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Need to Know
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Languages: English
Players: Single-player
Feb 15, 2016 @ 7:42am
Jul 18 @ 11:03am

View Need to Know in the store

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Recent Announcements View All (3)
Kickstarter Update: Need to Know's alpha out now for early access backers + release news for the full game
What’s to come

In Skeleton Key, we’ve tried to give you a thorough taste of the full game, complete with a standalone story. However, it is an alpha, and so is rough around the edges, and doesn’t show the breadth of story, character and gameplay we’re planning for the full game.

So, we want to run through some of the features and elements which we have planned for later releases. We’ve begun working on many of these, but couldn’t get them in the alpha release.

  • Greater phone functionality – complete with calls, messages, etc.
  • More evidence types - The alpha has 5 types of evidence, but in the full game we hope to add as many different types as we can, while trying to not overcomplicate things
  • Different game modes – such as finding discrepancies between different forms of evidence
  • More animation – within exteriors and interiors, and blinking profile pictures
  • More clearance levels – The alpha only takes place in one, low clearance level, with little executive power
  • More options to use data you find at home - with more choices and potential outcomes
  • More decisions – As you climb the ranks, you use more specific and nuanced powers
  • Larger scale storyline – Given its relatively short playing time, we can’t reach the scale with the alpha that we’re striving for with the full game.

In short, we want you to know that the growth between alpha and full release will be huge. Your feedback will help to shape that growth.

Need to Know’s final release delayed

As we now know, our inexperience and overconfidence meant that our original deadlines for the alpha release date were unrealistically short. This mistake also carries through to the release of the final game. Much as the alpha has taken longer than expected, we need to adjust our expectations about how much we can get done in a given time period. Unfortunately, this means that we need to push back the full game’s release date.

Although it may be remotely possible to still meet our initial projections of a release in December, we’re certain that the result would be limited and broken. We would hate it, and you would likely hate it even more. We’ve already been encouraged by the many backers who have told us that they don’t want us to sacrifice quality for a rushed release.

In terms of setting a new date, the one thing we want to avoid at all costs is repeating our past mistakes by being too impetuous, and ultimately letting all of you down. Right now, our closest (responsible) prediction for a release date is early 2017. Over the next month though, we’ll narrow down that estimate, so we can give you a better idea in our next update.

We will, of course, still release the beta to early access backers at least one month before the full game. Wherever possible, rewards will also be shipped before the game’s release.

We realise this isn’t what anybody wants to hear, but we’re doing our absolute best to deliver quality as quickly as possible.

Need to Know coming to Steam + our thoughts on stretch goals

As your support brings us close to the Space Race bonus mission, we’ve been thinking about where to go with stretch goals from here. As some of you have suggested, although stretch goals provide terrific extra content, they can also make function creep and design sprawl quite tempting, possibly impacting the game’s deliverability. Fortunately, this has not been a problem so far.

We want to deliver what we promised originally – a memorable game which you’ll enjoy playing and which will hopefully live up to your expectations. With all the existing goals unlocked, we feel that we can safely deliver this. However, we think that by adding more, we could potentially put Need to Know’s quality at risk, along with the deadlines we’ve set. Although we have a couple more in mind - and have been impressed with several of your suggestions - we don’t want to risk letting you down.

So, for the moment, we’ve reached the final stretch goals for Need to Know. If we devise any more goals that we feel certain will not impact development, we’ll be sure to let you know. Thanks so much for bringing us to this point so quickly, and if you’re not a backer yet, or if you’re looking to upgrade your pledge level, we can still use your support! Rest assured that any further funding will be put to use in optimising the game.

Do keep sharing your thoughts and making suggestions - just because an idea isn't mentioned in a stretch goal doesn't mean it won't turn up in the game!

Modding support and language localisation are a couple of features which we’ll be considering later in development, regardless. We really like the idea of including these in Need to Know, but we don’t want to guarantee them at this stage, and risk keeping you waiting and compromising the game. We’ll talk to you throughout development about these features to hear your ideas and suggestions.

We’ve read all of your comments so far, and we’ll continue to do so in the future. Cheers for your useful tips and contagious excitement! If we haven’t had the chance to respond to you directly, know that we’re taking note of your input, and hope to incorporate several of the great suggestions we’ve encountered so far. Keep them coming!

Release date: August 7, 2018
Ascend the ranks of the NSA-like Department of Liberty. Will you stand up for privacy, or help create an unstoppable police state?
You must spy on citizens, pick apart their private lives, and determine how dangerous they are. You can also resist these suffocating privacy invasions by aiding underground groups and leaking internal reports to the media. Or, you can just use all of that juicy classified information for your own, personal gain. Your call.

Welcome to the Department of Liberty.
Ascend the ranks of the NSA-like Department of Liberty. Will you stand up for privacy, or help create an unstoppable police state?

You must spy on citizens, pick apart their private lives, and determine how dangerous they are. You can also resist these suffocating privacy invasions by aiding underground groups and leaking internal reports to the media. Or, you can just use all of that juicy classified information for your own, personal gain. Your call.

Need to Know emphasises story, and will sculpt the crushing growth of our real-world surveillance society into a meaningful, gripping journey. It critiques the system by passing the uncomfortable (or too comfortable?) mantle of power onto your shoulders, and testing which choices you’ll make. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sweat bullets under the searing blaze of an interrogation lamp.


Clearance Levels – Everything hinges upon your Clearance Level. Impress your superiors, and they will promote you to a higher level, unlocking cooler (and creepier) powers, classified information, and prestige.

Surveillance – Early Clearance Levels only allow you to access a target’s metadata or browsing history. As you progress, you bore deeper into their lives, with geo-tracking, shopping patterns, and even drone surveillance.

Individual targets – Your Department database is packed with citizens’ profiles, with colourful biographies, human flaws, and realistic dilemmas.

Executive powers – As you ascend the ranks, you are forced to make increasingly unsettling decisions. Will you fuel your rise to power with searches, wiretaps, smear campaigns and abductions? Or will you covertly undermine the Department from the inside?

Personal life – Choose whether to use intel and powers outside of work to help others, for financial gain (not, strictly speaking, legal), or even in romantic encounters (not, strictly speaking, moral).

Chapter-based storytelling – We will intertwine gameplay with a story structure that eliminates grinding, for satisfying payoffs and real character progression.

Meaningful moral choices – Your actions lead to in-game consequences that actually matter. Negative choices can cause bombings, false arrests, corrupt bankers escaping prosecution, or even (gasp) your own demotion.

Classified data – Each new Clearance Level exposes classified data, much of which will help you with assignments, and in your crusade against (or for) the Department.

Assets & Prestige – As your salary grows, impress and intimidate peers with new homes, cars, and more. In some games, you rise to the peak of every possible rank/guild/achievement metric, yet even the lowest peons still treat you like a nobody. Not here.

Design – We’ve tried to avoid a more clinical, text-based surveillance design, by injecting as much colour and imagery as possible. The look and feel of the game will evolve and improve as development progresses.

A catastrophic terrorist attack leads to the formation of a new and immense intelligence agency – the Department of Liberty. Its primary goals are to hunt down those responsible, and prevent further attacks. It will carry these out with unprecedented access to people’s daily lives.

In Washington, the DoL grapples with rival agencies for political supremacy, combats domestic threats, and ruthlessly silences its opponents.

Join the DoL as an idealistic, but broke, graduate. Every day you spy on people, collect their data, and determine their threat level. You hate it, but every facet of your life is a complete mess. You need the money, and intend to leave as soon as you can. At least, that’s your plan…

As you progress up through Clearance Levels, you earn a higher salary, more respect, greater powers, perks, and access to top secret information. Slowly, you are tempted by authority and recognition you’ve never experienced. Decide how to use these privileges. Will you stick to your principles and defend people’s privacy, or succumb to the allure of absolute power?

All stories are really just a series of character choices. The more challenging the choices, the more captivating the story. We’ve worked hard to give you difficult decisions that will impact your character, and create some memorable moments.

Popular Discussions View All (1)
Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:36am
Two questions for developer(s).
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voidthe Jan 11 @ 9:40pm 
kewi2004556 Jan 5 @ 2:20am 
hope it comes out soon
Deutschmann Jul 14, 2017 @ 1:22pm 
I find it a good thing that you are taking your time to make the game as good as possible but HOLY MOTHER OF SHIT I WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME SO BAD.
shais04 Jun 24, 2017 @ 12:59am 
Are you, at least, alive?
Milan the Glutton. Jun 20, 2017 @ 8:17pm 
I hope this is going to be a non linear game (unlike Orwell) or at least have an sandbox scenario. I would be highly disappointed, as a player, if it has neither.
Milan the Glutton. Jun 20, 2017 @ 8:10pm 
You are right. Mine is long.
Poelar.Bear Jun 17, 2017 @ 10:15am 
sooooooo loooooooong
Poelar.Bear Jun 17, 2017 @ 10:15am 
sooooooo loooooooong
Poelar.Bear Jun 17, 2017 @ 10:15am 
sooooooo loooooooong
Poelar.Bear Jun 17, 2017 @ 10:15am 
sooooooo loooooooong