Yvette Decaux, young woman finds herself alone in the streets of Paris, far from home and abandoned by the love of her life. In that moment, she decides to live for herself and seek her own passions, as France marches towards a violent uprising that will change history forever. Navigate the twisting social politics of pre-revolutionary Paris in a game world that’s different every time you play. Court, snub and seduce your way to the top of society. Extend your influence, uncover the intrigue of the coming revolution, and ensure that you end up on the winning side of history.
All though it has only been shown briefly on this blog, I have a real love for anything related to the French Revolution. So, when I saw Ambition: Minuet in Power it immediately grabbed my attention not only because of the time period, but because Yvette –the main character– seems really interesting in her ambitions and the mysteries that surround her.
However, the game seems to be unique in how it wants to deal with the events that are surrounding pre-revolutionary Paris and how Yvette will navigate all these rivaling factions through attending events, talking to people, and being dressed in the most high-end fashion France can offer!
I got to talk and asks some questions to the Luther Patenge, the forerunner to creation of Ambition in regards to the game, Yvette, and the French Revolution!
What is your personal background with Dating Sims and/or Rouge games? Any personal favorites?
My introduction to Dating Sims was originally through the Interactive Fiction genre. I grew up on old RPGs like ‘Fallout’, so I’m fond of games that use of lot of the written word to convey their story. My personal favorites for Interactive Fiction is Telltale’s ‘The Wolf Among Us‘. For Dating Sims, I’d have to pick ‘Ladykiller in a Bind’. As for Rogue-Like games, my introduction was through FTL: Faster Than Light. I was so impressed by how different each playthrough felt, due to seemingly tiny factors. For me, it was a revelation. My personal favorite for Rogue-Like games is ‘The Binding of Isaac‘, even though I’m awful at it.
How were you inspired to create the concept of Ambition come to be?
Ha ha ha… that’s an interesting one! My former roommate and I liked to spend our Sunday nights getting drunk and watching really old movies. We were watching the 1948 version of the ‘The Three Musketeers‘ (featuring Gene Kelley, Angela Lansbury and Vincent Price!) when we realized that the most interesting character was the villainess, Lady De Winter. While the king could just tell people what to do, and the musketeers could just stab anyone they didn’t like, Lady De Winter didn’t have any of that power. Instead she had to work, constantly, to get her way. She was always socializing, always scheming, always seducing, always poisoning people. It was kind of inspiring. We realized that games never let you play as someone like that, so we started joking about what that game would be like. That’s what got the initial idea rolling. Eventually I moved the time period to the moments right before the French Revolution, because the period felt like a better fit.
Are you drawing inspiration/influence from other media that take place in 18th century France?
The anime ‘Rose of Versailles‘ has been a big inspiration for us. They had such a fantastic way of making such a complex period of history feel personal, engaging, and intuitive. The moment I watched it, I knew the game had to feature dramatic harpsichords in the soundtrack. Otherwise, I’ve mostly been reading history books. When we first started off, I was wondering if there would be enough material for us to make a full game out of it, but now that I’m really deep in it, I’m having trouble imagining how we’d fit everything in!
What is your favorite part of creating Ambition so far?
I think my favorite part has been the excitement of our team. It’s a small team of dedicated people, which means we have a lot of freedom. Everyone feels like they have ownership and control of the game and that breeds an infectious enthusiasm. It’s hard to work on something like this when people are just treating it like a job, but when the rest of your team is putting out such good work, you feel like you really need to give it your all.
How was Yvette created? Was your favorite thing about her thus far?
Now, the writer isn’t supposed to say this but, Yvette was created in kind of a backwards fashion. We started with this very solid idea for what we wanted the game to be, and how we wanted it to make the player feel. We started asking ourselves, “We have this situation, that’s so dangerous yet so elegant. What kind of person would thrive in this environment?” From there, Yvette started to emerge. We knew she had to be ambitious, intelligent, alluring, and a little ruthless. Normally these traits, all put together, are the sort of thing that makes a villain, but we’re not making a normal story. Yvette embodies that feeling where you know you’re doing something wrong, but it feels great anyway. She always thinks she’s the smartest person in the room, and she’s often right. My favorite thing about her is her stinging sense of humor.
Who is your favorite character so far?
My favorite character so far is probably your faithful handmaiden, Camille. She’s the youngest child from a poor family, but is always trying to find the upside to any situation, even when it’s ridiculous. The quote we like to use for her is “Don’t worry about the house fire, it’ll get rid of all the rats!” The time right before the French Revolution was a dark and difficult period for many people in France, so it’s fun to write a character who isn’t willing to let a negative situation get to them.
Will the audience get to meet the character that Yvette can pursue soon?
Yvette will be able to pursue a variety of characters throughout the game, though it’s a little too early for us to start publicly introducing them. Stay tuned for those announcements, I guarantee you’ll be among the first to know!
Can we date any famous people from that era, like Danton or Robespierre?
While we haven’t settled on our final roster of dateable characters, we certainly want to include several important figures from history. I’m personally hoping to include Talleyrand. While he wasn’t a very handsome man, he was known for being both brilliant and charming. As a result, he lead a very active romantic life. I hope we can capture those qualities in his character, if we include him.
How did you come up with the calendar and dressing up system? Is is like stat raising?
Living in San Francisco is a lot of fun, but it’s such an active city that I actually had to start using Google Calendars to keep track of all of my social engagements. After having so much trouble keeping up with it all, I realized that it would make a very effective game mechanic. We’ve all had to deal with the pain of having multiple commitments scheduled for the same day, so it’s something every player would immediately understand. As for the dressing up system, I love dressing up for parties (I’m especially fond of lolita fashion). I’m fascinated by this idea that you could be wearing the exact same thing at two different events, but the context you’re in would completely change how you felt about yourself. This inspired our mechanic where each of the factions in the game prefers different kind of outfits from its guests in order to fit in. It’s not just about fitting in, it’s about dressing to impress. While, over the course of the game, the player will get access to outfits and accessories with better stats, the player’s personal stats are tracked via their reputation, both with the various factions and with society in general. Nice clothes can only get you so far, you need the personal credentials to back them up.
You said some scenes might change with each playthrough, do the characters you meet work in the same way?
Yes, depending on your playthrough, certain characters may or may not be present at all. While the characters, at their core, will be the same when they appear; the circumstances you meet them under might be very different. This could change the player’s relationship with that character in a big way.
Lastly, what do you hope people get out of playing Ambition?
While I certainly everyone has fun playing the game, I’m hoping the players particularly enjoy the tension of these social mechanics, even if it’s something they never do in their regular life. I want someone who normally plays shooters to be frustrated by the fact that they have ten ball gowns and nothing to wear. I want someone who normally plays ‘good’ characters to cackle as they drive someone to social ruin. Basically, I want the players to feel like Yvette.
Ambition seems to have a lot building up for it in terms of character (and their potential development), history, and scheming to stay alive. The Joy Manufacturing Co., will be releasing their Kickstarter campaign soon, so consider checking it out if the game has piqued your interest.