Many years ago, the creepy alternate-reality adventure game Missing: Since January (called In Memoriam outside of the US) tried to blur the lines between its fiction and our world. In pursuing the trail of the fictional Jack Lorski and Karen Volker, players wind through real-world history and geography, as well as planted websites and stories. The sequel, Evidence: The Last Ritual (or In Memoriam 2 did the same.
Lexis-Numerique, the French developer behind both games, is branching out into the alternate reality adventure once again. However, the advancement of social and mobile tech now makes alternate reality go well beyond a handful of carefully crafted fake websites.
In Alt-Minds, the player is on the trail of five missing scientists. Players, engaging through their computers (including Macs) or through mobile apps, are helping a fictional foundation track the whereabouts of their missing team.
If Alt-Minds works as promised, then players should be able to engage with as many or as few of the different platforms as they want to, and still advance in the story. The catch is that the game will run live, in a manner of speaking.
The webseries that kicks the project off begins on November 5, and runs for eight weeks. In a press release, Lexis-Numerique explained, "The investigation will happen in real time, hour by hour, minute by minute. The missions you can take part in happen in a limited time frame," though players can enable a "catch-up mode" to play the content they may have missed.
Will the creepy world of conspiracy theories and fictional serial killers hold up as well in a timed, live multimedia experience as it did in the era of CD-ROM game distribution? The transmedia element, tying together a webseries with real current events in the world, might come across hackneyed — or it might feel even more plausible. It seems we will find out in November.
Alt Minds [Official Site]