Sigma Theory: Global Cold War is an espionage thriller game developed and published by Mi-Clos Studio (whose previous credits include Out There), and released for the PC through Steam Early Access on April 18, 2019.
In the near future, a paradigm-shifting scientific discovery looms over the world, promising radical new technologies. The worlds superpowers realize they could have the power to destroy the global financial system, wipe out entire countries or even gain access to immortality. However, this discovery called The Sigma Theory can only be harnessed by a handful of scientists. You are placed at the head of your countrys Sigma division. Your objective is to ensure that it is your nation that reaps the benefits of Sigma Theory before anyone else. To achieve this you will have powerful resources at your disposal: a cadre of the worlds most elite covert agents, advanced tactical drones and, of course, your own skills in diplomacy and subterfuge.
Sigma Theory contains examples of:
- Baleful Polymorph: One possible event is a scientist asking for your permission to leave to experiment with animals for a few days; if you give them carte blanche, the scientist becomes Agent Wolf, a human-dog hybrid that appears more beast than human.
- Battle Couple: At the start of a run, the player can choose their spouse, all of which are possible agents.
- Blood Knight: Some Agents have Traits such as "Nag", which means they'll never factor in collateral damage, or "Bloodthirsty", which means they'll always prefer an option involving killing than a peaceful path. One agent that always begins with both of these is Shiva, a former Wild Child meant as a sacrifice to Kali.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: One of the technologies that can be developed while researching Sigma Theory, if specializing in Neuroscience, is capable of brainwashing captured agents.
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Most of the gameplay is making decisions, whether it's dealing with a diplomat in order to exchange resources, or providing suggestions to an agent escaping enemy territory.
- Code Name: All of the agents in the game have one, usually giving a hint as to their specialty (ex. "Robber" is good at infiltration and exfiltration, while "Banker" is more suited for bribing and other monetary exchanges).
- Continuing Is Painful: If the Doomsday Clock is about to strike midnight, it's possible to smooth things over with your country's greatest rival and set it back a few ticks...by giving them a copy of all your Sigma Theory research, instantly granting them any benefits you had access to, and possibly bringing them closer to the ultimate research than yourself.
- Continuity Nod: Upon completing the ultimate Sigma Theory research, the player proclaims that they will be "both judge and architect," a reference to the Judge-Architects of Out There
- Deity of Human Origin: Upon completing the ultimate Sigma Theory research, a machine turns the player into this.
- Doomsday Clock: The state of the world is tracked by one, and if international conflict (not just the player's actions) causes it to strike midnight, it's game over.
- Double Agent: It's possible to convert researchers in enemy territories to your side, slowing down their research into Sigma Theory while advancing your own, though they will break ties if contact isn't made with their converter regularly. However, it's possible for the enemy to do this to the player's scientists as well, and your agents might outright leave and start working against you if a rival makes enough progress with their own research.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The player chooses their name and gender at the start of the run.
- Humans Are Insects: How the player can see things at the end of the game after ascending, at least in one possible outcome.
- Impossible Genius: Sigma Theory research is only possible because of a limited number of scientists of different fields possessing this, which the player must coerce to their side to win.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Captured agents can divulge information if handled properly, with methods ranging from "light interrogation" to "waterboarding".
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In one ending, upon attaining godhood and judging the rest of humanity unworthy, the player wipes all memory and evidence of all Sigma Theory research from the world, before going off to start new civilizations unopposed elsewhere in the cosmos.
- Macrogame: When first playing the game, there are only a few available Agents the player can choose to start with. However, by making progress and accomplishing certain milestones, new agents will become available for future runs.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on the state of world affairs at the end of a run, and also how well the player handled things, the outcome of completing research into Sigma Theory may be different.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: The player can only have one Agent with the "Elite" Trait at any time.
- Old Master: Agent Saint is a 90-year-old Brahmin with a black belt and the verve of a man half his age.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: While the agents might have to deal with people who prefer dealing with certain genders, the player's own gender only influences their options for a spouse.
- Skill Scores and Perks: Every agent has a Strength score, an Intelligence score, and a variety of different Traits that can positively or negatively affect specific tasks. Though agents cannot level-up, a player's actions during a run might change the Traits an agent has.
- The Spymaster: The role the player assumes in the game.
- Tech Tree: A limited variant. Sigma Theory research is divided into five fields: Neuroscience, Health, Finance, Robotics, and Astrophysics. Each Tech of a field is learned in a set sequence, with each subsequent Tech being worth one more Sigma Point than the last. When a total of fifteen Sigma Points are gained, the ultimate Sigma Theory discovery becomes available to research, requiring one specialist of each field to complete in reasonable time.
- Tuckerization: Agent Domingo is based on and named after a French video game streamer that had covered the game and provided good publicity.
- Wild Child: Agent Shiva was one, growing up in the wild after being abandoned in a temple.