Now this is the kind of thing I like to see, the kind of marketing that sets indie games apart from the mainstream AAA titles. The developers of horror game Outlast
went to the trouble of writing out the expose article that lands their game's protagonist, Miles Upshur, in an asylum. It's a cool little bit of world building and you can read it after the jump. If you're lucky enough to be at PAX this weekend, you can also check out the Outlast demo. If you pre-order the game before its September 4th launch, you can get 20%
off on Steam as well.
Maybe it's because I'm a journalist but I enjoy little bits of in-universe color like this. I remember when I got my copy of the original Deus Ex way back in the day, and it came with an in-game newspaper talking about current events in the year 2052. It makes you more invested in the game's story and I wish more developers would do things like this.
THE DEVIL'S BARGAIN
How Murkoff Turned the Global Water Crisis into a Billion Dollar Revenue Stream
by Miles Upshur
May 9, 2013 2:19pm
Nine-year old Akosua stands before the water-vending machine with its bright “ALSAB” logo, a few bills clutched in her small hand. You can still see the blank place on the machine's hull where the words “Freeflow Global Charities” was pried away last year.
She explains that 2 cedis (about $1) will buy her five liters of purified water, which her Cholera-afflicted mother desperately needs. But 17 cedis at the Worldfree Clinic would buy her mother the course of antibiotics that would shorten the disease' course and possibly save her life. It's a terrible choice for a child to make, and one facing more and more of the world's 1.6 billion inhabitants without access to clean drinking water.
More than a quarter of Accra's citizens buy their water from Wellspring Industries, either monthly through their taps, or directly from the ubiquitous, bright yellow Alsab machines. What few Ghanians know, however, is the hidden connection between Wellspring Industries, Alsab, Freeflow Global Charities, and Worldfree Clinics.
All of them are subsidiaries of the multinational Murkoff Corporation.
In an increasingly clear partnership between Western Capitalism and Third World corruption, the Murkoff Corporation has used its dozens of subsidiaries to open back doors into selling the source of life to drought-starved populations in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.
Here's how it works: a newly-started charity, fueled largely by donations, establishes a water supply and sewage systems for communities whose well water has been rendered non-potable by industrial runoff. Murkoff gets the tax write-off for charitable spending, while their subsidiary Alsab gets the profits for building and installing the system. When the cost of running the system becomes too great, the charity (in Ghana's case, Freeflow Global) declares bankruptcy and abandons the project. Then Murkoff subsidiary Wellspring Industries (or another Murkoff shell company) steps in and offers the local government completion and maintenance of the project in return for the construction fee and complete deregulation of the water supply, allowing Wellspring/Murkoff to name the price of the population's water.
As Murkoff is also the owner of the three most active pharmaceutical manufacturers to the Third World, they'll profit nicely whether the locals choose clean water or cholera.
It's only the latest in Murkoff's near-century long history of playing both sides against the middle, maximizing profits at the cost of human rights. Whether licensing aggressively pollinating, genetically-modified rice with a built in “suicide gene” to India, flipping blood diamond real estate in Angola and Sierra Leone, or peddling amphetamines to the Nazis in World War II, you can't swing a dead cat in an arena of human suffering without knocking over a Murkoff piggy bank.
Water is fast becoming the new oil, an issue largely ignored by the developed world, by wealthy Americans and Europeans comfortable with their hot showers and iced drinks.
But earlier this year Murkoff subsidiary Heartland Springs Charity began construction of three Alsab-built water purification plants in Detroit. Welcome to New World Water.