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There's a new blog post by Felipe Pepe up on Gamasutra, in which he makes an argument and general request for an injection of politics- and economy-related content within role-playing games. He points to the way in which this was handled in previous titles such as Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny, Divinity: Dragon Commander, Fable III, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, and others as a means to talk about how these themes have been handled in the past, and the considerations that need to be made before going down such a path:
Dragon Commander is a unique RTS / Board Game / Political Simulator hybrid where you are a half-dragon emperor who leads armies into the field against Ancient Evilâ„¢ and also rules the kingdom.
While the RTS part is rather unfinished (sorry Larian), the game is incredibly interesting for its political debate. Your kingdom contains five races: Undead, Elves, Imps, Dwarf and Lizards. They assemble at a council, and regularly present policies for you to enforce or discard.
Far from the stupidity of Fable III, here each of the 60 policies presented are representative of real-world issues - Public Health Care, Gun Ownership, Piracy, Torture, Deporting Criminals, Press Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage and even Breastfeeding in Public.
These policies are argued for or against by the five council members. While each is rather archetypal, they aren't GOOD nor EVIL, just different; making points you often hear in real-world's debates.
I.e., should there be Government Healthcare?
- Elves demand it, for there's a huge income gap;
- Imps approve, for they are often injured;
- Lizards think it's good for the people (and will piss off Dwarves);
- Undead say nay, for that would interfere with the work of the Gods;
- Dwarves are outraged, for it would cost a fortune and "lead to laziness".
What do YOU think?
There's no GOOD OR EVIL choice here, no moral judgment from the developers. The consequences of your choice are nothing but logical - some factions will like you more, other dislike you more. Approving Public Healthcare makes the population happier, but also increases your expenses.
This isn't propaganda, there's no agenda being pushed here - it only presents a very real issue, show some contrasting views and ask you to reflect on that. Then deal with the consequences of your choice.