The common lament about today's choice-driven adventures is that player decisions ultimately don't seem to matter. Not so with the upcoming episodic series The Council, according to indie French studio Big Bad Wolf.
The Council takes place in the late 18th century, with players "taking the role of secret society member Louis de Richet after his invitation to a private island off the shores of England by the enigmatic Lord Mortimer." Other attending members of this prestigious reception include "a number of high profile guests, including Napoleon Bonaparte and President of the newly-formed United States of America, George Washington." The stakes for this particular gathering are very personal for the protagonist, however, as "Richet’s own mother has recently gone missing on the island, while each and every one of the colorful cast seems to have their own hidden agendas."
It'll be up to you to figure out what happened, but you must "trust no one while uncovering dire truths – no matter the cost to mind and body." Along the way, you will be forced to "make hard-hitting decisions, develop an array of skills and directly impact how the story unfolds." Will you attempt to "solve issues with diplomacy, delve into occultism to expand your historical and scientific knowledge, or play detective and see what others do not perceive"? The choice is yours, with over 15 different skills available to tailor to your approach.
Unlike most narrative adventures, The Council promises "permanent, long-lasting consequences" to your decisions as you "plunge into a tale of intrigue and manipulation in the style of a classic murder mystery." Rather than simply picking from stock dialogue options and binary action choices, this game revolves around "maneuvering through character encounters using the unique Social Influence system." During your many personal conversations, "skills and limited resources can be used to gain the upper hand and achieve the desired outcome. Players will be rewarded for their knowledge of each character’s psychological vulnerabilities and immunities, as well as their preparations made during prior exploration and investigation."
Failure in such confrontations, however, does not end the game – nor does it allow you to retry. Instead, all decisions and their repercussions are final, and may even "result in persistent physical disfigurements or mental traits that help or hinder the rest of the player’s adventure." So choose wisely, as "the results will forever alter the life of Louis de Richet, of those around him, and shape history as we know it."
Published by Focus Home Interactive, there will be five installments of The Council in total, with the first episode, The Mad Ones, set to in February 2018 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.