About 5 years ago I listened to the entire full season of Mike Duncan’s excellent “Revolutions” podcast dealing with the French Revolution. And I kept noticing these things in the story of the revolution/counter revolution etc.:
A lot of people (men AND women) of very common birth skyrocketed into national prominence and power in an incredibly short period of time. In monarchist Europe, that wasn’t supposed to be possible – but a lot of smart, clever, flawed “commoners” (Marat, Robespierre, Danton, Desmoulins, etc.) ascended to power in an incredibly short span of time.
A lot of those newly-powerful people got their power by rustling a lot of jimmies both at home and abroad. The higher they climbed, the more treacherous things became for them. And a whole lot of them found themselves getting haircuts from Madame Guillotine before it was all over.
And in assessing all of that, they all seemed to face branching decisions and paths where everyone involved, from King Louis to Jacques Necker to Robespierre and Danton, seems to have chosen at different times poorly and wisely.
That last bit is what really stood out to me. There just seemed to be all these points in the developing French Revolution that felt like branching decision paths in a videogame. And I found myself thinking "Man, that’d be a great game – to be someone of rising power at the time of the French Revolution, and trying to make your way through all of it, maybe doing good things for your fellow citizenry, maybe increasing your personal good fortune…but the whole while trying to not get your head cut off.
And so it was just a little bit later when I saw a kickstarter for Ambition: A Minuet in Power. Since then I’ve been watching the development of the game with great interest, and I’ll admit that for a few years there I figured it was never coming out.
But it is out now. And it’s a visual novel, which is a design decision that I’ll admit I didn’t expect from the original Kickstarter pitch.
But it’s also a game with a strategic element to it, too.
And I’ve sunk about 6 hours into it (both from playing the demo, and from the game proper, which released last week – no early access here, we’re 1.01 now) and I’m honestly really enjoying this. A lot.
And it does tick a lot of the boxes for what I kind of wanted a game like this to be like way back when I was listening to that podcast on the French Revolution.
I’ll talk about the gameplay and stuff in a new reply since this is getting long-winded already. But here’s a story trailer:
And the game has a free a demo that takes you through some of the early gameplay loops of the first hour prologue: