If you’re a fan of strong narrative games and not just visual novels, your choices are better now than ever. Recently, I’ve been made aware of an episodic series called The Council from French developer Big Bad Wolf and brought to us from Focus Home Interactive. The storyline is ingenious from my perspective: an alternate 18th Century where a secret society connects some of the most consequential figures of the era like Napoleon and George Washington. Against that backdrop, the player has to maneuver and survive in a world of machinations, secret agenda and no one to truly have their back.
Here is the synopsis:
The Council begins in 1793, with players taking the role of secret society member Louis de Richet after his invitation to a private island off the shores of England by the enigmatic Lord Mortimer. Joining him are a number of high profile guests, including Napoleon Bonaparte and President of the newly-formed United States of America, George Washington. The strange nature of this private reception goes beyond just the prestigious guests –Richet’s own mother has recently gone missing on the island, while each and every one of the colorful cast seems to have their own hidden agendas.
In a new twist for the genre, the core of The Council’s gameplay comes from manipulating and maneuvering through character encounters using the unique Social Influence system. During confrontations, skills and limited resources can be used to gain the upper hand and achieve the desired outcome. Players will be rewarded for their knowledge of each character’s psychological vulnerabilities and immunities, as well as their preparations made during prior exploration and investigation. Failing an encounter does not mean ‘game over’, and no action can be taken back. The consequences are permanent, and may result in persistent physical disfigurements or mental traits that help or hinder the rest of the player’s adventure.
While this is not a visual novel, I am looking forward to playing this game very soon. It is currently on Episode 3 with two more episodes to go before its conclusion. If it is everything it says it is then, in my opinion, it will lock down the future of the Adventure Game genre that Telltale reinvigorated. Below is a video feature on the creation of the series and you can get more information about it here. JP3: OUT.