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How Die Augen der Welt Plans to do Stealth Differently

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On Saturday, Eldritch developer David Pittman of Minor Key Games lifted the veil on his new project, titled Die Augen der Welt (German for “the eyes of the world”). The official blog for the game, found here, describes it as a political thriller stealth game.

The game will feature a female protagonist in “an Edward Snowden-type role” in a neon-soaked surveillance state. In an interview with Front Towards Gamer, Pittman detailed his inspirations for this setting, saying that “after a few false starts on other projects, I returned to the surveillance state idea with a tighter focus on stealth gameplay and a clear statement about the player’s role: ‘You are Edward Snowden.’ The actual story is about fictional people and will be more nuanced than that, especially to support the case of players who may disagree that unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence is ever warranted. But that simple statement was the kindling for the spark of an idea, and the concept came together rapidly after that.”

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Die Augen der Welt is self-described as “pure stealth,” and will de-emphasize violence to bring its narrative to the forefront. Pittman wants to make a stealth game in which “lethal violence is either expressly forbidden by the game’s mechanics or has incredibly significant ramifications within the game’s systems, on par with murder in the real world. I think it is a difficult thing to do well; if a game purports to judge the player’s ethics but does not react meaningfully to player actions, the mechanics may actually say the opposite of what was intended. ‘It’s okay to kill just this one person, because you left everyone else alive, and your last saved game was 15 minutes ago, and you don’t really want to redo that whole section.’ For Die Augen, I’m just planning to do the easier thing and make lethal violence not even be an option.

That also resonates with the premise of focusing on stealth gameplay, and actually highlights the ethical problems of non-lethal violence. Non-lethal takedowns are often treated as a capital-G Good option in stealth- or combat-oriented video games, and I’m not especially comfortable with that being the default view. I’m not sure how much I’ll actually explore those idea in Die Augen—they’re tangential to the primary narrative about surveillance states—but that’s where my mind is right now.”

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While Die Augen der Welt won’t feature procedural-generation similar to Eldritch, Pittman did reveal that it will run on a more advanced version of the Eldritch engine. Regarding procedural-generation, Pittman stated that “randomization in stealth games is an interesting challenge, but I think it wouldn’t fit well with the more traditional narrative structure I’m planning for this game. And handcrafted levels will allow me to build logical AI patrol routes and more unique, less homogeneous spaces than Eldritch featured.” Pittman also hopes to ship a level editor with Die Augen der Welt to encourage players to create and share their own maps.

When asked about platforms and the possibility of publishers for Die Augen der Welt, Pittman said “For the time being, we are maintaining our focus on self-publishing for PC (Windows, Mac, and Linux). We would always consider new opportunities, but neither consoles nor publishers are part of our plans right now.” As for when we’ll be able to play Die Aguen der Welt, Pittman is hoping for an early 2015 release.