Humanity is the most dominant species on Earth. We’ve managed to spread across the whole planet, mastering different environments, and not just surviving but thriving. No other species we know of has come close to what we’ve done and for all we know they may never to do so.
As if that wasn’t enough, we draw ever closer to creating intelligent artificial life. Not only will humanity have dominion over Earth but we will also extend our power over machines further. When intelligent artificial life is created those responsible may be seen as Gods.
Or they’ll be seen as the harbingers of doom.
The story of Binary Domain follows a Rust Crew whose job is to take care of any breaches of the New Geneva Convention. The Convention has been put in place to help stabilise a global economy and governs research, including creating robots that can pass as humans. These robots are called Hollow Children, and when found they are destroyed as quickly as possible by Rust Crews without any mercy.[drop]But why is this research banned? There are probably a lot of political and financial reasons behind the decision, most likely linked to the the two biggest robotic companies which are called Bergen and Amada.
Bergen has a near monopoly on the robotics industry with Amada only holding a small share. The Hollow Children could be a final push by Amada to create a product that undermines their competition.
The real reason, though, is pure human fear.
Modern humans didn’t become the dominant species by playing nice. Our ancestors managed to outlast other strains of human, like Neanderthals, by adapting quickly and being more aggressive. Humans have taken this planet by force, destroying anything that would threaten our hold. Simply put, the Rust Crews are employed to kill Hollow Children because they are a threat to humans.
The only thing is that the majority of the Hollow Children in Binary Domain don’t know they are robots. They believe they are human and only discover their true identity by accident, leading to some truly emotional scenes in the game where certain Hollow Children find out what they are and have complete breakdowns. They want to be human but as soon as they are discovered they are on the list to be terminated. If they don’t know what they are then why are they still hunted, especially when they are scared by their true nature?
The fact is that they’re not hounded simply because of what they are, but more because of what they represent. They’re a group that are faster, stronger and smarter than humans, as well as being immune to all diseases. They are the next step in human evolution, albeit an artificial one.
Should humanity let such a group go unchecked then eventually they could organise and turn on their human creators. After all what could really stop them? All that’s really on humanity’s side is that there aren’t enough Hollow Children yet. This is why they’re destroyed quickly when they’re discovered, it’s to stop forming any real leadership or structure.[drop2]The problem is compounded by a worrying ability that the Hollow Children possess. Not only are the Hollow Children representative of our evolutionary future, they also have the means to replace us. You see, Hollow Children aren’t your standard robots – they have the ability to create new life through breeding.
This is obviously a real concern for humanity. If the Hollow Children manage to escape and disappear then they may well raise an army against humanity, displacing us as the dominant species. That isn’t some far fetched notion either, you can see the possibility coming to fruition throughout the game.
When the first true Hollow Child realises that the Rust Crews are coming to neutralise them, it is able to pretty much unleash an army of machines; everything from standard foot soldiers to towering giants with enough fire power to destroy buildings. And that’s only one Hollow Child. Imagine if that Hollow Army grew and was able to call upon more robots that can withstand huge punishment? It doesn’t seem like it would take long for humanity to fall.
Humanity’s response is a pre-emptive strike. Our society demands stability and security for success. Allowing the Hollow Children to exist threatens both, leaving destruction as the only viable course of action. Killing off the Hollow Children now is a way to avoid a devastating war in the near future which would almost likely see humans toppled. We’d be the Hollow Children’s Neanderthals.
Binary Domain offers a real moral quandary and a situation that isn’t clear cut. Both the Humans and the Hollow Children have very real concerns and they both are trying to ensure their survival.
In an ideal world humans and robots would live side by side, but realistically both sides know that only one group can hold the power. Is it right the humans are killing off the Hollow Children? And vice versa, is it right the Hollow Children are forcing human evolution to happen artificially?
Both questions can be asked over and over, but the situation really isn’t that black and white. No, despite it’s action game façade, Binary Domain asks some genuinely interesting questions about humanity’s right to the planet, and just where evolution will take us in, potentially, the near future.