The Worlds of .hack//G.U.

Step into the future

.hack//G.U. is unique because it straddles two worlds. There's the real world - the one we live in... 11 years in the future, 2017. It's a future that already feels familiar: in which network gaming is universal, thanks to advanced technology and a game-friendly society.

The backdrop to the events of .hack//G.U. is a massively multiplayer RPG, known as The World R:2, built literally on the ashes of the troubled online game that served as the backdrop to the .hack story the first time around. The game system is completely new, but the company and, perhaps, the problems remain the same... and that's where you come in. As Haseo, a player simply interested in the game, you become embroiled in the mysteries that inevitably surround it, and infect both the game and real life...

Above: Look familiar? We're not sure, but if you played the original, you'll know that a church played a key role in the story

.hack//G.U. takes these worlds - these fictional representations of online and offline - and blends and blurs them until they both seem all too real. In the original series, there was never a truly convincing illusion that you were actually playing an online game. But by picking and choosing key elements that reflect these two realities sharply - people collapsing while playing The World, players dropping out of the game because of family problems - the unreality found a troubling clarity. We only expect more twisted drama this time around.

We've already told you all about the game's cast of characters. Each is backed by the personality of a player - though you can't see them, each player lives in the real world, in 2017. Each has his or her own reasons for playing. That's what makes .hack so unique; it manages to weave in a troubling sense of reality no other RPG can match. What drives that story? How do these worlds clash? That's what we hope to explore over the next few pages...