Hacking simulation games allow players to engage in highly-stylized fictional acts of cybercrime and espionage, without the risk of the pesky prison sentences and exorbitant fines that accompany such activities in the real world. For those who appreciate prominent story elements to go along with their virtual hacking, Montreal-based developer Alice & Smith has announced NITE Team 4, an upcoming standalone spin-off from The Black Watchmen, their paranormal alternate reality adventure that completed its second season earlier this month.
NITE Team 4 revolves around the eponymous cyberwarfare unit of the Black Watchmen organization, putting players in the shoes of a new recruit to the team. Players will be tasked with attacking and infiltrating “hardened computer networks” in order to complete missions and support the agency’s goals.
As demonstrated in the game’s public alpha (available for both Windows and Mac), gameplay will include such activities as bypassing firewalls, stealing and deleting private files, and directing field agents to set up listening posts to intercept communications data. A few of these activities appear as graphical mini-games: firewalls are cracked by guiding a glowing icon through an obstacle-laden maze, for example, and decrypting data from listening posts requires “sorting” a series of data packets into sets of nodes.
Much of the interaction, however, takes place in a realistic command line interface alongside a map of the world, with players entering keywords, IP addresses, and filenames to connect to servers shown on the map and carry out various objectives. Intriguingly, the developers claim that many of the objectives and other aspects of the game feature intelligence community terminology gleaned from information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
While NITE Team 4’s narrative will contain references and characters familiar to players of The Black Watchmen, Alice & Smith promise that prior experience with their original series is not necessary to follow the storyline of this new title.
There is no firm release date for NITE Team 4 just yet, but the developers are aiming to get it into Early Access for Windows and Mac sometime this fall. For more information in the meantime, including access to the public alpha, sneak over to the game’s official website.