Dead Drop is a speculative ARG designed for the ETC @ USC Metaverse Challenge.
We had 24 hours to create and pitch a Metaverse in 12 minutes to a group of investors from Disney, Universal, and Epic Games.
Below is a brief description of our pitch and the script for our pitch is here.
Choose Our Own Adventure
We first came up with the idea of creating our own genre of ARG that we called Choose Our Own Adventure. What separates a Choose Our Own Adventure ARG from a standard ARG is that in most ARGs the players solve puzzles as a collective and unlock more of the story. This type of ARG is largely a statement by the GM and leads to less emergent narratives. In Choose Our Own Adventure, the GM does not make a statement as to what the game. is; it is more of a conversation.
Choose Our Own Adventures have multiple factions (in the case of Dead Drop, spy networks) which then adds more cooperation and competition between players. GMs provide a starting point and keep the game moving, but the majority of the narrative would emerge from interactions between factions. Instead of solving puzzles to progress a linear narrative, players make choices that change the story in dynamic ways.
To explain our concept further, we created a speculative espionage-themed ARG we called Dead Drop. We specifically wanted to focus on introducing new communities to participate in Role-Playing and ARGS. We wanted to encourage people to leave their comfort zone, while still making it feel safe to do so.We chose to create an espionage-themed ARG as spies innately are secretive, and so no one would have to realize that players were roleplaying. By "Acting Natural", players would begin their roleplaying journey with low stakes.
We also wanted to introduce even more technology to the ARG genre. Many ARGs already were transmedia, but we wanted to push this further by asking participants to both use technology and even build it themselves. The game would be run through an overarching app that would allow players to talk to their factions, share secret codes and coordinate dead drops using geocaching. An example Dead Drop might be dropping an ultraviolet camera so that players could leave messages on walls with high SPF sunscreen. We would also encourage players to build their own "spy tools" with IoT technology and physical computing.