Rewriting Nothing To Hide

Nothing To Hide‘s statements on privacy and surveillance aren’t subtle.
~ John Walker, Rock Paper Shotgun

While I'm happy with how the Nothing To Hide demo turned out, I agree with many of the critics: the writing kinda sucks. I treated every dialogue & Wall post as a standalone punchline, leaving no room for the ambiguity that makes stories so compelling.

Here's a few ways I'm planning to rewrite Nothing To Hide, and I'll be ocassionally updating this post with more ideas:


1. A morally ambiguous father/daughter relationship.

Gardner genuinely cares about his daughter, Poppy. That's why he wants to win the election, to give them both a good life. But to win, he must follow his party's discipline-obsessed mantra, and physically hurt Poppy for the world to see. Poppy understands, and doesn't mind. But Gardner's on the brink of a mental breakdown.

Read the sketched, short comic
Read the full writeup

2. Make morally ambiguous choices with the game's mechanics.

The narrative will be influenced by decisions you make using gameplay: walking, picking up cameras, and solving puzzles. No sudden "CHOOSE A OR B" moments. Gameplay changes the narrative, and vice versa.

(Full writeup coming soon)

3. The end of personal devices.

Our devices are getting lighter and lighter, from PCs to laptops to phones. There's only one logical conclusion: a world where you own no devices of your own - your environment is a device. The Walls & iEyes are all owned exclusively by the state, and "shared" amongst every citizen.

(Full writeup coming soon)

4. Privacy is only allowed for high-ranking politicians.

Private lives are public. Public offices are private. A full inversion of "power to the people". This is why Gardner wants to win the un-secret election - so he and his family can finally enjoy full privacy, and finally really get to be with each other. And he will win, at any cost.

(Full writeup coming soon)

5. Poppy living a double life as public figure & private rebel.

Poppy's public life - which makes up 95% of her life - is repressively fake and boring. But the other 5% of the time, she's part of the Nobodies. As a part-time Nobody, Poppy can finally discover herself, but maintain the safety of her public life. This, of course, all goes to hell near the end of the game.

(Full writeup coming soon)