Omikron, Not Omnicron
The 1999 video game Omikron: The Nomad Soul is an epic adventure game and a cult classic in gaming. With the 2021 COVID-19 omicron variant in the news, many gamers have been thinking about this video game as of late. This is due to conspiracy theories stating that Bill Gates was involved in the omicron variant virus, erroneously claiming that Bill Gates was involved with this game in an attempt to connect him to the variant. While these claims are laughable at best and completely untrue, the game has had an uptick in popularity ever since.
This article will explore the history, legacy, and more.
What is Omikron: The Nomad Soul?
Omikron: The Nomad Soul is a 1999 video game developed by Quantic Dream and published by Eidos Interactive. Initially released for Microsoft Windows, it was later ported to the Sega Dreamcast. The game is a cyberpunk adventure set in the dark and futuristic city of Omikron, in the world of Phaenon. It is widely known for featuring David Bowie in his only video game role as a character named Boz. It also features 8 original songs written by David Bowie and composer Reeves Gabriel.
In the beginning, the player (The Nomad Soul) is asked by a mysterious character named Kay’l 669 to leave their dimension and inhabit his body on Omikron. After taking control of Kay’l, the player investigates a series of murders taking place in the city by a serial killer. Through their investigation, hints begin to surface that the serial killer they pursue is not actually human. These suspicions are aided by an anti-government group known as The Awakened, who reach out to the player, confirming their fears.
At this point in the story, the requests from Kay’l turn out to be a trap, as, in a unique fourth wall break, it is said that if the character dies in the video game, the player’s soul in real life is taken. From there, the game’s story gets increasingly strange, proving that this could only come from the mind of David Cage.
A Crazy Story
As players progress through the game, learn more about the different characters and factions in Omikron. This includes a character played by David Bowie named Boz, who exists purely in digital form throughout the computer networks of Omikron. Boz is a leader of an ancient religious order that works alongside awakened ones. The player eventually discovers that the city is being threatened by a powerful demon known as Astaroth. Working together with The Awakened and Boz, The Nomad Soul (who is referred to as such due to their ability to shift between bodies), they fight Astaroth and return to their own dimension, having prevented their souls from being claimed by menacing demons.
The game’s story was written by David Cage, who also directed it. Omikron featured high-quality graphics compared to other games of its time and innovative gameplay mechanics, including the ability for the player’s soul to transfer into the closest NPC upon death during combat, taking over that character’s body. However, it received mixed reviews from critics, praising its ambition, writing, soundtrack, and graphics, but criticizing its loading times and controls.
Despite this, Omikron has developed a cult following and is frequently debated online as being underrated. Its influence can be seen in many later video games, including Quantic Dream’s own titles.
Why is David Bowie involved with Omikron?
David Bowie was involved in Omikron: The Nomad Soul as a musician and an actor. He provided the game’s soundtrack and voiced Boz’s mysterious character, a small role that equated to less than ten minutes of screen time. He also portrayed a band member of The Dreamers, contributing his likeness and music to the game. In addition, his involvement helped to promote the game and increase its profile.
After meeting with Cage, he agreed to contribute to Omikron and worked alongside composer Reeves Gabriel on the soundtrack. During the game’s development, Cage often visited Gabriel and Bowie providing notes about the game and discussing the game’s world and lore. The team-up between Bowie and Gabriel resulted in the game’s music being critically acclaimed. In addition, some of the music from the game would later feature on Bowie’s record Hours.
Was the soundtrack for this game ever officially released?
Not entirely, although players could listen in-game via a digital album purchased within the game’s world. The record is by a fictional band called The Dreamers. David Bowie also lent his likeness to the lead singer of that group. In total, he wrote 8 songs for the game. However, a few tracks from the game were featured on his album Hours. However, many of the tracks were reworked and featured different lyrics than the versions found within the game.
Why did Omikron not get a sequel?
After Omikron’s release, Quantic Dream developed several more video games. However, they never produced a sequel to Omikron.
There are a few reasons for this. The most likely culprit is that the game didn’t sell very well. Despite selling 600,000 copies, the game had meager sales in North America. Additionally, a sequel (which went under the tiles Nomad Soul: Exodus and Omikron 2: Karma) was in development in 2000 and was intended for release in 2001 on Microsoft Windows, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. However, the game never was completed and later was scrapped for the studio to focus on Heavy Rain.
Who Is David Cage?
David Cage is the founder, president, and CEO of Quantic Dream. He is a video game writer and director, primarily known for interactive stories and cinematic games. His first game was 1999’s The Nomad Soul, which he wrote and directed.
What happened to David Cage after Omikron: The Nomad Soul?
After Omikron, David Cage directed several more increasingly strange and epic adventure games with Quantic Dream. To date, the company has released four more video games. These include Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy (2005), Heavy Rain (2010), Beyond Two Souls (2013), and Detroit: Become Human (2018).
All of these titles have featured gorgeous graphics and innovative game design mechanics that often blend gameplay with storytelling. This is particularly true of Beyond: Two Souls. In this game, the player uses their connection with an entity named Aiden to overcome obstacles and stay out of danger.
Was Bill Gates involved with Omikron?
No. Bill Gates’s closest connection to this game is that it was released on Microsoft Windows. Omikron was not developed by Microsoft. It was developed by Quantic Dream. As of late, what you are reading online is an incredibly hare-brained and moronic conspiracy theory, suggesting that Bill Gates helped create the Covid-19 virus to spy on the world. No, really. Conspiracy theorists suggest that Bill Gates’ funding of vaccination and digital identity research proves that Bill Gates is trying to create a global surveillance state. They use verbiage within the Book of Revelations, claiming this was all foretold.
The connection to Omikron (besides a similar name of the newest variant) is a speech by Boz within the game. In it, he tells the people of Omikron to rise up and fight for their freedom. Ridiculous anti-vax folks, already convinced that the COVID-19 vaccine is putting a magnetic 5G tracker in your blood, have somehow created their biggest whopper yet by tying a video game from 1999 to Covid-19 vaccines. Who needs to concern themselves with science fiction when you have outlandish nonsense like this?
Let us be clear: Bill Gates had nothing to do with creating this video game.
Is there anywhere I can play this game?
Yes! Omikron: The Nomad Soul is currently available to play on Steam or through the website GOG.com.
In conclusion, while the game’s reason for being viral maybe just another twist in this bizarre journey we call the COVID-19 pandemic, it is great to revisit a game that began the career of one of gaming’s most unique gaming studios. So, if you’re one of those who were curious what a 1999 video game had to do with COVID-19, someone that has taken a trip down memory lane, or are just looking for somewhere to play it now, we hope this article was helpful! Thanks for reading!