State of Mind revolves around two main characters, Richard and Adam, who are technically the same person and exist in two separate worlds, the Real and the Digital. With humans ever growing dependence and integration of technology into their lives the stark division between worlds has begun to blur and as they beginning to increasingly overlap.
State of Mind focuses heavily on the topics of Transhumanism and the Technological Singularity, primarily the impacts both may have on the human race as it develops. Augmented reality features massively throughout the demo we were shown where “Hotspots” highlight certain objects within the game world, not only for the player but NPCs as well.
They are able to access all the information available to the player and utilise it in much the same way, meaning you have to think about what’s on display and how much information you are likely to glean from interacting with anyone in the room. The information may be entirely new or they may help to enhance the information you have already received, or it may lead you to question what they might be hiding from you. Perhaps the information on display is rife with Red Herrings designed to lead the player astray.
The main protagonist, Richard, is recovering from death-induced amnesia when his real body is killed and a data-backup of his consciousness is implanted into a new one. He begins attempting to piece together the truth behind his death as well as some startling interactions with Adam, Richard’s digital conscious counterpart that was uploaded into the digital, City 5, without his knowledge or consent. As Richard begins to piece together his past and the conspiracy surrounding his original demise, Adam’s presence in the Digital world starts to unravel, piercing the veil and shaking the virtual foundations of its existence. These interactions serve to frame the issues facing the modern developing world, with technology beginning to integrate more and more with our day to day lives.
State of Mind utilises a low-poly art style in order to give it a unique “fractured” look, deliberately chosen to echo the themes of the game. The fractured mentality of Richard, the two co-existing worlds but with the Digital becoming more and more prevalent in day to day life and fragmented nature of people’s lives and the current state of the world. The low-poly textures don’t just look great but ironically complete the feel of the game.
Interestingly, State of Mind features no combat scenes and very little actual violence. It was revealed to us during the presentation that there are a number of situations where the player is able to try and steer the character towards a lethal solution to a problem but they refuse to commit the act at the last moment. This may seem like an unsatisfying outcome if you spend ages agonising over a decision only to have it removed from you at the last moment, however it is a powerful narrative tool and shows just how strong the characters in-game actually are.
State of Mind is a carefully constructed narrative with a hard hitting and serious overtone, that sets out to acknowledge what may happen to humanity in the very near future. Every aspect of the game is constructed to make the player tackle deep and complex problems, thinking of bigger issues that may soon become more fact than fiction.