DEMIURGOS: Path of the Leviathan
'[Hi]story Driven - Open World - RPG-Adventure' about Politics, Philosophy, Morality and the Pursuit of Power.
DEMIURGOS: Path of the Leviathan
'[Hi]story Driven - Open World - RPG-Adventure' about Politics, Philosophy, Morality and the Pursuit of Power.
Warren Spector (Supporter)
DEMIURGOS.DE [English & German]
DEMIURGOS: Path of the Leviathan is a semi-historical, story and decision driven, dislinear game about Social Science, Politics and Philosophy that is set in a gradually opening, detailed and large world. The player roams this world and interacts with his environment like in an adventure game. At the same time, a large variety of RPG-Elements and -Mechanics like skills, quests, shops and turn based battles are implemented. The game's universe itself is a composite of the political ancient Greece during the Persian wars and the European "long 19. Century"; a time of political und social disturbances. After the downfall of the feudal system, great persons tried to build a completely new order upon its ruins that was to be ruled not by god or tradition, but by the ingenuity of mankind itself. Dominating questions and tendencies of that time ranged from Collectivism and Indiviualism on one side, Pluralism and Totalitarism on the other. To take his place in history, make important decisions, struggle for the true order and change the world in its foundations: these are the tasks the player is destined to tackle in the course of the game.
- Roam a continuously opening, growing and ultimately entirely open, accessible, vivid and detailed world.
- Meet historic social classes: the industrial proletariat, the spartan helotes or the victorian bourgeoisie.
- Strive for the benevolence of the factions to further your own agenda or remain faithful to your spartan homeland.
- Traverse vast areas with numerous enterable buildings - travel throughout the mediterranean and oriental world with modern means of transport.
- Simulate authentically arranged events of the antique Persian wars – in the late age of the industrial revolution.
- The historic continuum has been shattered – the fragments reconstructed like a cubistic painting.
- Interchangeability of historic events, in light of prevailing principles, gives you an altered and unusual perspective on history and it’s conception.
- Blending of philosophic positions and theories demonstrates ambivalence and principality at the same time.
- Experience a gripping action thriller with 9 varying and 3 distinctly different endings.
- Nearly every action influences the course of history – often considerably and sometimes substantially.
- You are no nameless hero.
- You are Achos Polikron – first commissioner of messenai –known to the Politeia for his zealous fervor and great virtue.
- As a powerful individual you step into an unstable world and it is your destiny to fight for true order on this planet.
- Fight for your cause, using a turn-based battle system that is easy to learn but tough to master.
- Actions available to you during battle are influenced and determined by your equipment, your surroundings and your prior decisions.
- Vaporize your enemy using Teslas lightning cannon, seek a dialogue with your ideological adversary or frighten him with your reputation based on past achievements.
- Use the powers of alchemy for your purposes. Prepare potions, explosives or ointments that are essential for your physical and psychological condition.
- Combat the results of mental maladies with the means of modern medicine; for depressions and anxieties can haunt even the emotionally strong - if entangled in constant fighting and suffering.
- The odds in combat can be increased by improving your armory.
- Construct new weapons or modify the ones already available to you.
- Encounter more than 50 of histories defining figures, authentically adapted.
- Each of these personalities is connected to a smaller or larger story, referencing a historic event or illustrating the philosophic-ideologic position of the character.
- Plato’s allegory of the cave and his theory of state; Einstein’s theory of relativity; Karl Marx socialistic ideology; Andy Warhol’s understanding of art; Adam Smith’s principles of economy or Henry Ford’s work ethic, to name just a few examples.
With each passing day our world grows smaller. Technological achievements in the past decades have consistently established trade and international exchange, at the same time leading to cross-national conflicts regarding ethnic and juristic standards and the division of the world as a whole. The states of hellas form a loose net, with differing spheres of interests. Sparta and Athenai represent the antagonizing powers in this net - their endeavors must determine the fate of their people.
Declining industrialization has not only left decadence and wealth, but vast armies of laborers. To control these laborers is imperative and it must be the upmost priority for both of the opposing ideologies. At the same time the Persian Empire is rising again after the disorder of a succession crisis following the Great King.
The Ionic cities in Asia Minor - sensing their chance for independence - are revolting against the new emperor Daraios I. With them they drag all of hellas - driven by national pride, valor and virtue - into a murderous conflict against the peoples of asia, instigating what until today are called the Persian Wars.
Herodot of Halikarnos, known as the father of history, has chronicled these events.
The player assumes the role of Achos Polikron, man of the two faces. Selected by the spartan Krypteia, schooled and trained, physically and mentally, by the leading athletes and philosophers of Greece. As commissioner for the state security of Messenai he plays an essential part in Spartas oppression of the Helots – state-owned slaves in service of the community.
Helots are the backbone of the lacedaimonian agricultural- and industrial-economy, deeming them crucial to the hegemonial position of Sparta and its reason of state.
But it might only take one spark, the Spartan Gerousia assembly believes, to ignite an open rebellion of Helots and the Spartacist-League against their masters. Although suppression of such an uprising should be easy, its potential impact on the helenic balance of power must not be underestimated. Even a short-lived collapse of Spartan rule over Messenai would have a double-weakening effect on the lacedaimonic state: temporary hegemony of Athenai over Hellas and the inevitable military dominance of the Persian empire in the Mediterranean.
Under these circumstances the murder of three alleged helotian ringleaders comes to the attention of the Gerousia. Full of suspicion against rival Athenai, they instruct Achos Polykron to investigate the homicides and uncover a possible athenaian conspiracy to destabilize Sparta. Polykron is assigned by direct order, over the messenic governor’s head. Soon the increasingly perilous investigations lead him across the borders of the State of Lacedaimon and result in an adventurous journey through a world on the brink of war and to a personal and conceptual questioning of ethics and philosophy in itself.
Experience an epic tale of war and peace, of politics and philosophy; the antic historian Herodots chronicles authentically retold and reinvented. Influence and change the course of history through deliberate or unintentional actions.
Your interactions with the world set off a series of events, culminating in 9 varying and 3 distinctly different possible endings. You decide how to proceed - accomplish your mission, or pursue your own political agenda.
At the same time your actions, and especially your words, influence the sphere of ideology, pictured by the illustration on the right. The result is the "dualism of decisions": unalterable paths, chosen inadvertently or conscious by the player, versus long-term, but changeable positionings on the other side.
In the game the player receives quests by a number of factions or individuals. Completion of these tasks change the course of history, provide the player with new equipment or grant him further advantages.
Many quests require a completely individual approach and utilize numerous mechanisms that the player may apply. Every person can be addressed, nearly every object offers interaction. Functioning telephones, photo cameras and an extensive array of supplementary devices allow for a real and astounding variety of mission goals.
Each quest is divided into a set of goals, required or optional. Among these are surveillance missions, infiltrations, localization of persons, rescue-missions, object acquisitions, crime scene investigations and many more - always connected to different operating methods, which influence the outcome of the quest.
In Addition to the political position of the player, the positions of the three main-factions of the Persian wars are visualized on the sphere of ideology. Side-factions represent oppositional forces to the main-factions.
The player can compare his own political position to those of the different factions. Furthermore he can influence the rotation of the faction-triangle with his actions, ergo connecting the events surrounding the protagonist on the one side with the effects on world politics on the other. A strategic map allows the player to identify territories and troop movements, enabling him to adjust his decisions based on current power-political situations.
On his adventure, the player comes across more than 50 historically significant figures, each connected to a smaller or larger storyline. For his help they reward the player with unique accessories, weaponry or simply intellectual enlightenment. Additionally the player can enlargen his encyclopedia of characters piece by piece and thus unlock an individual chain of quests, influencing the main storyline.
Some of the great personalities play a highlighted role in the adventure being told: Plato and Aristotle for example, the two opposing world views. One points toward the divine, the other towards the profane. One regards the senses above all, the other trusts nothing less than them. This range of vision and the connected philosophies are characteristic of the story the game attempts to tell.
Despite offering a multitude of possibilities to fulfill a quest, the player will inevitably come upon situations where he is required to defend himself. For these events an extensive turn-based battle-system is available, in which possible actions are represented by cards. Availability of cards is dependent on card-types.
There are 3 types of cards:
Parley-Cards are acquired through decisions made in the game. To spare an enemy in the moment of triumph or the ruthless murder of an adversary are examples for these decisions. These cards allow you to avoid battles, end them prematurely or force the enemy to retreat.
The Weapons-Cards are determined by the weapons the player is carrying in his holster during battle. A broad palette of firearms, grenades and similar objects exist in the game. Most of these command different attacks with pros and cons that are mixed into the deck.
Item-Cards represent the items a player has placed in his matching slots. They have different functions, for example healing of vital energy, a short term increase of attack points or the strengthening of a specific weapon.
Please watch our preview-video, to get a better understanding of all the mechanics and how they work!
A player can be accompanied by animals during the adventure - as long as he moves in an outdoor area. Animal companions have several useful functions; they can sniff out objects or engage in battle.
But they also have another, more interesting function: The motif of the labyrinth is highly associated with ancient Greece. Therefore 100 labyrinths are scattered throughout the entire world made up of ventilation shafts, hollow foundations, ground tunnels or similar. Your animal companions can crawl into these and try to gather useful or valuable objects or do specific actions.
However: Caution is advised when the player gets too greedy; As we all know, every maze has its Minotaur… and a companion once dead, never returns.
A broad pallette of skills is available for the player to acquire. For example he can master the art of lock-picking, alchemy or learn how to hot-wire an electrical circuit.
INTELLECT points are required to attain these skills. Points are collected by fulfilling certain tasks or by following the storyline. Some skills are actually weaknesses, obtained by the player from different occurrences or stats. Under the influence of certain drugs, accuracy is increased, for instance, while the ability to identify unknown objects is impeded.
Psychological ailments can also lead to a range of problems up to amnesia; making the player lose certain skills. These acute diseases are usually caused by persistant stress, extreme fear or inhuman behavior. The player must know, that he can create a merciless protagonist, full of battlelust; but at the same time he must fight the consequences of his acting with increasingly more potent forms of numbing narcotics for him to remain sane.
Forms of narcotics can be acquired; legal or illegal. Several can be self-manufactured by an experienced alchemist. In his own base, the player can synthesize a range of products, like potions, ointments or poisons by using four elements. Water, fire and air are processed and mixed with a combination of substances from the element earth - arsenic, nitrate or zinc for example.
Furthermore the player can learn to modify his weaponry and other accessories. Binoculars could be converted to a visor and a piece of scrap metal maybe can transform into a silencer. This depends on the outcome of the KICKSTARTER campaign.
And there still is much more to experience:
A clear and clean interface, where notes, newspapers or books can be displayed and read. A distinctive system for lock-picking and hot-wiring an electrical circuit. Cinematic cutscenes. Movie theatres with altering short films relating to the gameworld or about philosophy itself. An immersive map of the world, depicting all localities and routes of the gameworld. Popcultural references through characters or events;
Most of these mechanics have already been accomplished or are at a very late stage of development.
Towards the end of the 19. Century, european painting had reached nearly photorealistic niveau and the following art-historic caesura came with a changed perspective on art. What the artist tried to project, the truth – and therefor the good- exists independent from the depicted object. The individual is replaced by the conceptual - understood as the true essence of the matter. Anger, aggressiveness, love and responsibility- pieces of the puzzle our reality is built upon. Pointing in a similar direction regarding histiography, the famous philosopher and social analyst Walter Benjamin believed that the Christian based understanding of history and time, the concept of temporality as a segment with genesis and apocalypse, is misguided. In Benjamins opinion history is to be thought of as a historic continuum, out of which historicity – the narration of history – is to be entirely disengaged.
“Demiurgos, The Path of the Leviathan”, uses this logic as its fundamental premise. Historicity has been disintegrated, its parts rearranged. Herodot - father of our written history – guides the player through authentically arranged events of the antic Persian wars – set in the late age of the industrial revolution.
The actual course of history is modifiable and is influenced or completely changed mainly by the actions of the player. On his journey he meets over 50 figures of great historical importance, each representing a unique experience - employing their individual way of thinking and their capabilities as core premises.
The ancient greek word Demiurgos is a composite of the adjective Demios (“regarding the people”/publically”) and the noun Orgos (“creator of works”).
Originally describing a working class in archaic Attica, it later was also used to characterize individual artists or state officials.
In Platos philosophical teachings the Demiurge plays a central role. Aristotle`s teacher emphasizes the priority of mind over matter in his epistemology (theory of cognition). Our sensory experience is portrayed by Plato as trace of the actual matter; consisting of ideas - the only true elements in cosmos. This cosmos is conceived by Plato as a timeless entity, which would be unorganized movement of matter in chaos simply following necessity, if not for the Demiurge.
Within this chaos, Platos creative deity steps in by arranging the matter and assigning it with the basic ideas of shape, number and measure.All other ideas are furthermore brought into this world by the Demiurge, who by doing so creates our reality which originates solely from his thoughts.
We are a small indie-team of five individuals with backgrounds in liberal arts and sciences.
Our knowledge in philosophy, sociology, political science and history is the foundation and the basis for the story we are trying to establish for this game. Private and professional contacts to a large university offer us additional background and support regarding specific questions or historical accuracies.
As developers of video games we as a team are newcomers and DEMIURGOS: Path of the Leviathan is our first big project. For that reason we have already invested a lot of time and effort into the looks and mechanics of the game; to gain credit in the gaming-community.
Our dedication to this project stems from our childhood. Growing up with games like Baldurs Gate I and II, Zelda: Majoras Mask, Terranigma or Deus Ex, we have been disappointed by most of the larger productions in the last ten years . While improvements in graphics then and now are an essential part of a generation change, innovation, the willingness to take risks and general creativity have increasingly suffered in the last ten years. The recurring trivial and stereotype-heavy storylines of many AAA games have at times left us speechless.
As a small team we are of course not able to singlehandedly counteract this phenomenon, that is widely acknowledged in large parts of the player-community. Nevertheless we can and we want to contribute our part, hoping that more games surprise and captivate us yet again.
Risks and challenges
The major challenges will be:
a) Having all the mechanics of Ideology and Politics well working together. The circle of Ideology, the factions and the parameters for love/fear or the linear path-development.
b) Creating a fun gameplay experience alongside the storyline & major decision-making.
c) In our opinion by far the largest risk: Accomplishing all of the above in the estimated timespan.
All of the core mechanics, the interface and most of the gameplay elements have been designed. We do not see any problems with creating the areas and the graphics in the set time. We also tried to precisely estimate the time that is needed to build the storyline and other types of quests and interactions.
However, what we cannot promise is that it will work as wanted after completion of the entire content.
There will be much testing, trying and evaluation required, giving us reason to suspect, that the largest and only risk involved will be the finalization of the game in the intended time frame.
- (30 days)