Good news, everyone!

I’ve started to slowly develop a single player Untrusted prequel – and if you’ve been an Untrusted supporter, you can leave your mark in the Untrusted Universe! Before we get to it, let me clarify a few important things:

Does this mean Untrusted has stopped development?
Of course not! I have an event planned for late June, and as usual, maintenance bugfixes and support are an ongoing effort I’m making. Untrusted is, gameplay wise, at a very good point, being fun and balanced as I wanted it to be. It’s not a secret I’m not planning to add more Classes (at least, not for a while) but content is still being made and the game maintained. So please understand that this has no effect on the status of Untrusted. There are more events coming in the upcoming months and content!

Why are you making a prequel?
Because I can. Beacause I’d love to explore more the Untrusted universe and tell at least part of the story I initially envisioned to be told via the tutorial (which I then scrapped for various reasons). I also considered diverting this effort into making longer and more tutorials for Untrusted, but ultimately, I don’t think they’d change the fact that the vast majority of people hates doing a tutorial.

What’s the name of the prequel?
I have a few working titles in mind. For now it’s nothing definite, so I will be referring it just as Untrusted prequel. I will be adding a #prequel-discussion channel in the discord as well.

When can I play it? Why can’t I wishlist it?
First of all, while I’ve designed a great chunk of the game, I’m not sure of the timeline as I also need to make it. Work has begun but it will be slow. It will certainly not be in a playable state before a couple of years. There’s a lot of work to be done, and when I have at least some material, I’ll certainly consider making a “coming soon” page on steam. But for now it would just be counter-productive. Moreover, this is still a hobby project. It is certainly not coming out before early 2024. As I develop the game, I will know more of a realistic release date. It is still a hobby project I do in my spare time (which is unfortunately less and less, lately), so please be patient.

Will it be free?
I honestly don’t know. On one hand, I’d love to. On the other hand, I’d love to produce it as professionally as I can (which means expenses. A lot of them.). Ultimately I will assess during development (and towards the end of it) the quality of the game. Generally, I think that if the game will suck (hey, it is still possible!) I may scrap it entirely or release it for free, if I think it’s meh I’ll be making it a free game, and if I think it’s something I’d like to play, I’ll be having some expenses for proper polishing and then I will probably ask for few euros. It is too early to tell.

Which genre is it?
It will be my personal spin on hacking games. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Uplink so it will certainly take some gameplay elements from it. I want to make it fairly realistic while making it easy to play as much as possible (so for now I’m trying to find alternatives to using a terminal even when you’d use it for real world software such as nmap, by designing custom UIs and imagining some kind of visual software that runs them. Something like that).

What’s the story? Is it “canon” Untrusted lore?
It will be a prequel set before NETSEC has been established, while AGENT is already a reality. You will learn more about the Untrusted universe and you will meet some characters you may have already encountered so far.

Can I help?
Yes! I’ve added a form for Untrusted supporters. I’ve received a lot of support and a lot of enthusiasm when discussing lore in our discord ( join it! ) and I want to give the chance to those of you who are invested in the game (and that have shown your support by purchasing supporter packs) to leave your mark on the game, making it canon, and being credited for it, if you choose to. Make sure to read the guidelines below if you want to help! I chose to allow only Untrusted supporters as to weed out trolls quickly (I have to manually review all submitted content) and besides, those of you who donated are generally well invested into the game, so I think giving you the chance to leave your mark into the untrusted lore is a nice additional “perk”, for those who care about it 🙂

Submissions guidelines

The game will involve the player into hacking into multiple servers and emails. Some of those, will be quest-related content, and I believe part of the immersion into an hacking game is reading believable text. If I was to create few random emails template to be filled, the player would get bored very quickly and would not be invested into actually breaking into an email inbox and actually looking for the information they need. I understand this is very vague, but hopefully it will give you just the necessary insights as to why I’m looking for external writers. Having content (even if just cosmetic and with no gameplay value) written by multiple people in a different style, will make the game more difficult, fun and immersive, in my opinion.

Please keep in mind, whenever writing content, that the untrusted prequel is set in a world where:

  • NETSEC has not yet been established.
  • AGENT has already been established.
  • Dystopian governments tend to overcontrol access to the internet.
  • The game will be fairly realistic in terms of hacking mechanics, so please avoid gibberish mumbo jumbo.
  • Not everyone in the world of Untrusted is a hacker
  • I may or may not be using your submissions. Please understand this is done on a voluntary basis and I may have to discard or edit content based on gameplay and story needs. Additionally, please keep in mind to read the terms and conditions before submitting, as you will be effectively transferring to me all rights on your generated content.

In order to submit a submission, you must have purchased at least one Untrusted supporter pack. If you did, you will see a new Icon just after login: simply click it to start entering your submissions!

Submission types
There are two main type of submissions, emails and news.

Emails are going to be read by the player either in their inbox or into other NPCs mail inboxes.

News are going to be shown to the player into a “newsfeed” type application.

If you pick “email”, you have the option to add up to 6 total email (as a back and forth between the two recipients) and they will all be in the form of alternating recipients. Make sure to maintain the same tone and writing style coherent for all recipients (for example, if a recipient writes with a lot of grammar mistake in their first email, it is likely they will have to make mistakes in their second one, and so on).

If you pick “news”, you will only have to write a subject and text of a specific news. When writing news, make sure to use a neutral and “journalistic” tone if possible.

You will have to select between the following types:

  • Personal Email: Use this to discuss anything personal in the life of the subject. It could anything, from a purchase receipt, to schedule a pizza dinner with a friend, and so on.
  • Criminal Email: Use this to discuss something criminal between the recipients. It could be anything, not necessarily related to cybercrime. For example, someone asking for a ransomware payment, or a drug deal.
  • AGENT Email: Use this (and word it accordingly) to discuss AGENT matters between AGENTS. It has to be considered something not available to the public.
  • Spam Email: Have fun with this! Maybe the son of deposed king of Nigeria is asking for help. And we all know that when the deposed king of Nigeria asks for help, you help!
  • News (technology related): Any technology-related news. Keep it realistic and generic (e.g. a shortage in GPU, perhaps?)
  • News (AGENT related): Any AGENT related public news (e.g. a successful sting operation)
  • News (crime event): Any crime (not necessarily cybercrime) related news (e.g. a ransomware attack against a hospital, perhaps?)
  • News (generic event): Have fun with this! Any other news you can think of

Use the tag input field!
Do you need to tell a complex story? Make sure to use the same tag so I know they are connected. Tags can be added as comma separated value.

Use text aware content
You can use text aware tags in your content, so that the game will substitute in game with the proper content. You can use the below tags at this moment:

#NAME_A# – real name of the thread starter (mail only)
#NAME_B# – real name of the recipient (mail only)
#SURNAME_A# – real surname of the thread starter (mail only)
#SURNAME_B# – real surname of the recipient (mail only)
#NICKNAME_A# – nickname of the thread starter (mail only)
#NICKNAME_B# – nickname of the recipient (mail only)
#EMAIL_A# – email of the thread starter (mail only)
#EMAIL_B# – email of the recipient (mail only)
#IP# – IP address of interest (mail only)
#YESTERDAY# – Today’s date -1 day
#TODAY#– Today’s date
#TOMORROW# – Tomorrow’s date
#INAWEEK# – Todays date +1 week
#INAMONTH# – Todays date +1 month

Do not forget the checkbox!
If you want to get credited, please check the proper checkbox. In the future I will reach out to people to know how they want to be credited, but I need to store your decision at the moment of submission.

That’s it!
Thank you everyone who supported Untrusted so far – I hope you appreciate this little perk and chance to leave your mark into the untrusted world! See you in an OPSEC soon!