A look at the Europolitics of Europolis
Please be aware that this update contains light spoilers for the first two chapters. Do not read on if you want to remain completely unsullied!
(On the other hand, there's also a bunch of interesting background material for chapter two, so it's probably worth the slight spoilers.)
The Chancellor of Europolis
When we rejoin Zoë in Europolis after she wakes from her year-long coma, she not only has a new career — one of two, depending on choices made earlier in the game — she's also doing volunteer work for a political campaign, working with her friend Baruti Maphane from a small office near the Propast Souk.
Four major candidates vie for control of the Europolis Parliament and the seat of the Chancellor; the highest political office in the city-state. Representing the four largest political parties, they are:
Dieter Gross is the incumbent Chancellor and leader of the Alliance of European Democrats for Freedom and Liberty; the party that's been in power in Europolis the past five years. The Alliance — or the Blues as they're also called — has been involved in several scandals, including accusations of corruption and corporate payoffs. With public support at an all-time low, Gross is almost certainly on his way out of office.
Konstantin Wolf is the wild card. Wolf is founder and leader of European Dawn, a nationalist party sworn to restoring the mythical Europe of old; a prosperous continent removed from corporate rule, with old borders reinstated between states. The party preaches economic self-sufficiency and ethnic segregation — "Europe for Europeans" — aiming straight at the rotten heart of the discontented masses. Wolf himself is a rightwing populist, a charismatic orator, and he's built an impressive fiction around himself that the crowds are eating up. Many expect (and fear) that Wolf and European Dawn will conquer Parliament in the next election.
On the opposite side of the political spectrum is Marta Ribas and Manifesto. The fragmented Marxists parties of Europolis have managed to unite under a single umbrella, and are now spearheading a large number of demonstrations aimed at both the Syndicate-controlled EYE military police forces, the corporations, and the growing number of right-wing European Dawn supporters. Their pet name for Konstantin Wolf — 'Kaiser Konstantin' — has become the rallying cry of the left. While few think Ribas and Manifesto have a fighting chance in the elections, they are disrupting the status quo, and that may be their primary goal.
Finally, there's Lea Umińska; the candidate Zoë is campaigning for. She represents the social democrats — the Unity Party — and next to Wolf and European Dawn, Umińska and Unity have the broadest support amongst voters, representing a more moderate and liberal direction. But they've also been criticised for representing compromise and for constantly changing direction when public opinion shifts.
Politics and corporations are inextricably tied together, and as the political situation in Europolis escalates, story-lines will converge and the greater conspiracy will come to light.
But politics in Europolis is about a lot more than votes, rhetoric and the race for the seat of Chancellor and control of Parliament.
The Syndicate — an organisation created by the corporations in order to govern their own — polices streets with their omnipresent EYE. Soldiers in battle-suits, unmanned drones and warships, millions of surveillance cameras and satellites ensure that the Syndicate — also called Zaibatsu — has eyes everywhere. Most believe that rather than governing corporations, the Syndicate serves them...and that governments serve the Syndicate in turn.
As Europolis gets ready for election day, things are heating up: there are demonstrations all across the city and the EYE is setting up checkpoints and increasing surveillance, blaming radical political elements for making the streets unsafe. Transit between sectors is increasingly restricted, and tensions are running high.
This is Zoë's new world. While she's not particularly political by nature, she wants to take an active part in her local community and she wants to understand the city she has chosen to live in. And while the politics begins as a side plot, it will merge in interesting ways with the main plot.
We'll be back on June 24th with our big key art reveal — in the meantime, join the conversations at the official forums, and keep an eye on our Facebook page for another update: this time about Zoë Castillo's hair!
Team Red Thread