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Binary Domain's Background Story

All about the new multiplatform title from team Yakuza, with background story details and a tour of 2080 Tokyo.

She's actually a robot.

Continuing our new series where we explore video game Tokyos (see yesterday's installment), here's a look at how Binary Domain's version of Tokyo came to be.

Like many Japanese-developed games targeting westerners, Binary Domain has a hilariously cliche black guy. But unlike many Japanese-developed games targeting westerners, Binary Domain is set in Tokyo, home of the people making the game.

The in-game Tokyo isn't exactly like the Tokyo of today, though. The game kicks off in 2080. Global warming has cased the oceans to rise, so people throughout the world have begun construction of new "upper cities," built far from the sea and high up.

The new cities rest atop the old ones, which continue to be populated by poorer residents even as they are submerged by water. This has lead to a division of the world into upper and lower layers, causing growing social instability.

The construction of the upper city causes great demand for robots. The robot industry grows into the major industry of the world, larger than the communications and automobile industries. A variety of robots are developed, some for military use, some for personal use.

Eventually, robots that resemble humans being to appear. This ends up leading to greater instability as the technology is adopted by terror and criminal organizations. The United Nations begins to discuss restrictions in robot technology. A meeting in Geneva sees 150 countries sign the New Geneva Pact which attempts to reduce military use robots and ban human-like robots. The Geneva Code, as the pact is called, actually forbids not just the creation of robots that resemble humans, but research into robots that have human-like mental capabilities.

While this scenario is played out throughout the world as a whole, Binary Domain concerns itself just with Japan, or specifically Tokyo. In Japan, the powerful Amada Company has lost an international patent battle with an American company over advanced robot technology. Japan loses its hold of the lead in worldwide robot tech.

Robot patrols in the lower city.
Our heroes. Dan Marshall, the main character (right), was born in 2047, seven years after the New Geneva Accord was passed forming IRTA, an international robot technology watchdog.

How this story will play out in the game is a mystery at present, although the past trailers do provide some hints (you'll recall the scene of an upper city lady holding a baby, eventually revealing herself to be a robot -- see the image up above).

Today, Sega provided a look at how some of Tokyo's familiar locals have transformed in 2080, along with a look at the upper city and slum areas.


In 2080, Shibuya is beneath the upper city and has turned into a slum. It was saved from submergence by the rising oceans thanks to embankment construction in nearby Tokyo Bay. Only poor people, who are not allowed entrance into the upper city, reside here.


In this area of the city, a battle is being fought between Ministry of the Interior security forces and a resistance. The once great shopping facilities and skyscrapers are in danger of falling due to water that has flooded the subways, so few people live here.


Odaiba is a manmade island, so it was among the first areas to take damage from rising waters. It's now officially labeled a submerged area. Some people live in the buildings that pop out from the water, but it's mostly a deserted ruins. Work is being done to remove buildings for freighter routes.


Tokyo's 300 kilometer highway system is still around in 2080, but some of it has collapsed. Due to terrorism from groups protesting the construction of the upper city in around 2030, the highway lost its ability to function as a major transportation infrastructure.


With the goal of preserving the major functionality of Tokyo as waters rose, construction on the upper city began in 2030. Similar to other nations, the Japanese government encountered fierce resistance from the poor, who were not allowed movement into the new area.


People reside here with minimal food support from the government. There's crime, prostitution, gambling, smuggling and other unwholesome activities. People living here are in general not permitted into the upper city. They're policed harshly by police robots.

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