after finishing The Ride quest by chatting with Jackie again. Right away, you’re given two choices that have a significant effect on how the mission unfolds. Do you meet with Meredith Stout or not?

Cyberpunk 2077 The Pickup: Meet Meredith Stout?

You don’t technically have to meet with Meredith Stout. It’s a completely optional mini-quest in The Pickup, but things get both easier and more complicated if you do meet with her. Here’s what happens if you don’t meet with Stout.

If You Don't Meet with Meredith Stout

Your first option if you don’t meet with Stout is to shoot Royce, the Maelstrom leader, to take the Flathead. Doing so earns you a shiny Chaos Tech Pistol. But it also triggers a conflict with the rest of the Maelstrom gang. 

Note: Shooting Royce might also be the only way to free Brick. Some players have reported they can't de-activate the mine trap near Brick if Royce is still alive, though it's possible other progression options in that quest line are just bugged right now. 

The second option if you don't meet with Stout is to buy the Flathead with your own Eurodollars. But because the Flathead is stupid expensive this early in the game, we don't advise doing that.

If You Meet with Meredith Stout

If you decide to meet with Stout, take your phone out and call her to get a new objective marker. Set your quest tracker to “Meet with the Militech agent” to make finding Stout easier.

After a brief scene, you can take a credchip from Stout and use it to buy the Flathead. You can still choose to shoot Royce for the Flathead as well, again triggering a fight with Maelstrom. 

If you do choose to use the credchip, things get a bit twisty because there is a virus in the credchip

How to Remove the Virus from the Chip

You can do two things at this point: either remove the virus through hacking or not. Both have big effects on the mission and portions of what follows. Here’s how it pans out.

Whoever you side with, the mission always ends up in conflict of some kind. If you kill Royce, you’re siding with Militech and Stout. If you work with Royce or buy the Flathead outright, Militech murders Stout, and Anthony Gilchrist takes her place.

If you’re playing as a male V who chose the Corpo path and you have a romantic interest in Stout, you’ll want to kill Royce. You can meet up with Stout at a motel after the mission.

Give Royce the Un-Hacked Chip

This is the toughest, but possibly most worthwhile option. Royce realizes the chip isn’t clean, and it triggers a fight against Maelstrom with Royce as the leader.

It’s a difficult fight, but defeating Royce and saving Brick opens new quest paths later on. It probably goes without saying, but head shots are ideal against Royce if you do fight him.

Stout lives in this route, and Gilchrist dies.

Hack the Chip and Remove the Virus

If you remove the virus from the chip, you’ll give it to Royce and alert him about Militech. This triggers a conflict with Militech’s guards, but it’s much easier than the fight against Maelstrom because everyone else is doing the heavy lifting. Stout dies as a result.

Take the Chip but Pay for the Flathead

There’s one other option here. You can take Stout’s chip, hacked or not, and still buy the Flathead with your own money. This somehow turns into supporting Maelstrom, so Stout also dies in this route.

Whatever you do, don’t let the timer run out when you’re making your choice. Royce kills you if you do, and you’ll just have to start over.

Once you’ve made your choice and everything plays out, you’ll get the Flathead and be on your merry merc way.

That's all you need to know about whether you should kill Royce or pay for the Flathead in The Pickup mission in Cyberpunk 2077. Keep an eye out for our more Cyberpunk 2077 guides in the coming days as well as our review.

Contributor

Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.

Published Dec. 12th 2020

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