This video game imagines a near-future London as a surveillance state that has spiralled out of control and now examines every facet of its citizen’s lives at all times. As the hero of the game, the player controls a faceless hacker fighting to preserve their identity against all the technologies encroaching on their privacy.
The game space is developed in response to research examining technologies of surveillance, past, present and future, and the way they are continuing to shape our lives. Will the citizen of the near future be in a state of perpetual tension, worried that giving out the wrong snippet of information will end their career or friendships?
As the player navigates the open-world city they must move in a choreography responding to all the way they may be seen, from a security camera at a station, to an RFID in a bank card, through to facial recognition software in a supermarket and drone imagery. By coopting these technologies of control, the player can start to wrest back the city from the overarching powers and start ‘liberating’ areas of London from the all-seeing eye. The player hacks the city through a series of ‘mini-games’, using drones to graffiti buildings, interfering with security cameras or hiding buildings from satellite imagery.
The game moves between an aerial view and both first and third perspective viewpoints, between the view of tracking and position and the view of human experience, showing the city through the eyes of a citizen as well as through all the innumerable technological eyes for seeing that regulate our modern cities.
By Dan Avilan, Aradhana Kapoor & Sanjana Samant as part of the RC12 Videogame Urbanism studio.