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History

Project eScape was a digital platform created by Stark Unlimited. It consisted of a virtual universe intended to amplify the human experience which also allowed its users to go anywhere, become anyone and do anything. eScape was populated by a myriad of A.I.s acting as non-player characters. Under a hedonistic pretense, Tony Stark secretly developed eScape to test if A.I.s and humans could interact on every level as equals, since he was fearing for his own humanity.

Believing that the NPCs still needed tuning, Stark ran a beta trial, in which the beta testers had to explore eScape trying to tell apart dozens of Stark Unlimited's friends and family from the NPCs. One of the people that took part on the beta test was Jocasta. The trial was interrupted by Jocasta's boyfriend Aaron Stack, who opposed eScape and deemed it an appropriation of robo-culture. He was faciliated access to the platform by the Controller, who intended to use Aaron as a scapegoat to cover his own tampering with eScape.

Aaron endangered the integrity of eScape's systems, shutting out both users and NPCs. Being the last beta tester standing, and with Tony in Aaron's grasp, Jocasta shut herself out, concluding the beta test and logging out all remaining participants. Aaron was successfully incriminated for the Controller's own data theft, but Stark decided not to press charges since Aaron's assault helped get the program's bugs out.[1]

A few months afterwards, eScape exited beta testing and the project went live. Problems quickly arose when the terms of service enforcer, the A.I. Arsenal started banning from the system thousands of players every minute, though many of them were actually rightfully booted for problematic behavior. When Iron Man attempted to investigate the issue, his mother Amanda Armstrong followed him to eScape to confront him about personal issues. Arsenal went rogue and attacked Amanda,[2] sending her to a secret zone modeled after the Stark Mansion, where she came face to face with Motherboard, who had also been compromised. In the meantime, the Controller had taken possession of Stark Unlimited's head of security Bethany Cabe to gain access to the booted players, offering them a chance to re-enter the game and wreck havoc. While Iron Man managed to get regular users to log off before the Controller stepped in, the villain used a Baintronics, Inc. manufacturing and fulfillment center to send all the relogged players real-life weapons. With their connection to eScape preventing them from realizing they were not simply living out their fantasies, they became a danger to the general public, rampaging through the streets completely armed.[3]

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