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RocketWerkz unveils procedural "neo-noir" open-world game Living Dark

"A near-future city straining under tensions it can barely control."

UPDATE 14TH DECEMBER: A second teaser for Living Dark has been released, focusing on a character called Algo Azul who can telekinetically move objects. Is this a hint at the types of abilities we'll be able to use in the game?

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ORIGINAL STORY 13TH DECEMBER: RocketWerkz has unveiled a new open-world, procedural, "neo-noir" game called Living Dark. There's no mention of it being multiplayer and, judging by a developer's post on Facebook, the team is 15 people big, so temper expectations accordingly - this will be no Grand Theft Auto.

RocketWerkz, incidentally, is the New Zealand studio set up by former DayZ frontman Dean Hall, though it's former Bethesda artist Rashad Redic directing Living Dark.

Here's the cover-blurb from the Living Dark website:

"Welcome to Vox - a near-future city straining under tensions it can barely control...

"Fight for friends, factions or your own future, but survive at all costs in a society where justice is only for the powerful.

"Explore dense, diverse open environments in a myriad of playstyles. Forge critical bonds then confront demanding choices - against the darkness of the city, your decisions make all the difference.

"A neo-noir adventure driven by a procedural narrative, Living Dark is yours to define."

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The procedural part refers to Living Dark apparently creating missions, characters and dialogue on the fly depending on how you behave. Increase your bond with another character and they'll become closer to you and be more significant in your story. Similarly, how neighbourhoods and districts and factions respond to you will depend on your actions. Living Dark sounds like a game about bending people to your will and changing a city in the process and, intriguingly, you can begin a new character in a manipulated world to see it all from another point of view.

Combat doesn't feature highly in the game's explanation but it is mentioned, but so are many other approaches to a problem.

"Any situation in Living Dark can be approached several ways," the website says. "Fight, sneak, hack or forge your way through obstacles - the array of hand-to-hand combat styles and ranged weapons can be combined to deadly effect - but violence may create even larger problems. Whether you opt to silently infiltrate an area or socially engineer your way inside, it's up to you."

Gathering intelligence also sounds like a core part of the game.

"Personal information is key to Living Dark. Every citizen is implanted with a metachip that stores their data - from names, dates and personal details to bank accounts and even medical histories. Take the time to hunt it down, and this information can be extremely valuable: access passcodes, forge a new identity to avoid enemies, enter new areas, and much more."


"Players have the ability to approach missions and personal goals from an investigative angle. Gather physical and digital clues, chase leads and exploit personal connections to get the information you need for the mission."

Exactly how deep and reactive an open world created by 15 people can be, we'll see, but it sounds interesting. RocketWerkz plans to release a new teasing trailer each day this week, and maybe by the end we'll have an idea of a release date and the platforms the game is due out on.