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Dr. Lao and Regis, Latha and her Trance alter-ego Mandala

A jobless agoraphobe, addicted to the man-made worlds of a distant descendant of the internet, has become targeted for assassination by forces beyond her understanding. With nobody she could really call an enemy or a friend, she must face the dangers of reality, and survive a conspiracy that has invisibly ruled her entire life.

An agent of the city's all-seeing secret police finds himself blackmailed with the lives of the unborn children of his long-dead wife. Pushed to the limits by his deceit and his past, how far is he willing to go to save his legacy?
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Technobabylon is a Cyberpunk point-and-click adventure game, developed by Technocrat Games and published by Wadjet Eye Games, and released in May 2015. Taking place in the year 2087 in futuristic city of Newton, the game follows three protagonists, and from their perspectives the player gets a view of their society and how technology has altered the way people live and think.

The first playable character is the unemployed and agoraphobic Latha, who seems jaded with real life and prefers mentally escaping to the online world of Trance. When an explosion in her apartment complex nearly kills her, she is forced to leave her sanctuary and try to figure out who's after her and why.

The second protagonist is world-weary, technophobic Doctor Charlie Regis, an experienced agent for city's police force, CEL, which is the extended arm of Central, the A.I. responsible for controlling the city. Central assigns Regis and his work partner the case involving an outlandish Serial Killer known as "the Mindjacker" for his reputation of ripping all of his victims' information directly from their brains, killing them in the process. Faced with blackmail and deception as he investigates, Regis soon finds himself embroiled in a strange case of cloak and daggers in Newton's seedy underworld, and even Central doesn't appear to be entirely on the level any more.

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Then there's Dr Max Lao, Regis's younger, headstrong and more optimistic partner in CEL. Max is the technology and computing expert, embracing technology and keeping up to date with it, contrasting with Regis. Despite Regis's reputation for being difficult to work with, he and Max get along quite well and have developed a mutual trust and respect for each other. When Regis lands himself in trouble, Max takes it upon herself to find out the truth and help him out.

Formerly an episodic freeware series for its first three parts (of what was originally planned to be eleven), the game was adapted into a full-length adventure by Technocrat Games and published by Wadjet Eye Games in 2015, adding to their sci-fi collection that includes Primordia and Gemini Rue.

It was announced in February 2019, that a sequel, Technobabylon: Birthright, is in development. The sequel will feature full-on 3D graphics, rather than 2D ones, giving it the distinction of being the first Wadjet Eye release to make the jump to the third dimension.

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This series provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The subway bomber is is a product of gengineering, having been designed to produce nitrates in his bones which make him a living bomb. It's terrible for his health, of course, since nitrate-filled bones are pretty weak, but he wasn't designed with longevity in mind. The restaurant bomber is another one of these. Worse, Regis was the one to create many of them during his time working for the warlords in Texas.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Downplayed. Central is coldly logical and pragmatic, which often makes some of its actions seems morally ambiguous at best and outright cruel at worst. Another issue is, as explained by a member of the City Council who is in on the conspiracy to take down Central, is that Central, while supposed to be a neutral entity that obeys the wishes of the democratically-elected Council, has developed it own opinions on governing over time, which causes some problems with its usefulness as a controller of the city. The problem isn't that Central is disobeying or attempting to subvert the orders the Council gives it, because its programming effectively prevents it from this, but rather that it has taken to deliberately delay and stall the implementation of certain policies and edicts for as long as possible.
  • Allegedly Free Game: In-universe example with the Laser-Paper-Stone mini-game on Regis and Lao's Travelers. Essentially a rock-paper-scissors clone, the player has a limited number of moves and has to pay money to keep playing once it runs out. Either that, or wait exactly 1000 seconds (which counts down in real game time) to keep playing.
    "T.H.E. Games: World Leaders in "Free" to Play since 2055"
  • Ambiguously Bi:
  • Ambiguously Brown: Latha, Justified due to having South Asian mother and Caucasian father (Regis). Also Galatea, since she and Latha were cloned from the same embryo. This helps Galatea pass for the daughter of the Argentinian Dr. Vargas.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: A series of flashback sequences has you playing as Regis' dead wife, Vicky.
  • Animesque: The Trance world.
  • Asshole Victim: One of the victims of the Mindjacker is Adam Baxter, former colleague of Regis and Vicky's murderer. No one expresses any amount of grief over his murder, and one person who knew him even remarks that she's glad he's dead. Galatea also meets a horrible fate in one of the endings, but seeing as how all the bad things during the game were more-or-less her fault...
    • Ran Shu-Man is innocent in the restaurant scene, but he's generally insufferable and hugely corrupt. You can finger him instead of the actual murderer, a generally more sympathetic personality whose crime had some pretty awful people as the targets. Nobody bats an eyelid if you do and Ran gets unceremoniously tossed out the window, to no ill consequences on the plot.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The Mindjacker has specialized wetware that allows him to download a person's mind and store it in his own until he can offload the data later. Doing this to Adam Baxter causes him to be infected by Baxter's malice toward Regis.
  • Barefoot Poverty: Latha wears cheap blue overalls with no shoes, a fact lampshaded twice. At the end of the game, Lao even mentions that they should get her to a hospital, considering how she's been walking around for a day with no footwear. Latha notes that she shut off her pain receptors to deal with it.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The omnipresent Central can access and monitor virtually everything in Newton. Apparently, other cities have implemented similar systems, such as Archimedes in many Eurofed cities, although Central is much more sophisticated.
  • Biopunk: The field of Gengineering allows for easy manipulation of organisms' genes to create new species. Many of the characters' jobs involve altering existing plants and animals on a commercial scale. There also exists a restaurant that serves cloned human flesh. Also, there are organic nanomachines called "wetware" are used for many different purposes. While running away after being framed for Baxter's murder, Regis uses his gengineering skills to leave Lao a hidden message in the DNA of several plants. Unlike most computing, the encoding here is quaternary, not binary (it uses the four nucleobases as "bits" rather than 1s and 0s).
  • Body Horror: The suicide bomber, who needs to walk around on crutches and suffers numerous health problems because he's been biologically engineered to grow explosives in his bones, his body producing nitrates instead of calcium. He's but one of many, all built the same.
  • Body Surf: Thanks to a CI-Splitter program that can extract AIs from where they're installed, Geil van der Waal's Cheffie goes from a food processing unit, to a synthetic french maid, to an armor-piercing turret over the course of the game.
    • At one point during the restaurant murder mystery, Liam Stepford gets fried by a magnetic field, only for Regis to use the CI-Splitter to extract his AI and implant it into a security guard, after which he wanders off and returns in a backup Stepford body.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: At one point, you have to access a computer locked with a palm-print. The owner is already dead and in numerous pieces, so getting his hand is easy. However, the scanner is sophisticated enough to tell living flesh from dead flesh despite its age, so you need to figure out how to fool the scanner into thinking the severed appendage is alive.
  • Brain–Computer Interface: Rather than a mechanical plug, people join other systems by coating them in their own organic wetware to establish a connection.
  • Brain Uploading: Carried out against his victims' wills by the Mindjacker, and kills their bodies.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Councilman Deane because of the Governor chip installed in his head. However, he is quite skilled at wording his statements and answers in ways that makes them technically true, yet at the same time misleading.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The intern working at Vickerman Pharmaceutical Labs who speaks entirely in word salad. Eventually subverted when it turns out he's just afflicted with aphasia. Artificial, self-inflicted aphasia. And he's not too happy when you cure him of it.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Beating Domino in Gravball is practically a Luck-Based Mission due to the fact that not only does he hit the ball instantly (while Latha's swing has a wind-up animation), but he can hit it from nearly anywhere on his side of the court, even if it's behind him, while Latha can only hit it if it's directly in front of her. This is intentional; Domino is cheating by using drugs on his real body to amp up his reflexes, and you can sabotage him by drugging him with a sedative to make him sluggish. If you want the achievement, however, you have to win fairly.
  • Crapsack World: The world of Technobabylon is not a nice place, and that's coming from the perspective of one of the nicest places in it. Genetic engineering allows suicide bombers to be designed from birth as living explosives. There have apparently been multiple nuclear strikes all over the globe. America has degenerated into warring factions. Even in Newton, where personal liberties are respected and the government tries to provide for all its citizens, your rights can be stripped at a moment's notice if the government has even the slightest suspicion of you being a criminal.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: A lot of Latha's part of the game involves screwing over random people, destruction of public property, and destroying assistant AIs.
  • Cyberpunk: Though mixed with an undertone of Biopunk.
  • Cyberspace: Called "Trance" in the setting.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Regis. Even before his wife was murdered, he was forced by Texan warlords to biologically engineer child suicide bombers before he finally made it to Newton.
  • Destination Defenestration:
    • In their first scene, Regis and Lao bear witness to a poor janitor landing on the sidewalk after being chucked from the 24th floor by the Mindjacker.
    • Either Ran Shu-Man or Councilman Deane meet this fate at the restaurant, depending on which of the two you finger as the culprit.
  • Divided States of America: By the game's settings, the United States had been divided into warlord-controlled territories. Even Played for Laughs with the spams about Warlord of Oklahoma. It appears that the nuking of Washington, D.C., in 2031 was the catalyst. A news report mentions two of the more stable territories arguing over which of them gets to use the old Stars-and-Stripes flag at the upcoming Olympics.
  • Driven to Suicide: An older version of the game, before the plot was changed, has a random young woman, who decides to slit her wrists and hang herself from Regis' special tree.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe. When Vicky reveals to Nina that she's using her and Regis' embryos to create Central, Nina remarks that she's surprised at this turn of events since Regis' last kids had a tendency to blow up. Vicky is not amused.
  • One Degree of Separation: About the only major character who doesn't have some direct connection to Central (aside from just taking orders from her) is Lao. Even Latha turns out to have been made from the same batch of embryos that made Central, making them sisters of sorts.
  • Easter Egg: The VoIP function on computers have absolutely no meaningful function in the game, but there are dozens upon dozens of "wrong number" responses if the player just starts dialing in random numbers.
  • Easy Sex Change: Max Lao had this when she was 16. It is justified with sex changes having been made much easier and painless to perform through newer technology.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: In the Trance den, some of the patrons in the server are on the dance floor, repeating the same moves endlessly and never talking. This is somewhat problematic, as you have to figure out how to get them out of there so Latha and Jinsil and talk without any potential spies.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Regis came from there before joining CEL and creation of Central.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Regis, Vargas, Chigwa, Baxter, and Nina were all part of the same project to create Central.
  • Evil Twin: Galatea is this to Latha, given that they were both cloned from the same embryo. While Galatea may be considered a Well-Intentioned Extremist, she is perfectly willing to get her genetic sister killed in order to achieve her goals. Strangely enough, Latha and Galatea are voiced by different actresses, probably to keep The Reveal a secret.
  • Extinct in the Future: It's mentioned that tigers are extinct in 2087.
  • Far East: Based on the world map on the Trance Den terminal, it looks like all of East Asia is split between Russia, China, and something called the Greater Han Republic, although several other countries, like Japan and United Korea, are mentioned.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Just before the reveal that Latha is Regis' daughter, she's able to use his stun gun on him despite the genetic lock, which would require a close genetic match to work.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Plenty towards the fact that Jinsil is actually Nina Jeong. Most notably, their speech is in the same shade of magenta. There are also other hints, like the fact she tells Latha that is having some old friends over for dinner, and the next section has you playing as Regis meeting her and her co-conspirators in a restaurant, and that Latha correctly guesses that she is a scientist. All of that may explain the mispronounced Arabic.
    • There is also a news article that describes the process of cloning, which ends up being exactly how Nina and Vargas created the three extra embryos they needed to develop Central, with two of them being brought to term as Latha and Galatea.
  • For the Evulz: Ran Shou-Man is a completely unrepentant asshole who deeply enjoys being evil for the hell of it, even mentioning that he'd much rather be engaging in actual cannibalism — instead of the watered-down version where you only eat human meat from non-conscious purpose-grown bodies — because it would emphasise his power over the common folk.
  • Foster Kid: Latha was raised by the city as a refugee from a war-torn region. She meets a fellow "city kid" as one of the CEL corpsmen. He admits to have guessed that she was one too based on the fact that her last name (Sesame) is a plant. Apparently, it's common for "city kids" to receive nature-based last names. It turns out that she's not a refugee at all, but a lab-grown genetically-modified embryo, and is the genetic daughter of Charlie and Viksha Regis.
  • French Maid: A robotic one, no less.
  • Genius Bruiser: It's implied that every Case Specialist (read: detective) working for CEL is one, given that every one of them has the honorific "Doctor", while they've also undergone typical police training. In the case of Regis, he has a degree in gengineering, while his partner Lao is a tech expert.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: Particularly the end, where you have to choose between Central undergoing Grand Theft Me and going underground to help her sister fight against Nina or Central assisting her erstwhile foe in a Mind Probe of Central's own sister.
  • Grey Goo: Wetware occasionally multiplies out of control, in a small-scale version of this trope. A news article mentions the need to evacuate a school, when wetware being grown by some students turns into this trope. Since "grey goo" releases a lot of heat, many students had to be treated for burns, but not one got seriously hurt or killed. It's evidently common enough that firefighters are trained to deal with it.
  • Hate Plague: A localized variant, as when the Mindjacker rips Baxter's psyche, he's somehow infected by Baxter's decades of suppressed hatred for Regis, leaving him with an intense grudge against Regis for no good reason.
  • Hate Sink: Ran Shu-Man exists for no other reason than being a totally unrepentant asshole, so you don't feel bad if you choose to frame him for the restaurant bombing and he gets tossed out a window.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: At the start of the game, Baxter is being released from prison, despite his crimes, but fitted with a Governor in his body that will cause him to collapse and begin puking whenever he starts having negative, violent thoughts. Then, when Lao meets the Virtual Ghost of Baxter later in the game, he turns out to be a decent, pleasant person, since the Mindjacker has ripped out his vengeful feelings towards Regis, and even asks her to apologize on his behalf. Later, he tries to prevent Latha's mind from being destroyed in the finale.
  • He Knows Too Much: The janitor in the beginning is killed because he interrupted the Mindjacker.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: One of the endings has Regis lock himself in a 40-below room for four hours in order to save Latha. Fortunately, while he clearly intends to sacrifice himself doing so, CEL manages to save him.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Henry, the unfortunate waiter at the clone meat restaurant, is killed and replaced by an assassin disguised as him. Henry's corpse, meanwhile, gets hidden by hanging it on the meat rack in the kitchen amongst the clone bodies. Regis manages to see through the deception after the chef notes that all their clone bodies are brunettes, yet one of the bodies on the rack is blond.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Totally averted despite the Cyberpunk setting. All subversion of programs is helped by pre-written exploits, and one has to be delivered in an old-fashioned way (sticking a memory card in the thing).
  • I Have Your Wife: Regis is being blackmailed by someone holding him and Vicky's frozen embryos hostage, which both represents a threat against the his only chance of having children of his own and one of the last things he has left of Vicky. Both Regis and his blackmailer compare it to effectively keeping his legacy hostage.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Latha gets to complain that she is "a hacker, not a plumber!"
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Well, in a somewhat technical manner. Regis meets the people behind The Conspiracy in a fancy restaurant serving human meat... though he is assured that is only meat taken from brainless, fast-grown clones who where never actually alive, making it all perfectly legal. Regis is still understandably quite squicked out about the whole thing, especially when he has a look in the kitchen and sees partially cut-apart human bodies on display in the freezer.
    • Notably, Ran Shu-Man is disappointed to learn that the meat is from brainless clones, as he likes the idea of cannibalism being the ultimate symbol of the rich elites' utter power over the poor.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: When Regis is in an abandoned factory while on the run from CEL, he finds a years-old bottle of whiskey. The player is able to get him to take a drink, after which he remarks "I needed that."
  • Karma Houdini:
    • In the pro-Central ending, not only does Nina arrange a plea bargain to save herself from getting arrested for her attempts to hijack and alter Central, but she gets to experiment on Galatea in her efforts to create another AI with Central's consent.
    • Averted with Councilor Dean in the pro-Central ending. Even if you go along with his plan to frame Ran Shou-man for the suicide bombing attempt at the restaurant, Nina sells him down the river as part of her plea bargain anyway.
  • Kawaiiko: Cheffie the Chef's obnoxious appearance and personality has been designed by committee with heavy overtones of this. At least she'll do anything to help.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Dr. Zvidzai Chigwa, who complains about her telepresence supervising job, claiming that "TP" is just where management sticks people they don't want being the public face of the company.
  • Kick the Dog: Central eventually calls Regis and Lao to neutralize a suicide bomber holed up in a railway car, but the player has the option of talking him down instead and getting him to surrender to the police. If you do that, though, then Central is not happy that you talked him down instead of "neutralizing" him, and has him euthanized when the two aren't looking, claiming that he was too big a risk to be left alive. Regis, on the other hand, sees this as a spiteful display of power.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The security system in Latha's apartment uses a knight avatar, complete with Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. When pressed on the act, he'll explain that focus group testing polled it as the most trustworthy avatar for the job.
  • Lost in Character: A variation on this occurs with the Mindjacker, who ends up picking up Dr. Baxter's grudge against Regis when he downloads his personality, and tries to get revenge on him despite having never met him himself.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: CEL personnel have weapons keyed to respond only to their authorized user. The fact that Latha can shoot Regis with his own gun serves as Five-Second Foreshadowing.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Regis is revealed to be Latha's father. Neither of them knew it, though, although his other daughter Galatea did. In a way, Central is Regis's daughter as well, since the third embryo's brain tissue was used to grow Central's neural network. In the pro-Nina ending, Central acknowledges its relationship to Galatea and calls her "sister".
  • Meaningful Name: Stepford makes synths and is one himself. Galatea, too. She's definitely a human, just an artificially grown and programmed one.
  • Metaphorically True: Invoked. Councilman Deane voluntarily installed a Governor in his head which prevents him from lying, but does not prevent him from telling the truth in very specific ways. He uses this to deny hiring the bomber that attacked the secret meeting: technically, his secretary did that.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Regis ends up having to make one out of a bottle of whiskey and some packing material in order to take out an armed soldier with orders to shoot to kill.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Nina Jeong. While her research actually has quite noble goals in and of themselves, she has a blatant disregard for ethical boundaries and can be quite the vicious cut-throat in her attempts to achieve them. She also frequents a restaurant that serves meat cloned from humans.
  • Mugging the Monster: In one scene, the mindjacker sees an unaware CEL agent and decides to ambush her. Cue him getting flipped onto his back by a Neck Lift, revealing that the agent is the French maid, reprogrammed by Lao into an assistant and dressed accordingly.
  • Multinational Team: The "dream team" selected by Dr. Vargas for the Central project. Includes himself (Argentinian), Regis (American), Viksha (Sri Lankan), Nina (Korean), Chigwa (African), and Baxter (unspecified, but probably British or American).
    • Meanwhile Nina's circle of conspirators consists of herself, Councilor Dean (African), Ran Shou-man (Chinese - the Greater Han Republic, to be specific,) Imogen (assumedly from Europe) and Mr. Stepford (a robot,) with Regis as a potential co-conspirator as well.
  • My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: In the pro-Central ending, Nina sells out her co-conspirators as part of a plea bargain. When CEL comes to arrest them, Mr. Stepford proclaims that as a robot, he doesn't exactly fall under Newton's laws and can't be arrested, to which Regis counters that CEL can simply seize him as evidence indefinitely.
  • NEET: According to Central, Latha has clocked in 65,717 hours into Trance. That's seven and a half years! In the opening scene, she makes it clear she coasts on basic assistance on purpose because anything more would distract from the Trance, and only comes out if she absolutely needs to.
  • Neo-Africa: When you visit Dr. Vargas in Fulcrum Tower, Max will mention how she is able to see Mombasa from the top of the tower, placing the geographical location of Newton somewhere in Kenya. A news article also confirms that Newton is located in the Horn of Africa.
  • Never My Fault: Adam Baxter, who killed Regis's wife Viksha in a fit of rage and then spent 20 years blaming Regis for going to prison for it.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Mr. Stepford appears to be an homage to Frank Nelson.
  • Not So Different: The person who hired the bomber to kill Nina turns out to be Councillor Dean, who did it because he was being blackmailed by Geil. When Regis confronts him, he begs Regis to frame the assassination attempt on Ran Shou-Man instead, appealing to the fact that Regis of all people knows what it's like to be blackmailed into doing something horrific. If you do decide to frame Shou-Man, Nina joins in as well, implying that she knew all along who the culprit was, and remarking as Regis leaves that they're more alike than he'll admit.
  • Nuke 'em: "Get Nuked" is a popular Trance simulation, where users get to experience a nuclear explosion first-hand. There are multiple scenarios, most of them based on actual cities that suffered a nuclear attack, although the one in the Trance den is a shareware version that only allows free access to the nuking of Singapore. Most users tend to turn on God Mode in order to avoid being kicked out of the simulation during the blast, but that can be disabled. Latha is disturbed at how giddy the simulation users are, given that the real disasters have taken hundreds of thousands of lives. Among the list of nuked countries within the series timeline includes Singapore, Las Vegas and Hiroshima (again.)
  • Off with His Head!: Baxter is found with his head pounded into pulp, done to erase all traces of his murder being committed by the Mindjacker so that he can frame Regis for it.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Regis is able to pinpoint a suicide bomber as hailing from Texas by his accent, when said character has nothing even resembling a Texas accent.
  • Our Clones Are Identical: A news report mentions that Japan is attempting to solve its shrinking population problem by ramping up cloning. They estimate that, at one point, nearly 40% of the Japanese population will be clones.
  • Overly Long Name: Imogen Natalia Revilla-Quintanilla de Florez.
  • People Farms: A fancy restaurant that is the setting for one of Regis' chapters serves human meat cut from flash-grown clones. Though the horror aspect is slightly downplayed by the fact that Regis is told that the clones used are deliberately grown without brains and so they are never really "alive" or even conscious to begin with, the troubling moral aspects of such a business and its customers are still very much present, and Regis makes more than one comment on how Sick and Wrong the whole business is.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: One of the many things Regis can ask if the van der Waal's top-of-the-line Cheffie can make is "chicken hacienda," which Regis made up to try and trip it up.
    Cheffie: Of course!
    Regis: How? I just made it up.
    Cheffie: I can extrapolate what it involves based on your request, tone of voice and dietary habits!
  • Restraining Bolt: Certain characters are fitted with Governor chips which discourage certain behavior. In the case of criminals, violent thoughts make them physically ill.
  • Robot Girl: The robotic French maid, who believes that she is a real human being.
  • Sexbot: The robotic French maid was this to the Van der Waal couple. When programmed with the right personality, she will boast that she is "anatomically correct".
  • Sex for Services: Subverted at the Trance club. Latha can suggest she has skills (referring to her hacking) that she could barter for entry to the club. The bouncer assumes she means sexual favors, but refuses because he thinks she's too frail and she's hardly the first to try that tactic. Latha is disgusted and clarifies her intentions.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Thomas, the suicide bomber, always dies, whether by blowing himself up, getting shot by Lao, or being taken to the police station and euthanized by Central under claims of being too big a threat to be kept alive. This is because his femur is needed as a bomb later in the story.
  • Sequel Hook: Despite there being Multiple Endings, there's actually two different hooks. If you choose to thwart Nina, she decides to recreate the Central project herself with Central's blessing, using Galatea as a guinea pig. If you choose to go along with Nina and release Central onto the internet, Galatea escapes custody and Central gets in contact with her, asking her to help her "find myself."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The malware in Guy's wetware quotes Spock's "the needs of the many" line from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
    • The bouncer explains his pirate antenna and says the governments "can never stop the signal".
    • Apparently Vegas was nuked at some point, in a possible reference to The Stand.
    • One of the wrong numbers you can dial brings you to someone asking if the caller still wants those bootleg Blackwell games.
  • Space-Filling Empire: While there are still a lot of nations in the world, the number appears to have shrunk significantly since our time. For example, Mexico and the Caribbean island nations are now a part of the Caribbean Commonwealth, while South America is split between Union Latinoamericana and Federal Republic of Brazil. It's unclear how many of these are actual nations and how many are simply economic alliances. For example, the name of the Oceania Partnership Accord seems to indicate the latter.
  • Spiritual Successor: The game takes quite a few cues from Beneath a Steel Sky, especially considering how the network interface sequences are set up. The villains Evil Plan centering around getting a person who is genetically related to a biological supercomputer to interface with said computer also carries some strong similarities.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: The "human resources" trojan that Guy is infected with acts like this, seizing control of their body in order to make them fly to the Greater Han Republic and become an obedient factory worker. When the player walks in on a partial hijacking in Trance, it's represented as a robotic version of Guy spouting propaganda (made to get the host onto a plane and across the border) while the real Guy is partially fused with a wall and unable to move.
  • Standard Snippet: The entire restaurant scene is set to the Moonlight Sonata.
  • Suicide Attack: A suicide bomber has organic explosives integrated in his bones, having been genetically designed to produce them since birth.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The end of the murder investigation at the restaurant. The culprit, Councilman Deane, confesses to the murder, but explains that he was blackmailed into doing so while also bringing up that Ran Shou-man — an utter scumbag who's only part of Nina's plan for his own selfish ends - also fits all the evidence that Regis gathered (with the minor exception that he can't read or write English, and thus couldn't have wrote the letter to the bomber.) Thus Regis has to choose between absolving Deane of his crime and pinning the murder on Shou-man or pursuing the truth and turning Deane in. Either choice ends with the accused getting thrown out the window and written off as another victim of the attempted suicide bombing. It's heavily implied that Nina knows that the Councilman is the real culprit, given her comment if Regis decides to frame Ran instead.
  • United Europe: Some of the characters came to the city from "Eurofed" (short for European Federation). According to the newspapers, Europe has just adopted metric time. The same news article mentions that Eurofed is composed of 87 member states, which is significantly more than the current EU member count (28).
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked. Even before Mr. Stepford's Robotic Reveal, Regis notices that there is something seriously wrong about him, especially with his eyes. The trope name is mentioned verbatim.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Ah, nuke it!"
  • Verbal Tic: The android customer service rep constantly says "Oh my, yes!" Transfer his personality to a beefy security guard, and you get to hear him using the same tic.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Many puzzles have an easy and a hard way to do them, and the easy way is often the most dickish and self-centered. Examples include shooting a suicide bomber instead of talking him down (or being so antagonistic to him that he blows himself up anyway), tricking a man infected with a trojan that will eventually turn him into an obedient work drone for the Greater Han Republic into thinking you gave him an epinephrine shot he needs to break the control when you just gave him water instead, breaking the antenna to a Trance den to sever all outside connections, and then cutting power to the entire street to sneak past the understandably furious bouncer, and gruesomely killing the Mindjacker instead of apprehending him.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Averted with the in-game phone. Dialing random numbers gives you hundreds of different responses, ranging from "sorry, wrong number" to business answering machines to referencing The Ring. You get an achievement for doing it ten times.
  • Wetware CPU: Wetware is used all over the place as a computer.
  • White and Grey Morality:
    • There is, strictly speaking, only one person who can truly be defined as gratuitously evil in the storyline, and he isn't a crucial part of the plot — indeed, he only gets a few lines. Every other negatively-slanted character is moved by various degrees of extremism or is simply a mercenary.
    • Central is shown as being somewhat amoral at times, but it's only because it's acting to logical extremes in what it perceives to be the "big picture". Galatea is moved by a desire to improve Central to its utmost potential, even if doing this carries a high moral cost. Nina has the same objective, though her methods are different. Dr Vargas's past conduct is certainly questionable as well, but he too acted for what he thought was the common good. Even Baxter eventually snapped from exasperation at Regis' actions, as his benign leftover ghost shows. As for the Mindjacker, he's an amoral hacker for sure, but he only gets properly evil when he inherits Baxter's latent hatred. Just about the only true scumbag around is Ran Shou-Man, who seems to enjoy evil just for the hell of it; he is a side character with only mild relevance, and you can kill him during the plot to put an end to his actions.
  • Yellow Peril: Ran Shou-man is an unscrupulous businessman from the Greater Han Republic, who is probably the only truly evil character in the game.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Regis can do this with Latha when she's holding his own stun gun on him, assuming you don't just point out that the gun has a genetic lock to prevent anyone but Regis from firing it. He's wrong on both counts, but luckily he's already burned most of the charge, so it's just a painful shock, not an incapacitating one.

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