Released in January 2014, Consortium was a first-person single-player shooter/RPG which involved a lot of walking about on a futuristic aircraft manned by a multi-national crew, managing interpersonal relationships, and making choices according to a preferred playstyle. It also had a fascinating Quantum Leap meta-plot to bypass the difficulties of introducing players to a new world. The game basically took out the middle man.
Where normally you’d roleplay a character, you instead play as yourself hijacking that character’s brain and have to bullshit your way through things your character should know, but YOU don’t. It’s like putting on a white coat and being mistaken for a Doctor, just roll with it (Disclaimer: Don’t do that. Four people died on the operating table. I was exiled from Birmingham). Or you could ditch the subterfuge and confess everything. See what happens when you tell the crew this is all a computer game. Gregory MacMartin, CEO of iDGi commented on that when discussing the announcement,
“No two players can have the exact same experience. The iDGi-1 Interactive Narrative Technology allows for a unique combination of scripted narrative and player agency. By harnessing and building upon existing technology, mechanics and content developed for Consortium, The Tower Prophecy will push the boundaries of seamlessly blending narrative and player freedom even further, and will offer a more polished and well-rounded experience.”
Consortium ended all too soon on a cliffhanger, but a sequel may be in sight. Developer Interdimensional Games has announced Consortium: The Tower will come to Kickstarter on January 18th 2016 and has previously promised everything from inventory to character relationships can be imported from the first game and will have an impact. Consortium: The Tower shall be standalone and is aiming for a release on Mac and console platforms, unlike the first game that was confined to PC Windows, and will be utilizing the new Unreal 4 engine. Its title refers to the Churchill Tower, a huge advanced skyscraper at the heart of London that the player is rapidly heading towards in a mid-air jump to rescue hostages from a terrorist organization.
Consortium’s short length left me hungry for much more; hopefully there are enough gamers who feel the same way and don’t mind paying upfront. It was quite ballsy to say the decisions of the first Consortium game will impact the sequel. We’ve certainly heard that before from studios who have access to higher resources (#masseffect3neverforget), but who knows? Consortium was full of surprises, boasting enormous replayability and a strong cast like Shirley Millner, the voice of Hexadecimal from the late 90s television show ReBoot.