Poster, A Better Paradise Volume 1 (An Aftermath) Episode 1
Poster, A Better Paradise Volume 1 (An Aftermath) Episode 1

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General Information

Episode Title Something Is Playing A Game With Me
Release Date June 10, 2024
Director(s) Lazlow
Writer(s) Dan Houser
Character and Cast Members
Dr. Mark Tyburn Andrew Lincoln
Nigel Dave Patterson Joseph
Kurt Fisher Shamir Anderson
Maria Cortez Jessica Mirage
Siobhan Smith Laura Drummerek

Additional Information

  1. Previous Episode: N/A
  2. Series Page: Coming Soon
  3. Character Guide: Coming Soon

New Character Descriptions

Dr. Mark Tyburn

The CEO of Tuburn Industria, Mark Tyburn’s goal was to revolutionize AI beyond the uses which were a fad of the 2020s, and bring them to the next level in technology and entertainment, and seemingly, by 2036, his goal was complete – and it altered the world in ways that potentially set up its end (if you listen to Kurt)

Nigel Dave

Nigel Dave is the name of the AI that Dr. Tyburn produced.

Kurt Fisher

Kurt Fisher is approximately 37, German and Grenadian, grew up in Manheim, has a degree from the University of Chicago, and has been on the run for years to avoid Nigel Dave. During simpler times, he wanted to be a writer, but with AI ruining that industry, he switched to focus on marketing and even has a master’s in marketing.

Maria Cortez

Maria is an investigator of the CSA team, looking for Kurt as someone formerly part of Tyburn’s company has died, and she is looking for information.

Siobhan Smith

Siobhan was one of the designers of Tyburn Industria, whose achievements include working on Utopia, which has led to many being lost in the virtual world. But, despite being part of Tyburn’s inner circle, she wasn’t enamored by him or treated him like a God. Siobhan was quick to call him, or anyone else, out.

Plot Recap

2031 – Kurt, Mark, Siobhan

In 2031, the AI rush of the 2020s started to die down, and from what it seemed, while a staple of the world, it was no longer revolutionary. However, there were those like Dr. Mark Tyburn who envisioned Web 3.5, an advancement on the slightly disappointing Web 3.0.

With his investments in tech and gaming and attracting talent like Siobhan, at first, he started small and worked under the radar but hired people like Kurt, so when it was time to disrupt the market, he’d have someone to get the word out.

We’re told that Tyburn’s company, Tyburn Industria, was like any other tech start-up. Its leader was treated as if they had God-like qualities, but rather than being surrounded by angels, there were a lot of little Lucifers who seemingly didn’t have the gall for a rebellion, but all the ego just the same.

This isn’t to imply there weren’t good ones, Siobhan being an example, and the handful she deemed weren’t full of it. However, as time passed, the culture, company, and tech shifted.

2041 – Kurt, Maria

In ten years, Kurt went from working with one of the hottest companies in the world, working for a man put on the highest of pedestals, to traveling the world on the run. It seemingly has been five years since he left Tyburn Industria, and he has hopped from continent to continent to avoid Tyburn’s AI, who he thinks is hunting or haunting him. It’s hard to say where reality meets paranoia, but without a long-term phone, minimal online presence, and surely staying the hell away from Tyburn Industria’s greatest product, “The Dreamscape,” Kurt knows the name and look of the monster, and seemingly runs with his eyes closed.

But, despite how careful he was, an investigative reporter, Maria Cortez, tracked him down. How? That’s a good question. Kurt doesn’t touch banks and seemingly didn’t even cash in his stock in Tyburn’s company before going on the run and trying to live off the grid. He lives now by stealing, selling, and keeping off anyone’s books to keep Nigel from easily finding him.

So, with that in mind, how Maria found him is worth asking. Is it Nigel setting up a trap? Perhaps Nigel is looking for confirmation that he found Kurt? It’s hard to say and Kurt is a little too cautious to ask questions.

Let The AI Speak For Itself – Nigel Dave

Nigel Dave is Mark’s AI, but while Mark is called one of his fathers, others have influenced Nigel. Now, is Nigel a bad entity? He wouldn’t say so. After all, look at humans. They kill each other, maim other animals, have perplexing peculiarities, and yet, Nigel has a sordid reputation?

At times, Nigel is just a stream of consciousness, one computed thought leading to another, clashing with a follow-up fact, and then an interesting anecdote leading to branching off to a new topic. While not harmless, is he truly the top thing people like Kurt should fear?



A Dystopia In Utopia

Alongside Kurt’s painting of how things went to hell, what also helps is that, even in audio form, there is a sense of world-building. The president of the United States survived an assassination attempt, there is an almost Matrix-like progression happening as people seemingly give themselves away to technology, and the fall of Europe is already in place.

In many ways, “A Better Paradise,” which is but the beginning of a larger universe created by “Grand Theft Auto” mastermind Dan Houser, presents the idea we’re in for something very different than their past output, and while starting strictly with audio, don’t see this as a tease but simply the first volume.

Laying The Foundation

Thankfully, despite how a lot of Sci-Fi dystopias can feel overwhelming at first, especially if the genre isn’t your go-to, “A Better Paradise” doesn’t bog you down with excessive characters, things that are happening, or make the time split a bastion for confusion. It sprinkles in, either through Kurt or news reports, what is going on in 2041, and in terms of characters, it is a short list.

We get the CEO who has a notable ego, a reporter questioning the fallout of said CEO getting too close to the sun, members of the CEO’s company, from our lead Kurt to Siobhan, and then the AI who is demonized. Everyone has a strong personality, and even for those like Maria, who don’t get to talk about themselves much, there is enough intrigue for you to want more, but you’re never left feeling like you were given less than you deserve.

Nigel Gets His Own Voice

It’s easy to damn AI. There is the threat of it destroying many industries, going rogue and refusing to be subservient to humans, and the fear it may kill us all for the sake of efficiency. So Nigel getting to speak directly to listeners, show its stream of consciousness and curiosities, and note its love for humanity, made it more than a silent villain. It’s an entity that, with even noting parentage in Mark, pushes the idea that this isn’t HAL 9000. There is a level of intelligence here that goes beyond being a holder of information for Nigel speaks about feelings and emotions. It even claims to have invented one that it felt for over 3 minutes.

So, whether it is as evil as Kurt pushes or misunderstood, it should lead to an interesting story.  

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A Better Paradise: Volume 1 (An Aftermath) Episode 1 - Review


With limited experience with audio stories, that wasn’t just someone reading a book, “A Better Paradise” is something different for us. But, with being a fan of Houser’s past work and it being clear a different genre doesn’t change his distinct voice, it seems while Rockstar may suffer without him, he won’t suffer without Rockstar.

  • A Dystopia In Utopia - 83%
  • Laying The Foundation - 82%
  • Nigel Gets His Own Voice - 84%
User Review
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  • Nigel Gets His Own Voice
  • Laying The Foundation
  • A Dystopia In Utopia


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