Big brother is everywhere. They check the numbers you call on your phone, browse your bank account details, ponder over your browser history (and re download your porn videos … maybe). In the wrong hands, power like that could be corruptible … good thing it’s in your hands then, right? RIGHT?
Adelaide’s Monomyth Games are currently hard at work on their upcoming PC game, Need to Know, which explores what it would be like to work within the shadowy world of intelligence. As an employee of the fictional ‘Department of Liberty’, you’ll be spying on the world through emails, texts, geodata and other forms of communication to seek out dangerous members of society. Of course, you could just as easily use whatever information you discover to your own advantage, or leak details to press, or perhaps help out an underground community with the very thing they need to expose a high flying executive. The choice, as Monomyth suggest, is yours.
Here’s how it works. You have a computer screen in front of you, the Windows 10 desktop to Hacknet’s DOS prompts, where you must select a suspect by browsing through a fairly simple looking world map. Once you have your chosen target, you can scroll through a decent selection of evidence to uncover what you need and, if you find something worthwhile, you can decide if they’re a threat or not. Impress your superiors enough and eventually you’ll get a high enough clearance level to delve into more classified levels of information through more intricate and perhaps even creepy levels of observation.
Since I’ve already mentioned Hacknet, it’ll be interesting to see the difference in gameplay between the two. Obvious GUI differences aside, I’m curious to see some of the higher level techniques that come into play later in the game, and what happens if you leak information to other sources. In a way it looks a little more realistic in tone, when compared to realism in hacking, especially when you’re considering the moral implications of your actions. Monomyth’s concepts have been influenced by the growing concern over real life surveillance, something I’m sure we can all understand.
Though in early stages of development, you can easily see how intriguing Need to Know already is, and clearly there are many others out there who agree. The game has 18 days left of its Kickstarter campaign but it’s already a good $40,000 over its initial target of $29,000. They’re running through a number of stretch goals at the moment, plus you can vote for the game on Steam Greenlight right now too. It certainly looks like a humdinger of a concept, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.
Get it? Close eye? Because it’s a spy game? Yeah …
Mark Isaacson is a freelance writer who honestly isn’t sure what he’d do if he had all the information in the world. Probably sell it on eBay.