Before a city was named after him, when that city was still a loose idea in his mind, a young Richard Night got his start as a partner in Halsey, Ferris, and Night. A California construction company with an excellent track record and focus on corporate development, the firm grew rapidly, as rapidly as the power of megacorporations, and made all three men very rich in the last decade of the century. But as 1990 was getting closer, corporate construction slowed, with less and less demand for office-plazas, banks, and the like, as the States was involved in international and expensive wars everywhere with the political enemies of the CIA so people, and corps, seemed to be more worried about bigger affairs.
Not one to simply sit around and wait, Night went separate ways from Halsey and Ferris, establishing his own company: Night International.
Richard had a dream, you see, a vision of the perfect city, against which all other cities would be compared. A sprawling metropolis, free of crime, of poverty, of debt. A place where people could live safely, peacefully, without having to worry about the dire situations that were growing around the world at the time. “A City on the Edge of Tomorrow,” as its slogan would eventually become. Yeah, we're talking about Night City here. But in Night's head, it started like this.
But urban construction isn't cheap in the best of scenarios, and a project this massive was going to require considerable investment from more than a few sources. But Richard was savvy, his experience in business served him well, and he knew how to appeal to corporate backers: give them what they want. That's such a simple premise.
Megacorporations were gaining a great deal of power at the time, and always wanting for more, so the idea of a city under corporate control, with zoning optimized at the design stage, with anti-business elements exiled from the start, with lucrative tax packages to further boost corporate growth, it was almost too good to be true.
But it was true, if they wanted it to be, and Richard showed them how it could be made real. He had the designs, the construction capabilities, and the experience, all he needed was the capital.
By 1992, Arasaka, EBM, and Petrochem had signed on to make Night's dream a reality.
The deal with Petrochem was actually even better than having considerable extra cash flow, though that certainly didn't hurt. Richard knew he wanted his city to be somewhere along the Central California coastline. With seaport access, beautiful rolling hills, and the Palentran Intercontinental maglev drawing ever closer, it would be the perfect spot for the world's next major city. As it happened, what a coincidence! Petrochem owned the drilling rights to, and most of the land around, Del Coronado Bay region.
In fact, some of the only land they didn't own was that of Morro Bay; a small city that had seen a particularly bad string of luck in recent years. The Three Fingers power plant had been shut down, gutting the local economy.
In 1992 a boostergang set upon the city so badly the military had to intervene in an event that became known as “The Morro Massacre.” This decimated the population too, further reducing Morro's value, What a drama! This happened exactly in the land that Richard Night wanted. Coincidence? A quick $132 million buyout later, and Morro Bay was his. The construction of Coronado City began in 1993, with it officially being incorporated as of May 1994.
The creation of Coronado City, the project that Richard Night couldn't get out of his mind, was sweeping in its scope.
They dredged Del Coronado Bay for two purposes: first to make it easier for large shipping concerns, and second, to expand the peninsula where the old township of Del Coronado stood. Del Coronado itself was integrated into the picturesque “Old Downtown” while the new Corporate Plaza sprung up on the remains of Morrow Bay, serving as the new core of the city. Existing suburbs were merged into residential groupings, with a strong focus on maintaining their respective feelings while also setting up for planned growth later on. Night was ambitious, but he also had a brilliance that allowed him to succeed where others might have failed. The considerable corporate power backing him probably made it a little bit easier too.
Unfortunately, history shows how ambition can often lead to one's downfall, and poor Richard was no different. Coronado City required a variety of advanced, innovative building techniques and styles to achieve what Richard sought to achieve. His corporation, and others he was in contact with, were more than up to the task. However, some older companies were not, and over time, he began to leave more and more established construction companies and unions out of Night City's development.
Among those left behind was the firm of Halsey, Ferries, and Skiv. Night's old partners had run into some hard times after his departure and wound up striking a deal with a local Mob figure who had come to dominate the Northern California region. They were not the only ones and, in fact, many of the older construction firms and unions which Richard didn't employ, had ties to organized crime. They have a tendency to respond poorly to being neglected or outright ignored. So it was that, during those first four years of construction, Richard's life was threatened on an almost daily basis. But he was proud, strong-willed, and not one to be easily intimidated, so he tended to just tune it out; there was work to be done and baseless threats were simply a distraction. Eventually, they weren't baseless though, as sabotage and intimidation began to affect construction.
Now, corporations tend to not get involved in this sort of thing, as it's a waste of time to worry about something as simple as “death threats,” but construction delays hit the bottomline, and corporations do not like anything that hits the bottomline. The response was severe, vicious, but unfortunately limited in scope, enough to be noticed but not actually enough to stop the Mob permanently.
So on September 20th, 1998, in his penthouse suite atop the newly constructed Parkview Tower, Richard was murdered. Shot, by an assailant who has never been found. Because no one gave a shit, everybody knew the mob killed him, and although there was public outcry, and demands that they be brought to justice, it was of little consequence as the Mob had already started to enlarge their tentacles to control the city at that point.
Miriam Night, Richard's widow, founded Night's Foundation the following year, and even that could do little to stop the Mob from taking hold of Richard's legacy, at least for a time. In memoriam, the City Council renamed Coronado City to Night City, because it's easier to just change the name than facing the people who were becoming the power of the metropolis.
Under Mob rule, Night City became the opposite of everything Richard tried to create: a hive of violence, cruelty, and death. Initially, the Corporations saw no reason to get involved; as before, if it didn't impact their profits, they really didn't care. Miriam attempted to appeal to them through Night's Foundation, but seemingly any loyalty to Richard or his goals died with him. Eventually, though, the Mob grew too big, too unruly, and started to be a menace to corporate concerns. The reprisal was swift and merciless; pumped up street thugs in fancy suits really couldn't compete with trained, heavily armed troops in Aerodynes. One of the corps that backed Night City with their corporate money was Arasaka, and if there is one thing Arasaka has is an army. The Mob learned through violence, and Miriam learned through observation: if you wanted to have power in Night City, you had to play by Big Business rules.
Following the Mob Wars, Miriam restructured and rebranded Night's Foundation to Night Corp. She wasn't going to let his ideal city go to waste, so Night Corp focused solely on making Night City the best it could be. Investing heavily in ecological research and new alternative power sources, which made it friends with a back then subsidiary of Petrochem, Biotechnica. Night Corp is the largest contractor of public acquisitions and civic infrastructure, maintaining public works and development well into 2077. They also maintain charities and scholarship programs to help Night City's youth. They've even managed to stay out of the normal corporate power struggles which tend to plague every other corporation, both inside the city and out. Even the shadowy corporate rumors about them, like having underwater bases in the bay or access to orbital satellites, remain unsubstantiated despite extensive investigation.
Although Miriam has long since stepped down as CEO by 2077, everyone who has followed her knows she did her best to maintain Night Corp's image and Richard's original goal: the perfect city, free of crime, of poverty, of debt. A visionary city from a visionary man.