So, in light of this, I've put together some loose ideas for the world of Hover Carnage. I'd like the entire game created with an internally-consistent universe and story in mind, rather than some lame plot that's thrown together at the last minute to comprise the marketing copy on the back of a box. This is not to imply that I'm any great author or anything. I just think that it'd be kinda neat to actually make an action game with a whole-hearted attempt at story and setting. So here goes.
The insatiable demand for molecular construction soon begins to outpace the rather finite supply of nearby asteroids. Before long, disputes arise among the major corporations over asteroid mining rights, and grisly hovercraft combat ensues. As the sole employee of an independent armored transport company, you have no choice but to protect your territory and expand your holdings. Even if that requires a micronuke or two.
So you've got this economy based on matter, data, and services, with a handful of large corporations keeping it all going. Each corporation has fenced itself off in a huge arcology on the surface of the planet, but a business still needs to obtain raw material and information from outside sources in order to function. That's where you come in. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to act as a courier of matter and data among the corporations of Earth. Your road is the intricate network of transporation tunnels beneath the surface of the planet, and your vehicle is your trusty hovercraft.
Because just about every last centimeter of Earth is claimed by one corporation or another, the arcologies must get most of their raw matter from elsewhere in the solar system. But most corporations are based on Earth, so matter must be shipped there via spacecraft from the various offworld mining facilities. So if you're at all interested in transporting matter to an arcology, you'll probably be spending quite a bit of time picking up shipments at the local spaceport. The other source of raw matter is at a corporate matter reclamation facility, where outdated computers and broken hovercraft are recycled.
While any given company has its own mining operations going to ensure a steady matter flow, it is usually dependent on purchasing information from other corporations. So it makes sense that data transportation is quite a booming business. However, this is made rather difficult by the fact that there exists no world-wide internet anymore. Each corporate arcology has its own internal network, but the system of tunnels beneath the surface is too dangerous for any permanent global network to stay in place. Thus when transporting information, you can either store it in your ship's computers and manually run it from one corporation to another, or you can work on building up your own network of data relays within the tunnels to ease data transfer.
There are generally two general ways to make a living as an armored courier. One is to gain a reputation as reliable and trustworthy, and then contract with corporations for their specific transportation needs. This requires sticking closely to what the companies ask of you, even so far as picking up particular shipments at certain times, but the payoffs can be potentially quite lucrative. The other way is to simply buy low and sell high as a sort of high-tech tradesman, taking your goods where the demand is. This approach affords a lot more freedom in how and where you buy and sell your goods.