The year is 1953 and Anton Rayne is elected as the 4th President of Sordland, but what kind of President will he be? Well, that is up to you.
Suzerain starts with establishing the life story of Anton amongst the tumultuous times facing the fictional nation of Sordland in the early 20th century. Revolutions change the balance of power, leaders come and go, reforms are enacted, and it all leads to a nation that’s divided across regional, political, and economical lines.
In the preview build of Suzerain, you play through early and mid-1954 by navigating the political landscape of the different factions that are vying for influence in this new era. Alongside this, you also must maintain personal relationships with friends and family, giving Suzerain a bit more depth to its relationships than some other political RTS titles. Then on top of both of those, you need to keep an eye on your neighbouring nations, who may or may not be funding groups to destabilise Sordland from within.
Suzerain plays out across a regional map spread out on your desk, showing shows the main towns and cities or Sordland, as well as the nations that you share borders with. When a report or an event is due to take place, an icon will appear above the corresponding location for you to read and interact with.
The events in the demo consist of attending meetings regarding matters of state and some social functions, and each one features conversations with prominent government ministers and influential figures in Sord society. It is these conversations which will determine the laws and reforms that you put into place as well as how you will respond to potential threats from enemies both within and without Sordland. The conversations are multiple-choice and who you respond to will matter just as much as how you respond when it comes to maintaining those relationships.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the paper. Each of the country’s newspapers has its own political leaning and will judge you for the actions you take, such as allying with one person and the expense of another or choosing a particular way to rule. The population will also judge you on how you are keeping your campaign promises. These promises are the first decisions you make when starting off your term as President.
An extensive codex helps you keep track of all of this. It gives details on all the characters, political organisations, and corporations you’ll encounter, and names are highlighted during conversations, so you can click on them to get an idea of who or what is being discussed, which will in turn inform what kind so decision you will make.
There is an additional tab that shows the state of Sordland as well. It highlights key areas such as the economy, military, and police levels as well as the laws and acts that are having positive and negative effects on each. A law that benefits one may be detrimental to another.
The demo of Suzerain lasted a couple of hours, but the foundations were already laid for a lot of complicated situations that would be rearing their heads in the full game. From the assassination of a government minister, to the rise of gangs, extremist political groups becoming violent, and a media mogul looking to curry favour, there are plenty of things to deal with and all of that just occurs in the first couple of months as President.
If you enjoy political intrigue and engaging strategy, Suzerain is a game to keep an eye on. From what I’ve seen, Suzerain looks well set to grow into a deep political thriller where every decisions matters in deciding the future of your country.