Demis Hassabis is by all accounts something of a genius. Co-creator of the multimillion selling Theme Park at the age of 17, he went on to earn a double first in Computer Science at Cambridge University, was a chess master at 12, and has been named an International Grand Master thanks to his numerous medals at the Mind Sports Olympics. What does this have to do with the price of fish, we hear you cry? It just happens that Hassabis, at age 25, is head of Elixir Studios, with more than sixty developers under his wing, working feverishly on their first project - Republic: The Revolution. When we met him, Hassabis appeared understandably nervous. He was showcasing the fledgling project for only the second time to a major press audience, and there's nothing more nerve-wracking than a flock of journalists waiting to be pleased. As it turned out, there's little for him to be nervous about. Although hesitant to begin with, his clear passion for the subject matter shone through, and before long the select audience was swept away with the dark-haired bigwig as he led us into a world of conspiracy, espionage, and good old-fashioned skulduggery. In our minds, it's time for a bit of a videogame revolution. The game's premise is deceptively simple - raise a revolution in the remote Soviet Republic of Novistrana, overthrow the president (who, incidentally, murdered your parents - bad man!), and take his place. Based on the boardgame Junta -- a favourite of Hassabis at college -- that simple premise conceals a cacophony of actions so vast, we're more than aware it will take more than a short demonstration to grasp them all. One thing's for certain - nothing about the game is standard, from character creation onwards. "Character selection will feature a short psychometric test, which effectively decides your initial ideology, what your starting statistics are for your main character - your avatar," explained Hassabis. These statistics increase in power as you gain in levels in the game, but to start a game with a physical representation of yourself that's more accurate than not is a novel experience to say the least. You start in the small town of Ekaterine - your childhood hometown, as it happens. Recruiting from amongst old friends, you create your faction, and begin to move against the dominant factions of the day - the Democracy Now Party, the government itself, and others. Of course, events take their turn, and you must consolidate your power in an increasingly hostile environment, as you progress to a larger city, then on to the nation's capital where you directly confront the president. Gameplay is as open as it could possibly be. You have objectives, both minor and major, with at least three to choose from at any one point. But other than the eventual goal - achieving presidency - the path to power is very much up to you. The routes to take are largely split into three main ideologies -- the same three that essentially divide much of the game's dynamic -- force, influence, and money. Hassabis explained, "There are three ways you can take your ideology, and there are three ways of completing the game - a military coup, a people's uprising, and forcing your opponent to resign. You can never be three things at once: if you become more force-like, you automatically become less of the other two." Particular characters respond to different ideologies, and the same applies to the population. Working class areas are largely force-oriented, middle class influence, and upper class areas unsurprisingly think only in terms of cold, hard, cash. "Depending on which way you want to go, you'll need to appeal to that class of citizen." Your own faction's ideology starts off oriented somewhere on a sliding scale between them, but as you continue to exert influence in terms of your actions in the world, that ideology can shift to determine your endgame. "Every action you do in the game contributes in a small way to your ideology," he continued. "If you start off very money oriented, by doing a lot of force actions: military and criminal actions, your faction will start becoming a force faction, and will start appealing to force characters." The game is split into days - with three eight game-hour sections per day (each of which takes four real-time minutes - still with us?). Three game days form a game week, and at the end of this time, your influence in each area of the town is calculated to provide you with resources according to the population that believes in you - force, influence and money. These resources are your bread and butter for actions in the world. And actions are where it's at. Each member of your faction (of which you can have a maximum of six in a city) can perform actions depending upon their character class -- clerical professions are good at nice things, charity work, and the like, and naturally thugs are better at strong-arm tactics. Their proficiencies are determined by their ideology, and again, your alignment will affect this. "The ideology you decide to align with doesn't preclude you from recruiting characters from other ideologies," said Hassabis. "It's just that firstly, they're much harder to recruit, and secondly, they're a lot harder to retain and keep happy. There's nothing stopping you, even as a priest, from recruiting criminals to your faction, but they'll take a lot more hand-holding to keep them happy." "There are 180 actions in the game," he continued. "With three levels of each action. So each character will only have access to between three and nine of those actions." He ran us through several of the actions available to increase your power in a city. In the space of a few minutes, we'd bribed an opponent to join our faction, distributed leaflets extolling our virtues, held a military recruitment fair in a lower class area, threatened someone, and spied out an area for potential exploitation. Not bad for a day's work. Actions are planned out on a small calendar, then enacted in the world by the avatars of your faction members, and here's where the game goes from interesting, to brilliant. Each action must be tied to a location. "Each location is rated according to several ratings, the most important of which are secrecy and impressiveness. Certain actions work better in more secret locations, and vice versa," said Hassabis. Beating someone up in a busy street isn't the smartest of moves. That's because the populace isn't dumb. In fact, they're something of a revolution in themselves, seeing as every single person in the city is not only gifted with a separate AI, but also with a routine - job, home, and thoughts of their own. Stop any of them in the street, and they'll tell you what's on their minds, more often than not a hint that may well aid you in your path to power. "Clearly life is ongoing, with or without you getting involved," said Hassabis. "So for example, there's homeless people wandering the streets: all these things show you the current state of the country. So if you're doing well, and appealing to people in a force district, you might see less of these tramps around, than if you were doing badly and weren't trying to gain support there." Enemy agents are active in the town as well - often information signs will pop up, which given enough scouting and information gathering will let you know just what the enemy is up to. Just as you're manoeuvring for power, so are they, often in direct opposition to your attempts. The actions are carried out in real time, and with certain scenes, you can interact with them to ensure their success. "You can use tweaks to directly affect what you're seeing," said Hassabis. "In an illegal fight club, for example, you can adjust the level of violence. In something simple like surveying an area, you can direct the areas your surveyor takes an interest in." He ran us through a short conversation game -- essentially a simplified game of poker -- which must be played through when the power of persuasion needs to be enacted on your target. Things can be left to the computer, but your chances of success are halved. The visuals for the scenes as they are played out aren't overly complex, but they are clear, and full to the brim with personality. Even the reactions of the proletariat to your in-game avatars are customised to their actual response - there are no fill-in stock animations, no matter what's going on. That's what's so astonishing about the world of Republic - it's stacked with individuals, and it's to them that you're attempting to appeal to, dominate, or just straight out brutalise (you savage!). The game is so personalised, that even the end-of-level cutscenes are directly altered by the actions you've taken. They'll replay a montage of your actions: your successes, and failures, interposed with your avatar giving a rousing speech to his adoring party members. Talk about drawing you into the action. Republic presents a world where can really lose yourself; malleable to your most gentle touch, composed of individuals you can, and have to relate to. We're strapped for an example of a game similar to Republic, the closest being something of a bastard cross between JoWooD's under-appreciated Europa 1400: The Guild, and Civilisation. One thing's for certain: we can't wait for the revolution, we shall wave our banner proudly comrade, and the world (if it has any sense), will wave along with us. You don't have to be a genius to work that one out. fonte: gamesdomain.com Pics aqui!