Subnet is a first-person hacking, stealth, and parkour game set in a futuristic dystopian England. It is currently in development by Nineteen Stone Ninjas, an indie game development studio based in the UK.
The story takes place 200 years in the future; the population of earth has reached breaking point, and civil unrest is commonplace across the globe. Wide area communication is outlawed - the only way for citizens to communicate is via ESOS, a cerebral interface chip that is implanted in all newborns by law.
Cybercrime is rife, and the underground black market runs rich with information; the most valuable commodity of the time. Hackers remain aloof, but also carry a celebrity-like status - touted as criminals by the media, and freedom fighters by many underground rebel movements.
The game follows the story of Byron Alexis, a tech geek who is frustrated with the oppressive totalitarian environment in which he is forced to live. In a vain attempt to rebel against the system, he turns to freelance hacking, only to discover that his frustrations run much deeper than he imagined.
Subnet is set in a fictional city in Northern England. Most cities are now separated into two distinct areas; the run down and polluted suburbs, and the technologically advanced "Crust" - platforms that tower high in the sky above the cities of "Old England", built in response to building concerns that England didn't have the room for new technology, but also to accommodate the sky-rocketing population.
Gameplay is intended to offer players multiple ways to achieve an end goal. Each level will have a start and end, though the stealth, parkour and hacking game mechanics will offer variation on how the player navigates the level.
Stealth & Parkour
The stealth mechanics will consist of avoiding hazards such as security guards, robots, sentry drones and various security devices such as cameras and sensors, whilst the parkour allows the player to reach areas that would not normally be available in a standard first person experience, and traverse the environment freely.
The in-game hacking mechanics are intended to allow the player to hack almost any object in the game - from computer terminals and security cameras to doors, elevators, and even NPCs. Hacking is presented as a randomised network diagram, where connections between devices can be traversed in real-time. The player will be incentivised to physically reach and hack certain devices, rather than hack them remotely.
By hacking, the player will be able to change the state of network devices, as well as enable and disable traps and relay rules on each device. This allows for dynamic gameplay, in that the player can choose how to achieve any given goal.
The player will be provided with various collectable tools that will enhance hacking and stealth abilities temporarily, or may help the player traverse the landscape.
Upgrades and Experience
The player will be able to upgrade and gain experience in various skills to enhance their character. This will include, but is not limited to health, hacking skill and parkour skills.
Development / prototyping was started in July 2013, and quickly gained momentum in the hacking and parkour mechanics. Currently the team are focussing on art and asset creation.
Subnet is being developed in the Unity3D engine and is primarily written in proprietary C# code, though a few Unity Asset Store assets have been deployed to speed up development.
The development team intend to release a playable demo sometime in 2015.