‘Ambition: A Minuet in Power’ is an upcoming game by indie developers ‘Joy Manufacturing Co.’. The game follows a young woman named Yvette who travelled to Paris to be with her lover, however once she’s arrived he’s nowhere to be seen! The resilient Yvette decides to make the most of her poor situation, and begins climbing the social ladder – who knows where she will end up! The game is expected to launch in 2018, in the meantime the developer’s have a kickstarter running where you can support the game. I recently chatted to Luther, founder of Joy Manufacturing Co., about what made Ambition special.
You mention that with Ambition the gameplay is randomised, every time you play will be like stepping into an entirely new game – how difficult with this to achieve?
While this kind of randomization (also called ‘procedural generation’) can be difficult to implement, it’s something we’ve wanted to do with Ambition since the very beginning. Therefore, we built the game from the ground up with those considerations in mind. This makes it significantly easier to implement than if we wanted to do so at a later stage of development. However, the most difficult part of making any game featuring these kinds of systems is the testing. After all, when so many variations of the world can occur, isolating individual instances where the system breaks can be tricky. What if the conditions to create that bug just don’t appear on your particular testing playthrough? Thankfully, we’re already planning tools that should make this easier.
As the game is set during quite a conservative time period, how will pursuing romantic partners differ from other games? Will romantic dialogue/ scenes be filled with danger and suspense?
That’s the plan! Danger and suspense will certainly be a part of each relationship, as this was a time period where even who you dated had serious political implications. Some of the main differences that immediately come to mind:
Almost all of your possible partners will be associated with a major political faction in the game. Who you see isn’t just a romantic choice, but a mechanical one. You may love that dashing noble who lives for the monarchy, but what if the revolutionaries are going to win? Do you love them enough to put yourself in serious danger by associating with an enemy of the revolution? What about seeing someone who’s a member of the clergy?
Some of your romantic options might already be married. As I mention in the Kickstarter video, 18th century France was a time of serial adultery, some of the rumored affairs between nobles almost becoming legends of their own. If you start seeing someone who’s married, you start making enemies, and fast. This can make your life pretty difficult, but perhaps it’ll be worth it? You’ll have to find out yourself.
You are not limited to only romancing male characters in the game. Lesbian relationships are as old as humanity itself (if not older), so we’d be remiss to leave them out of the game. However, these relationships will be taking place in a very conservative society that looks down on such things. On the plus side, this means that anyone willing to enter into such a relationship with you, against the general will of society, would have to be devoted to you indeed.
It’s possible to romance multiple characters in Ambition at the same time. This means that some of your relationships might be secrets from each other. This allows you to get a lot of benefits at the same time… I’d just advise against getting caught.
Yvette seems like a pretty bad ass MC, how important was it to create a character who took charge of her own destiny?
Yvette’s strong desire to seize her destiny was another one of those things we set in stone at the very beginning of development. We wanted the character to feel powerful, even if her power wasn’t physical. One of the best ways to establish a character’s power is by giving them a level of certainty, or belief in themselves. Someone could hold all the power in the world, but it means nothing if they can never decide what to do with it. Yvette is from a small town in the country, but always felt like she deserved more. That creates drive, need, and hunger. We want players to feel motivated when they play the game, so their ambition in the game matches that of the character they’re playing.
The underlying theme of the game is ‘Ambition’, does Yvette as a morally grey character ever go too far, or does the ends justify the means?
I wanted to leave that particular scenario up to the player. Everyone has different morals, so each of our players might see the same events in different lights. However, most of the more nefarious things the player will be able to do in the game will only happen due to the player choosing to do them. Nobody is forcing you to sell gossip to newspapers, blackmail nobles, or poison people. Doing that is up to you. Do the ends justify the means? That’s also up to you.
How difficult will it be for players to master the art of social seduction to ultimately claim a good ending? That is, if there are good endings?
The difficulty of the game will be one of the last things we ‘dial in’ during our testing period. However, I’d like to it to be so that, on average, it takes 2-3 runs of the game for the Player to get one of the ‘good’ endings. With this in mind, one of our objectives is to make it feel like, even when you get a ‘bad’ ending, you still had a satisfactory story. Sometimes your ending might be tragic, but it should always be interesting.
While we shouldn’t expect Les Miserables style ballads, how does sound and music help immerse players in the French Revolution Period?
Music is a major part of the game for us, as it’s so critical in establishing a sense of place and time. This is why we brought on our composer, John Robert Matz. John has a lot of experience in period-correct compositions, which will help us transport the players back to 18th century France. Expect a lot of dramatic harpsichords! For those who are interested in a sample of our music, you can find our first released track ‘So. Much. More.’ at this link here.
The kickstarter for Ambition has just a few days to go! If you’d like to support this incredible game, click here. If you’d like to follow the progress of Ambition, check out their social media accounts Facebook Page, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube Channel . Thank you again to Luther from Joy Manufacturing Co. for the interview – I look forward to seeing Ambition meet its target and Yvette become the queen she was meant to be!