State of Mind is a thriller with a transhumanist theme. This means its topics deal with a futuristic school of thought, which has many followers among the key personalities of Silicon Valley. Transhumanists believe that technological development is exponential and that we are on a path of superintelligences and digital immortality.
The prognoses of a transhumanist future are so fantastic, so utopian, that they can hardly be grasped. Accordingly, what we thought would be the most interesting focus for State of Mind is showing the people that are living in that future, the very people who experience the cracks and contradictions of that world. One of these people is Richard Nolan, our game’s protagonist.
Richard is a man in his forties, has a family, and works as a journalist. Frankly, he lives an average existence. What made him remarkable as a journalist and gave him a certain celebrity status is a series of techno-skeptical research: Richard reported and reviewed topics like data scandals and increasing surveillance. This didn’t just award him fame, but it also influenced him personally: He is, at least regarding his rhetoric, an honest to god Luddite. He’s the kind of guy who warns people about total digitalization while flipping open his old Nokia phone.
So, apart from a few more outstanding aspects, this still sounds like a perfectly normal life. As you will find out in State of Mind, however, Richard’s problems run deep. His existence feels intact, but that feeling is only superficial at best.
Journalism, his field of expertise, has been gradually changing for a long time: Bots and illusive corporations run the show now. And reality is in a crisis of its own where technologies have created alternate realities and collective facts and norms of society keep dwindling away.
A Luddite like Richard considers these developments a significant threat. The technology he rejects closes in on him.
After a dramatic incident, Richard’s fragile life breaks. Family, job, affairs, friendships – his whole existence is shattered. Beaten, but not broken, he must pick up the shards of his life. On this harrowing journey, he gets to know the transhumanist world around him personally, with all the pain and tripwires that entails. And suddenly, his whole being could be on the line.
If you’ve heard about State of Mind, you know that this story takes place in two worlds: a dystopian Berlin and in a digital Utopia. Richard Nolan is the link between the separated spheres. This makes his journey a trial of fire for his life and all convictions, earthly and emotional tethers and decisions of his past.
This fractured feeling is what State of Mind is about for us, not only regarding Richard as a character, but also regarding the game. Being torn between right and wrong, truth and deceit, between compulsion and escapism (or any variation of two worlds) is something every one of us experiences every single day.
On August 15 you can join Richard on this journey, discover who he is and how he plays the hand he has been dealt. We’re looking forward to having you on board or even pre-order the game today in the Microsoft Store.