Need to Know is an NSA simulator, now on Kickstarter


Bureaucracy simulators received a new lease on life thanks to Papers, Please, which tasked players with deciding, via a bunch of paperwork, whether citizens were fit to cross a border or not. Need to Know takes that template in an interesting new direction, placing you as an agent with the Department of Liberty, an organisation that monitors personal data in order to determine whether someone is dangerous or not.

It's clearly inspired by the NSA – someone else at PC Gamer called it 'Papers, Please: Snowden Edition'. How true that is remains to be seen, as Need to Know isn't finished yet: it's a Kickstarter campaign, and Adelaide-based studio Monomyth Games is after $29,000 to finish it. Turns out there's quite an appetite for topical games about digital privacy, because Need to Know has already exceeded its target by $2,000.

"You must spy on citizens, pick apart their private lives, and determine how dangerous they are," reads the description. "You can also resist these suffocating privacy invasions by aiding underground groups and leaking internal reports to the media. Or, you can just use all of that juicy classified information for your own, personal gain. Your call."

The studio aims to have a chapter of the game released by the middle of the year, followed by a bigger release in October for early access backers. Stretch goals are planned – and likely to materialise given the success of the campaign so far – but a final release date hasn't been announced.

Check out the trailer:

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.