A Game Where You Can Spy on Anyone

By Julian Benson on at

Need To Know is a game about mass surveillance, aiming to do to the NSA what Papers, Please did to passport stamping... make it very bloody compelling.

Starting off as a lowly analyst you're charged with raising within the ranks of the surveillance team by looking through the population's data in search of evidence of criminal activity. Your big, invasive computers suggest suspects when one of their devices sends or receives something that hints at potential illegal activity. You can then choose to track that person, investing more resources in finding out what they're up to, and, when you've collected evidence, decide how to proceed.

Or, in gif form:


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It's a fascinating subject to explore and if the team can pull off the mechanics of all the different surveillance tools mentioned in its Kickstarter — like drones, metadata, financial records, and geo-tracking — it could be fascinating to play. One worry I'd have is that this could be end up being quite a linear game where the game is less about investigation and more choosing how to respond at junctures in a linear story.

Mass surveillance is a fascinating topic for a game, so I really hope this project gives it a full exploration. I'd love a game that gave me the tools to track, capture, and interrogate people I deemed were suspects... that made me sound quite bad. I want to investigate crimes and I don't want the man with his 'laws' to get in my way.