Consortium [official site] is a fascinating game and I'll go into a proper sulk if the sequel's Kickstarter fails. Things aren't looking good, with $310,000 left to raise and only a week of the campaign left. The original is an immersive sim that feels like a version of the 'single city block' game. One location and characters that seem to exist and act even when the player isn't there to watch them. To raise awareness of the sequel and its potential qualities, the original is freely available from GOG until 1:59pm GMT tomorrow.
There are several fans of the game among RPS staff and regulars. RPG maestro Richard Cobbett was cautious about giving a full-on recommendation but is an admirer of the game, while Sin Vega has praised its finer qualities at length. I adore it, for what it attempts as much as for what it achieves.
Whether the sequel would achieve all that it attempted, I can't say. But the world wouldn't be quite as interesting if people weren't exploring some of these ideas. And those ideas include the concept of an interactive story that has you roleplay as a version of yourself, playing a game. And NPCs with agency that goes beyond scheduling.
If none of that works for you, it's also sci-fi Die Hard. So there's that.
Download the original now - you've got nothing to lose except a couple of hours of your life, which is as much as it'll take to decide whether this is the game for you. And if it is, you'll probably wish there were more games like it. The Kickstarter is here. There have been plenty of updates since we first checked in with the campaign, including a huge post about "diplomacy and the spoken word".
The most recent update covers character-building.
"As Bishop Six, you will constantly be pushed and pulled from all sides by characters with a wide range of motives and agendas. Due to the meta narrative present, there is no definitive "truth" to start off with, and so you’ll have to find your own truth through dealing with all of these people. Or not... as with Consortium before it, you can play the entire game without speaking a single word.
"Discover their motives to the best of your ability, but always remember that no character can ever truly be trusted within the Consortium universe. Not even Bishop Six himself, the man we control."