Neuromancer’s William Gibson On MEG 9: Lost Echoes

You know how sometimes you find yourself thinking “I wonder what William Gibson, author of Neuromancer is doing right now?” I think about that a lot. I like Gibson, with a kind of territorial hometown pride that can only be felt by a fellow Canadian who will adopt all Vancouverite celebrities as unofficial family; so when someone on Twitter pointed out to me that he’s been hired to help a little games studio called Skunkwerks Kinetic, I feel like I should tell you with the pride of a sort of beaming pretend half-cousin.

Anyway, it turns out that he’s been quietly working on the setting for a game called MEG 9: Lost Echoes [official site], which just hit Steam Greenlight.

The game takes place largely within a dimensional tear discovered by your employer, a multinational corporation called Quantum Multiphasics who I can probably rightly assume are secretly mega evil. Remotely piloting an upgradeable rig, your role is to explore a high-tech complex that’s mysteriously gone dark and is now infested with these weird bio-mechanical bug things. You also basically get a robot dog.

Skunkwerks Kinetic plan to launch MEG 9 into Steam Early Access later this year. It’s still early days, but have a look:

31 Comments

  1. gunny1993 says:

    Well, I wasn’t expecting that to be like some weird cross between a car shooter and a tower defense. Have to wait and see on this one.

  2. Kempston Wiggler says:

    The Battlezone remake of my dreams!

    This looks incredible. I do love a bit of well-delivered sci-fi. and those walkers pictured above are clearly patterned after the US military’s BigDog robot, which is an incredible thing to see if you haven’t already.

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      Reminds me a touch of Hostile Waters now as well, which is no bad thing. That also had a supremo writer involved, the incomparable Warren Ellis.

  3. Dawngreeter says:

    This will probably be the first game that I buy in early access. Hell, if there was a “buy” button in the middle of this text, right after Gibson’s Name, I’d click it and then try and figure out what it is that I bought.

    …and now that I’ve seen the trailer it’s not at all what I would’ve expected. Which might be good!

    • frozbite says:

      I wish i had your enthusiasm. I rly like Gibson, but… Burning Chrome collection was awesome, Neuromancer was awesome, Count Zero was actually good… and that’s all. Mona Lisa left nothing memorable after reading (recently i decided to reread Sprawl trilogy, skiped Neuromancer*, pushed myself more or less seamlessly through Count Zero, and totally stucked after few chapters of Mona Lisa. Some time ago i’ve read Virtual Light, and it was the end for Bridge trilogy for me, and Pattern Recognition, that become my “bye-bye” to all following Gibson’s writings.

      I’d like to see good’ol Gibson from times of Burning chrome and Neuromancer helps game developers, but todays Gibson is nothing but a shadow.

      *Neuromancer is may be my number 1 book of all times, i’ve read it about 5-6 times in my native language (Russian), few in original and even found and read script for upcoming movie.

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        Hmmm interesting… I got onto WG originally through Neuromancer & the Bridge trilogy, which are amazing, but I had the opposite reaction to Pattern Recognition – I would say the almost-current-day specfic was where he really hit his stride. Something about having the world I know (more-or-less) described with Gibson’s SF texture really appeals.

        That said, if you haven’t already you might want to check out his latest, ‘The Peripheral’, being a return to “proper” scifi, while still benefiting from the extra maturity in his writing. Bit more thematic devilry going on than the early stuff too – in a way the story is about SF itself, I reckon.

        • jeeger says:

          Yep, I really like his “near-contemporary” writing as well. Reminds me a bit of Pynchon, with his paranoia and conspiracy theories.

  4. eightohnine says:

    I’m always super-wary of “In collaboration with “-projects. More often than not the collaboration part amounts to nothing more than said person sitting in a room with the devs and listening to a bunch of their ideas and commenting on them. But actually having notable influence on the core mechanics is highly unlikely. He may be able to add polish to a storyline or setting, but when the gameplay is of such a generic shooty-drivey-variety as shown in the video, then my interest remains unpiqued.

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      Tam-Lin says:

      That’s not a bad thing. He’s a writer, not a game designer. As long as he’s involved early enough to actually influence the story, I’d say he’s doing what he should be.

  5. Wowbagger says:

    I wonder what Mr Gibson’s actual involvement is? it looks pretty good but the concept leaves me somewhat cold.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I would be astonished and surprised if his involvement was significant, in terms of the sheer size of his contribution. What most likely happened is, he was contracted to put together a basic premise of the game, do some light world building and lay out important plot points for the campaign.

      Which is still pretty awesome. But I am really, really very far from being objective on anything regarding Gibson.

  6. Rath says:

    Got a bit of a Mass Effect vibe toward the end there; fending off waves of Rachni on Nepmos when you have to choose whether to link the Mako to the turrets to power them, or use the Mako in the traditional roving-blastery sense.

  7. nottorp says:

    Sorry, but if i am to judge by that movie Gibson’s name is just a cash grab. Just some generic shooter with vehicles.

  8. Simbosan says:

    Given that he’s written meandering waffle since his early days, I wouldn’t consider his involvement any great deal

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      That’s the spirit! Can’t have people being enthusiastic about something you don’t personally approve of on your watch! After all, there’s only so many pixels to go around, and they would be better spent in praise of some more worthy thing, or better yet, in condemnation!

  9. merbert says:

    You’re kidding me…..right….???

    This ;…….

    The game takes place largely within a dimensional tear discovered by your employer, a multinational corporation called Quantum Multiphasics who I can probably rightly assume are secretly mega evil. Remotely piloting an upgradeable rig, your role is to explore a high-tech complex that’s mysteriously gone dark and is now infested with these weird bio-mechanical bug things. You also basically get a robot dog…..

    …..is essentially the plot of Half Life 2…..

    And these people “collaborated” (read: paid) with William Gibson to come up with this???

    WTF??!!

    Seriously?!

    • jezcentral says:

      The plot of Half-Life 2?

      Considering the resemblance to the Hunters in Episode 2, and the fact the screenshot is set in a snowy landscape, like maybe the Arctic, I’m tempted to say it might resemble the plot of Half-Life 3. :)

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      Apart from the robot dog element, what about this is like the plot of Half Life 2, wtf, seriously?

      • merbert says:

        Ehhh….how about the following…..

        1. a dimensional tear
        2. a multinational corporation that are secretly mega evil
        3. an upgradeable rig (your suit)
        4. your role is to explore a high-tech complex that’s mysteriously gone dark and is now infested with these weird bio-mechanical bug things – Black Mesa

        How did you miss these similarities??!

        The game takes place largely within a dimensional tear discovered by your employer, a multinational corporation called Quantum Multiphasics who I can probably rightly assume are secretly mega evil. Remotely piloting an upgradeable rig, your role is to explore a high-tech complex that’s mysteriously gone dark and is now infested with these weird bio-mechanical bug things

        • skittles says:

          1. a dimensional tear
          2. a multinational corporation that are secretly mega evil
          3. an upgradeable rig (your suit)
          4. your role is to explore a high-tech complex that’s mysteriously gone dark and is now infested with these weird bio-mechanical bug things – Black Mesa

          Well okay:

          1. A very normal plot device. And you don’t travel through any except in the original H-L.
          2. Along with virtually every cyberpunk story ever made. But yeah must be Black Mesa inspired.
          3. Is not in H-L. Your suit was not upgradable, it was used as a pretty standard FPS armor mechanic and that was it.
          4. Black Mesa again with 50,000 other stories. Another very ordinary plot device.

          So in all we established that this game uses some pretty common plot devices that share passing similarity with H-L. Oh my cranium, it’s a ripoff! If you had argued that the plot was pretty generic I would have agreed. However it will all depend on the meat and potatoes of the plot, what it is filled with. I think there is plenty of room for the story to delve into and discuss some interesting stuff. Corruption, and the use of drone technology for starters. Whether it becomes an awesome cerebral plot, or remains a generic outline with little meat, remains to be seen.

  10. Fitzmogwai says:

    Hmmm… anyone remember Cholo from back in the day?

  11. Risingson says:

    You know that after Neuromancer William Gibson did quite a lot of things, don’t you? You know that he is now writing cyberpunk-like books but based in the present time as the brilliant, masterful Pattern Recognition, don’t you? And call the later novels as “meandering” is just not going too deeply in the analysis.

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      Harlander says:

      He’s finished the trilogy with Pattern Recognition in it, the Bigend trilogy, and now.. well, I dunno if his most recent book, The Peripheral, is going to be part of another linked trilogy, but it’s mixed alternate-near-future and.. uh.. somewhat less near future?

  12. totem42 says:

    I’ll green light this simply for Gibson, who still can knock out a good story (and is an entertaining twitterer). The bigger question is: will it meet the bar of Starship Titanic? The 8 Best PC Games with a Living Author Vaguely Involved In the Production list is going to be a controversial one, for sure.

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      phuzz says:

      But who are we counting as the author of Starship Titanic? Douglas Adams was supposed to write it, but apparently Terry Jones ended up finishing it off for him.

      Other notable games/writer collaborations:
      Warren Ellis – Hostile Waters
      Clive Barker’s Undying

  13. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    I wonder who is narrating the trailer. Sounds sort of like Erin Fitzgerald.

  14. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Quantum Multiphasics? Whatever happened to mashing European and Asian names together to name an evil conglomerate?

  15. alms says:

    Well he was pretty active on Twitter last time I checked (which is a long-ish time ago). Actually one of the most interesting accounts I was following, to be fair.