(From the introduction of the book)
Cyberpunk 1.0: It evokes a certain film noir, gritty image of urban cowboys all teched out engaging in clandestine ops on behalf of the reigning world powers, who are now pretty much all corporations, rather than countries. Espionage, turf wars, netrunning - all seem to be part of the trope. But the world has changed since cyberpunk was invented.
Welcome to cyberpunk 2.0. Prepare to enter a unique gaming world and split yourself in two.
Literally. Cyberpunk 1.0 games allowed each player control of one character (a player-character or PC) and typically had the characters work together as an adventuring party against the game environment, which was under the exclusive control of the game master (GM).
That’s not the way Nanopunk works.
Sure, there’s a GM and players. Sure the players have characters and the GM sets the stage, the environment, so to speak. But the environment is filled with characters, and why should the GM be the only one to control multiple entities?
Now, I know what you experienced gamers are thinking. It’s hard to actively control two or more characters and give the role-playing of both equal attention. I agree. That’s why your second character isn’t really a person and isn’t part of your adventuring party. Instead, your second character is actually one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations. It can act through its agents or through the nanotechnology that everyone (yes, even the other PCs) has embedded inside. And it’s often working against the PCs.
At this point, I can hear more objections from the experienced gamers. How are you going to have anything interesting happen when you depend on the players to make life hard for their own characters? Fortunately, I don’t have to solve that problem. The various mechanics of the FATE game system make this process much easier to manage. So if you aren’t familiar with FATE, there is a brief introduction to the main ideas later on, but you really must read the rules.