Friday, March 4, 2016

The Watchlist: Need To Know

Title: Need To Know
Developer: Monomyth Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Releasing late 2016/2017
A surveillance thriller sim
Information is power. It can fuel new discoveries and breakthroughs, promote change, change the tide of a battle. Need To Know takes that central conceit, along with the themes and ideas brought to the forefront by games like Papers Please and The Westport Independent, and places them in the very relevant context of modern-day surveillance.

Need To Know put in the shoes of a young talented analyst in the employ of the Department of Liberty, an NSA-style agency fighting a digital war against terrorism. This means your job is to go through your daily allotment of profiles and decide if these people are valid threats. That decision rests on your research into each person's life, digging through text messages and financial records and browser histories and other means to determine guilt.
With each successful job, your reputation improves, security clearances open up, more advanced tools and more complex operations becomes available. Operations to locate fugitives and expose cults, operations where your the options are "assault" and "neutralize",

But with those more advanced tools come more power. The world is your oyster, so to speak. The information-gathering means used to spy on suspected terrorists can just as easily let you learn more about the woman you're in a relationship with. Or to blackmail and sabotage a co-worker. Or to make a fortune on the stock market. Or manipulate an election. If you can cover your tracks, you can use information and skills for your own personal gain and perhaps for other more corrupt agendas.
If the immoral path isn't your goal, Need To Know also lets you take other road and expose the illicit actions of the Department to the world. Act as a whistle blower, leak information to secret partners, and you'll be able to undermine the agency from within.

Need To Know will follow a relative linear narrative, with hefty amount of side jobs and the means to use your powers to pry how you see fit. The choices you make will affect the story, and while some suspects will be the same every time, other missions have new suspects to track and investigate. Post-launch, the developers will also be adding an Arcade mode, which will test your skills with increasingly challenging missions and randomly-generated suspects.
Need To Know is currently on Kickstarter, and is already 380% funded with all stretch goals achieved. The campaign has seven days left; you can support it here, and learn more about the game on its site.

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