Getting to talk at length with the developer of a game is a wonderful thing. Rise of Venice, an impressive new offering from Kalypso Media, lends itself extremely well to this type of dialogue, given the layers of complexity involved in its development, and by extension the remarkable ambition of the people who created it. You learn about the challenges that went into making it, such as writing a new gaming engine, deciding whether or not to include land combat, or how to improve different camera modes so players don’t have to sit through a loading screen every time they want to switch views – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s what I gathered during my comprehensive look at this upcoming title:
Developer Sebastian Walter eloquently introduced the campaign to the writers gathered around him for the preview, speaking better English than I do in his charming, thick German accent:
We’re looking at Venice at the peak of its power during the Renaissance, and at this time it was viewed as a city of decadence, beauty, and intrigue, and it was also renowned as the lynchpin of civilization, and the cultural center of Europe.
You take the role of a young man striving for success, wealth, and power, and you’re coming originally from a mercenary’s family, which was very common at this time, although they didn’t have much prestige. So, it was the wish of your dying grandfather [here a cutscene unfolds for us as the introduction to the campaign] to break with the mercenaries and advance your rank in the Venetian society by becoming one of the famous traders in Italy, by setting up your very own trading empire.
Badass. Who doesn’t enjoy striving to get rich? I certainly do. You start the game with a small fleet of ships, but family is everything, and you can rely on a wealthy uncle or two at first to help you gain a little traction in the trading community. Sebastian introduced us to the ruling families of Venice, a council of extraordinary power and influence in the city, and it will be up to the player to decide who can be trusted, whose favor to seek, and whom to scorn.
well-known documentary that featured Great Whites exploding out of the water as they hunted seal, and the effect left a great impression on everyone there.
Imaginative animations like that are simply one more indicator of the talent that has clearly gone into this project, and I’ll be excited to try out the final version. If you’re not familiar with the earlier series, but have played and loved games like Civilization, Anno, Total War: Shogun 2, etc., then Rise of Venice is a title you won’t want to miss out on. Look for a release in September on Steam for PC, and head over to the official website for screenshots, videos, and plenty of additional information. Buona fortuna!