Stark is one of two principle settings for The Longest Journey
and its sequel Dreamfall
, and is expected to be explored further in the upcoming Dreamfall Chapters
and the untitled MMO offshoot. It represents our own planet Earth
approximately two hundred years in the future when technological advancements have produced sleek anti-gravity vehicles and artificially intelligent machines, but extreme social stratification has greatly limited access their benefits.
Its most unique point is that Stark exists in tandem with an alternate dimension
ruled by magic and alchemy known as Arcadia
. These two planes are separated by a great Divide
which is preserved by a solitary human Guardian
who maintains the delicate Balance which prevents the physical laws of one world from polluting the other. Despite these precautions, major events in one world have demonstrated an ability to affect the other.
Thousands of years prior to the events of The Longest Journey
, Stark and Arcadia existed as a single, unified Earth where the inhabitants could fuse elements of high science and powerful magic to acquire phenomenal power. Their ability to accumulate power grew faster than the wisdom to control it responsibly, building towards a vast techno-magic apocalypse that would not only annihilate Earth, but likely affect many other parts of the universe.
To head off this catastrophe, a team of six brilliant scientists and six powerful wizards joined forces with an enigmatic extraterrestrial race known as the Draic Kin
to split the planet into two smaller worlds: one governed exclusively by science and empirical logic, and the other by arcane mysticism and intuition. These realms would exist side-by-side, occupying the same space and time, but separated by a great Divide which would preserve the special physical laws unique to either side. This delicate Balance would need to be actively sustained by a lone human, a Guardian who would occupy the space between dimensions for a thousand years at a time and prevent any "leaks" between them.
From that point forward, the history of Stark is assumed to have unfolded identically to that of the real world. The population gradually forgot the truth of their ancient past and accepted elements of it as the stuff of fanciful myths and legends.
Advancement & Sociology The Longest Journey
begins in the year 2209 when technological advancement has made hover cars, energy weapons, extraterrestrial colonization, and artificial intelligence into realities. The gap between wealthy and poor has also grown more pronounced, with the rich living in towering glass skyscrapers high above the filthy, drug-infested slums inhabited by the impoverished. Armed guards and electronic locks physically bar the poor from making their way into the upper echelons of society, so socio-economic advancement beyond a certain point seems virtually impossible. Desperate individuals have even taken to selling themselves into slavery to one of the mega corporations seeking manual labor for the off-world colonies, and although their contracts are supposed to expire after a set period of time, it is heavily implied that none of these people ever return.
Immediately following the events of The Longest Journey
, Stark suffered a worldwide technological breakdown where most electronic devices on the planet suddenly went dead and vital technologies such as anti-gravity drives and faster-than-light vessels failed permanently. The chaos triggered a massive social upheaval, and over the next ten years, the planet became unified under the Syndicate, a supreme global government responsible for reestablishing society and, most urgently, preventing another Collapse from ever taking place.
As of 2219, all electronic devices are linked into the Wire: a universal wireless network which allowed the Syndicate to conduct espionage on virtually anyone at at any time. Their stated goal was to keep the corporations in line and stop a repeat of the undefined "terrorism" which allegedly triggered the Collapse, but privacy concerns lead to a burgeoning black market which specialized in phones and PDAs that were invisible to the Wire.Dreamfall
began several months after the emergence of a new problem nicknamed the Static which was randomly disabling large sections of the Wire. These disruptions continued to grow in frequency and duration, sometimes disabling communications over a wide area for hours at a time, yet the Syndicate seemed powerless to track down its cause.