Foreign Radical: Designing the Game

by Milton Lim

Over the last several months, I have been working on Conspiracy’s newest piece, Foreign Radical, a journey into the world of cyberwarfare, Internet censorship and security. Have you ever hesitated to put your name on a petition? Do you want to know all of your lover’s secrets? Is the value of free enterprise more fundamental than ensuring the rights of others?

If you attended Theatre Conspiracy’s previous documentary-style theatre show, Extraction, you might recall that the audience was asked a similar series of content-related survey questions throughout the performance. This time we’re taking questions into new territory through audience inclusion and significant consequences — Foreign Radical will concurrently operate as both a documentary theatre piece and an immersive game. As audience members, you are no longer observing, you are the players of the game.

Since the first workshop of Foreign Radical in December, we have dedicated more energy and time into developing the game structure. Last month, Playwrights Theatre Centre [PTC] ran a very successful Interactive Storytelling: Videogames and Theatre event, in which they hosted three video game designers (Athomas Goldberg, Alexandre Mandryka, and Amanda Doiron) to talk about their creative processes. Following that discussion, we started thinking about emergent narrative based on design. In essence, we could take a structural approach: instead of delivering information through text-based narrative, meaning and relationships would derive out of the game’s circumstances.

In order to delve deeper into crafting our game’s design, we spent a week at the University of Toronto Drama Centre for intensive research with dramaturg, Bruce Barton. There, we implemented level design, conceived stakes, and mapped out the basic trajectory for the players. With Bruce’s help, the game component has been completely reworked several times over and we have a very exciting prototype to be presented inside two shipping containers as part of the 2014 Your Kontinent Festival: Art in Containers Exhibition in July!

As Foreign Radical is an interactive game, it heavily depends on having players, and requires us to do more experimental test runs. If you’re interested in getting a sneak peek of the show and taking part in refining the game, please email us here:

Photo, l to r:  Milton Lim, Bruce Barton, group of participants at UofT Drama Centre