X: Rise Up

In November 2009, Smoking Gun Interactive launched a trans-media experience that would conclude with the world’s first use of extra-planetary communications as part of a videogame.The “X” experience began with an online preview of a graphic novel, penned by best-selling author Douglas Rushkoff. The graphic novel followed the story of a small group of US soldiers as they explored an ancient underground temple, leading to a strange encounter and the disappearance of one of the men. In the aftermath of that initial encounter, the reader was led deeper into a world of conspiracy, real-world mysteries, and ancient mythology come to life. This is the “X” universe.

Stumbling into a rabbit hole hidden within the graphic novel, the reader found that they were able to actually enter the universe inhabited by the story’s characters. As they probed their way towards the core of the Resistance “Darknet”, readers actually became players, and participants in the story as they found themselves in the midst of a desperate Resistance effort to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of a NASA scientist. Digging deeper into the NASA lockdown from the novel, the players took on the role of Resistance operatives all working together to unfold a mystery that could shake the foundations of civilization.

Following a trail of cryptic clues, players hack into government surveillance systems, rendering themselves anonymous and untraceable. Then, turning the tables, they used these same surveillance programs to hunt down the missing scientist. Scanning communication intercepts and hacking into government networks, they began unraveling something much broader - a globe-spanning conspiracy dating back thousands of years – a conspiracy directed from the heart of the five modern city-states that exist in the world today, each with an obelisk at its heart.

Attracting the attention of a powerful outsider, the player is given the keys to secret military network warfare technology, and given a promise – if the Resistance can work together to build a global network, they will be able to finish what Gideon had set out to accomplish.

For several weeks, the players around the globe worked together as part of the Resistance. They fought to seize control over local satellite ground stations and relay satellites, ultimately building the Darknet into a powerful globe-spanning presence. When this work was finally done, they were able to take control of a satellite orbiting the moon, and make contact with a presence that had lay hidden there since the days of the Apollo project.

It was this presence that Gideon had discovered, a discovery which he paid for with his life. Those who were on the moon were ready to reveal the truth to “everybody” – in a series of real broadcasts from the moon to the earth. These moon communications were picked up by Ham Radio operators around the globe, and the message they received carried the climactic revelations of the first chapter of our journey into the “X” universe: History is a lie, written by an ancient enemy who walks among us – an enemy that controls every great power on earth. With this warning came the ancient prophecy: From Our Bones will Arise an Avenger. From Our War will Arise the Truth.

GRAPHIC NOVEL: exoriare.com

ARG: arg.exoriare.com