We The Revolution was one of the more interesting titles I saw at PAX West 2017. It’s set during the French Revolution (the one in the late 1700s) and players take the role of a judge who reads the facts, questions the accused, and ultimately decides their fate. It’s not just as simple as deciding right and wrong, as decisions you make will affect players’ reputation with different factions, who may feel inclined to come kill you if angered enough. Ultimately, it’s a game of survival and once you get enough political clout, you can get away with more. Though, if you ask the right questions in the right order, you can manipulate the outcomes of cases in your favor.
We The Revolution is a balancing act in the form of trying to find the truth about the many different cases you’ll see over the course of the game. There are three phases to the game, the first of which is the trial where you may see one or more cases in a day. This is the core of the game and where most of the gameplay takes place.
In my demo, a man was accused of murder. Through witness statements and that of the accused, you can read to find key pieces of information, like the accused was prone to violence and a revolutionary involved in handing out pamphlets. If you read a little deeper and ask the right questions, you may find he’s a man troubled by the way his own wife’s murder was handled years ago.
You “combine” a couple of the key facts to a case to ask a question. For example, you can combine the fact that the accused here has a drinking problem and is prone to violence to get a question about if his drinking had anything to do with what happened. If you think about the various facts, you can normally tease out what kind of question you may get out of it, which you’re not forced to ask either. Once you find a question, you can have it sit there as you try to get more, which is important as the order of your questions can influence the jury.
The jury does not decide the fate of the case, you as judge do, but they still play an important role. A meter displaying their general mood will move whichever way based on the questions and answers you receive when asking the accused. If you disagree with the jury too often on cases, you may be seen as a corrupt judge going against the will of the people, so it’s in your best interest to try to sway them to your own line of thinking to avoid having problems. You can get quite involved with them as well, bribing or threatening them.
The jury is something to be wary of with every case and what outcome you’re looking for, but as mentioned before, there are three factions to keep an eye on as well. You have notes you can look at that will tell you what sort of affect a decision you make in a case may have. For example, in the one above, because he’s a common man with some revolutionary ties, that group wouldn’t be too happy with you if you decide to have him executed.
One interesting thing about that is if you do decide to have someone executed, you yourself have to take the responsibility of acting out that execution by pulling the rope. It’s not just a simple cutscene, as you have to click the rope to have it happen. An interesting addition to add more immersion to the choices you make.
In addition to those three factions, the judge’s home life is the second part of the game. Your wife will have her own opinions on her actions and the discussions you have with her will be affected by your choices as well. So on top of the political problems to balance, you have some at home to deal with as well.
The final phase is the strategy part of the game. You can have your own agents go about to the various districts in Paris to find information for you,
We The Revolution will release sometime next year on PC.