Assange ‘Em Up: First Look at Disrupt

I am a bit of a sucker for games that make me feel like a ninetiesesque hack ninja with florescent fingerless gloves, a RECKLESS disregard for meatspace, someone with USBs instead of toenails, cameras instead of eyeballs… drools… Lekë Dobruna is in the early stages of making a game called Disrupt enabling you to legitimately yell to your flatmates that you’ve just found a backdoor into the Chicago Police Department to erase silly Yez’s DUI.

Lekë Dobruna is based in Pristina, Kosovo, and in his game Disrupt you take the role of a hacker who has gained access into a secret governmental Operating System, allowing you to play the role of Big Brother and control the main infrastructures of cities. He knocked together some very very early demo footage of his game for me here:

I asked Lekë if his game is in any way influenced by Uplink, and he said it was a “big influence,” along with “movies like Die Hard 4 and Track Down”. He said in his email:

In Disrupt you take the role of a hacker in a very vast and rich environment. The player manages to gain access into a governmental operating system, which he will use throughout the game. The operating system gives the player backdoors into servers, making it easier to hack secure mainframes and servers such as local police department, medical center, academic, electric servers etc., giving the player the ability to mess with peoples life’s if he so desires. The player can also use this operating system for his own personal gain, doing side-missions in order to have money to upgrade the hardware. There will also be a story-line intact, giving the player something engaging to do and investigate while still having the options to still interact with the cyber infrastructure. The main and final point that the game tries to get to at the end will be ‘If you had the power to the flow of information, would you use it for personal gain or share it with the world?”. Decisions that we make throughout the game, such as what type of side-missions we decide to take-on, will affect your reputation and the way the environment interacts back with you.

Also I’m very excited about the modding abilities that will be bundled in the game, including an built-in editor, allowing the player to create their own content and stories for the game, including new characters, new cities, new servers, new missions etc.

The game promises to have you be able to upgrade your in-game hardware and download the newest in-game software in order stay one step ahead of your enemies, and you must travel from one city to another to avoid local police departments from detaining you.

You can track Lekë Dobruna’s progress with this game here, at his dev log. He has apologised to me about his lack of a Britney Spears soundtrack.

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Top comments

  1. hemmingjay says:

    There is a lot of potential here. Some fresh ideas and you can tell he is still open minded about gameplay. If he can avoid the pitfalls of Robert Muresan who honestly believes his hacking games are so good that he can't hear the public complain.
    I like the idea that someone is creating Uplink but with more depth. Showing us more of the world we are in and the effects our actions have on the public is a wonderful idea. I am excited to see where he takes this.
  1. Premium User Badge

    lowprices says:

    I can’t tell if Die Hard 4 being an influence is a bad thing or a terrible thing, but this looks good. Also, thanks for reminding me I still need to play Uplink.

    • InnerPartisan says:

      Yes, you most definitely need to play Uplink. (So does everyone else, incidentally.)

  2. tnzk says:

    I need to travel from city to city when I play this game?

    Awesome, suppose getting out of the house will do me some good.

  3. Mbaya says:

    Ooh, looks lovely…seems a bit like a thinking man’s indie Watch Dogs almost! Lovely interface…and I’m very partial to a game that makes me believe, for a short time, that I am far smarter than I actually am (a rather easy task, I shall admit – I still get a little thrill from picking locks in the simplest of minigames).

    Also it reminded me, wasn’t there a writer from this very site or one of the ole PCG crew that used to disconnect from the internet whenever they played Uplink out of fear they’d actually do something bad in the real world?

    Disappointing to hear there’s no Britney soundtrack though…maybe you can hack a record company?

    Has anyone attempted to make a game like this or Uplink with a multiplayer component? Seems great potential for an Eve like game in scope that can be manipulated by rival hacker groups (well, fake ones…not the ones that make us change our passwords every other week).

    • lordcooper says:

      link to

      I haven’t played in ages, but it kept me reasonably entertained for a while.

      • AshEnke says:

        I’m intrigued, is it good ? How does it compare to Uplink ? Is the multiplayer content interesting and balanced (and mandatory) ?

        I’ll try this as soon as I get home !

      • Mbaya says:

        Seems interesting! Thanks for sharing the link.

  4. Danda says:

    Sounds really interesting. But will it deliver?

  5. Dingbatwhirr says:

    I tried playing Uplink once, but I couldn’t hack it…

  6. kwyjibo says:

    I’d say this was more of a Snowden Simulator than an Assange ‘em up. They both end up stranded in diplomatic limbo though.

  7. S Jay says:

    Really promising.

    I hope there is a configuration to fix the impossibly small fonts without using most of the screen real estate.

  8. hemmingjay says:

    There is a lot of potential here. Some fresh ideas and you can tell he is still open minded about gameplay. If he can avoid the pitfalls of Robert Muresan who honestly believes his hacking games are so good that he can’t hear the public complain.
    I like the idea that someone is creating Uplink but with more depth. Showing us more of the world we are in and the effects our actions have on the public is a wonderful idea. I am excited to see where he takes this.

  9. cloudnein says:

    Yes, I love the volume options menu preview. I am so gonna BUY. I just pray to the designer to not remove the volume options menu in the full release! I am sure there are hours of entertainment value there.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    FYI, worth noting that this probably isn’t going to be the actual game soundtrack, unless he’s really managed to get the rights to the Way Out West song he’s using. But, it’s a good choice for a trailer vid. Especially since YouTube doesn’t content-match their songs at all. (I’ve used them too.)

    Regarding the game: I’m torn. On the one hand, it doesn’t seem like this is going to give us a whole lot more than Uplink already did. On the other hand … yay, a new Uplink-y game! (Plus, more typing, which I like.) And one can hope that they’ll improve on the formula.

  11. IvegotanAtariST says:

    …flowered for him, fluid neon origami trick, the unfolding of his
    distanceless home, his country, transparent 3D chessboard extending to
    infinity. Inner eye opening to the stepped scarlet pyramid of the
    Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority burning beyond the green cubes of
    Mitsubishi Bank of America, and high and very far away he saw the
    spiral arms of military systems, forever beyond his reach.

    I know it’s only been 30 years but did anything like this ever happen in a game?

  12. The Random One says:

    One of these days I’m going to make a hacking game that’s entirely about social engineering, trying to get costumer support to reset people’s passwords and send them to your email and guessing their password from leaked 4chan pastebins.

  13. spartan117au says:

    This look really good! I like that it is essentially a mini-indie watch dogs. However, and i do know this is an alpha, there is too much empty space on the UI and it looks really easy. Perhaps they could add a minigame in all that space when you hack stuff? I do like the console though, it looks alot like the real thing and runs really similarly to an actual Linux pen testing distro like Kali or Backtrack.

  14. Devan says:

    I haven’t ever played one of these types of games, but if I came across one with enough realism then I’d love to have a go.

    This one seems to have potential, but I hope that the final version will have a lot more emphasis on the actual hacking rather than just an “Intercept login” button. I’d love it if it taught and required the knowledge of network protocols and actual penetration methods rather than minigame (or worse, nothing at all). Also, it should require a lot more electronic stealth as far as cleaning up after yourself (clearing your activity from any logs, modifying the metadata of the files you change so people don’t wonder “hmm, why was this medical record updated at 2:48 AM?” etc.)

    Also, the tools in use seem over-simplified in this demonstration (and I know it’s early). Hopefully there will be more to your firewall than turning it on and off :P

    This could be a great educational tool as well as a fun game. Perhaps if it goes for full authenticity and then has simplified processes for easier difficulty levels, it could achieve that and still be fun for those without deep networking & infiltration knowledge, and without the desire to learn it.

  15. muskieratboi says:

    …It’s Uplink 2.

    *eyes light up*


    Now wouldn’t be a better time for a new Hollywood Hacking simulator updated for the WikiLeaks age.
    Where can I preorder this?!

  16. engion3 says:

    I’m not going to jail for YOU or for anybody!