How do you start the Phantom Liberty expansion in Cyberpunk 2077? Once you've purchased and installed Phantom Liberty, Cyberpunk 2077 will need to be updated to at least version 2.0 (released on the 21st September, 2023).

How to Start Phantom Liberty 1
Image: Push Square

How to start Phantom Liberty in Cyberpunk 2077

When you're in-game, there are actually two ways to start Phantom Liberty:

  1. Simply start a new game or load your existing save. Upon reaching the point in the main story where V has dealt with the Voodoo Boys in Pacifica, Phantom Liberty will be unlocked via an ominous call from a new character named Songbird. Track the Dog Eat Dog quest and go to the objective marker to kick things off. If you're way beyond this point in the main story, then you'll get the call automatically.
  2. If you want to experience Phantom Liberty but you don't want to start a whole new playthrough or play as your existing V, you can select 'New Game' from the main menu and then pick 'Skip ahead to Phantom Liberty' in order to jump straight to the expansion. You'll play as a level 15 V, who you can still visually customise to your liking. You're given a default assortment of weapons, clothes based on your lifepath, and a fairly even spread of attribute and ability points (you can redistribute all of these points once you're into gameplay proper).

It's also worth mentioning that you can track the Phantom Liberty questline in your journal, as soon as you've installed the expansion. The objective will tell you what you need to do in order to unlock it — referencing main story missions step by step — even if you're starting a brand new save.

When should you start Phantom Liberty?

Based on our experience with the expansion, it's probably best to leave Phantom Liberty until later in the game. This is because the DLC features some relatively difficult combat encounters, which can be tricky if your character build isn't quite fleshed out.

But it's not just the higher level of challenge. There are actually a lot of story moments in Phantom Liberty that draw from the main game, referencing V's adventures through Night City. Recurring characters, callbacks to past events, and other, smaller details make it feel as though the expansion rewards players who are already familiar with the core experience. There are numerous conversations, for example, where your dialogue options will change based on what you've done elsewhere in Night City. With all of that in mind, you could leave Phantom Liberty until you're near the end of the main game.

Having said that, if you're looking for a challenge in terms of gameplay, there's obviously nothing wrong with tackling the expansion a lot earlier. What's more, the DLC does reward you with some effective (and cool!) cyberware and weapons that you won't find in the main campaign. You might like to take that stuff into the rest of Cyberpunk 2077 while you still have much of the game left to play through.

Once you start Phantom Liberty, can you leave?

When you first start Phantom Liberty and you gain access to Dogtown, you won't be able to leave the district until you've completed a series of several main quests. However, once you're done with this opening sequence of events, and you're free to roam the rest of Dogtown, you can exit the region via the main gate and return to Night City.

At this point, you're free to come and go as you please, which also means that you can stop playing through Phantom Liberty's central questline and go jobbing in the bigger city, if you feel like putting things on hold.

Did you find this guide on how to start Phantom Liberty useful? Give our full Cyberpunk 2077 guide a read for much more help with both the expansion and the main game.