Year Zero (video game)

Year Zero
Art Is Resistance.svg

an alternate reality game by
Nine Inch Nails
and 42 Entertainment


Campaign timeline


Year Zero album
"Survivalism" single
"Capital G" single
Beside You in Time HD DVD and BD
Year Zero Remixed album



Characters and organizations

Drugs and devices

Year Zero is an alternate reality game (ARG) by American studio 42 Entertainment based on the Nine Inch Nails concept album of the same name, its expected follow-up, and a possible accompanying film or television project.[1] Although the album was released on April 16, 2007 in Europe, and the following day worldwide,[2] the game had been underway since roughly February 12, 2007 and was expected to continue for approximately eighteen months.[3] The game was created by 42 Entertainment, the same group responsible for the Halo 2 promotional alternative reality game I Love Bees.[4][5] Trent Reznor, frontman and sole member of the band, has called the game "a new entertainment form".[4] In response to criticism[6] regarding the promotion of the album, Reznor stated:


An Art is Resistance flier from the Year Zero ARG.

Reznor said that Year Zero is a concept album,[8] "could be about the end of the world", and marked a "shift in direction" in that it "doesn't sound like With Teeth."[7] The 2006 tour merchandise designs featured overt references to the United States military, which "reflects future directions."[7]

In an interview with, Reznor stated that the concept behind Year Zero was partially inspired by his feelings toward the Bush administration. He further explained,

I really wanted to focus on something that was at the forefront of my consciousness which is, as an American, I'm appalled by the behavior of our government, the direction that it has taken and the direction that it's taken everyone else in the world and its arrogance... I decided to write an essay about where the world might be if we continue down the path that we're on with a neo-con-esque government doing whatever it pleases...[9]

To this end, the storyline of Year Zero borrows heavily from such well-known dystopian fiction as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (government surveillance), Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (use of drugs to subdue the populace), Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (large-scale censorship and uniformism), and Yevgeny Zamyatin's We (synthesis of church and state). Specific plot elements bear a resemblance to the Philip K. Dick short story Faith of Our Fathers, including hallucinogens in the water supply, an oppressive, heavily militaristic state, aggressive government monitoring of the populace, and a venerated entity which manifests in many forms. In keeping with the dystopian theme, Year Zero takes place in 2022, the same year as the 1973 film Soylent Green.