Project Introduction

Neurocracy is an episodic sci-fi game set in the year 2049 that combines elements from alternate reality games (or ARGs), hypertext fiction, and epistolary novels into something more than the sum of those parts. In adopting the Wikipedia format for its gameplay mechanics, Neurocracy fully embraces its experimental approach to non-linear and interactive narratives.

Neurocracy's core gameplay loop is essentially the Wikipedia rabbit hole, with players diving into Omnipedia's hyperlinked articles and drawing connections between the clues they find by using deductive reasoning. Omnipedia is specifically designed to match Wikipedia in style and function, ensuring that Neurocracy's grammar of interaction is already familiar to anyone who has ever visited Wikipedia, and eliminating the need to tutorialise players.

Neurocracy invites players to explore a striking all-too-near future and piece together what has happened, and what is happening, solely from the information available on Omnipedia, the game's Wikipedia analogue. Most of Omnipedia's articles are in orbit around a high-profile assassination that throws the world of 2049 into disarray, turning players into detectives as they find clues, draw connections, compare notes, and ultimately solve the murder.

Neurocracy's current version was materialised through audience interaction, with a community of players having joined hands to tackle the game's many mysteries. Their findings and working theories influenced the writing and direction of each weekly episode, making the ongoing discussions between players just as much a part of Neurocracy as the pages of Omnipedia.

Neurocracy trusts players to find their own way into the story volume of Omnipedia, whether the murder mystery draws them in or the article about the AI-hosted reality show does. By letting them find the questions as well as the answers, each player brings their own imaginations and interests to the world of 2049, leveraging their creativity to tell their own stories. This also introduces a cooperative element, with players working together to share discoveries and solutions, and creating resources for others to follow.

Neurocracy is an unabashedly political game, dealing with contemporary themes and topics like machine learning, data extraction, algorithmic bias, misinformation, anthropogenic climate change, digitally mediated authoritarianism, and the corrosive influence of Big Tech. One review called Neurocracy and its use of the Wikipedia format "a lesson in media literacy you didn't know you needed."

One of Neurocracy's central story threads explores the progression and fallout of a fictional pandemic, which was conceived years before COVID-19 arrived. This offered an unfortunate live lesson in how modern society would react to a pandemic, which went on to inform the sociopolitical realism of Neurocracy. Traditional publishing may shy away from pandemic stories, but it's important to tell them; art is there to make sense of our world and help process collective trauma, which it cannot do if it ignores reality.

About Developer

Neurocracy is created by Playthroughline, a fully remote team composed of writer/narrative designer Joannes Truyens and web developer Matei Stanca. We became friends in the Half-Life modding community and began full-time development of Neurocracy in 2019. Joannes Truyens is a permanent resident in the UK.