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Video Game / Consortium

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Otherwise known as the "iDGi-1 Trilogy", Consortium is a first person meta-RPG released in January 2014 by Interdimensional Games, and through going the route of Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Analogue: A Hate Story, Virtual-ON and Teleroboxer, the player (As in, you, the very person sitting at your computer), is a character in the story itself.

The idea is that the developer of this game has created a satellite uplink allowing the player to travel through a digital rift in reality, and enter the body of international peacekeeping consortium officer Bishop Six in order to help the crew investigate a mysterious murder that occurred on board the C-3800-D "ZENLIL" Consortium Command vessel on December 21st, 2042. The player has a choice between using lethal force or diplomacy in figuring out this mystery, with the relationships forged with the crew altering the outcome of the story.

The story of the game will continue with a sequel, Consortium: The Tower. It was successfully crowdfunded in 2016 and is projected for release in early 2018. After the events of the first game, Bishop 6 launches from Zenlil onto the Churchill Tower in London which has been currently overun with terrorists. Unlike the previous game, which featured a total of two weapons (and not a lot of shooting aside from VR), The Tower is a decidedly more action focused affair.

Consortium contains examples of:

  • Alternate Reality Game: A fairly large one, pertaining to the game's Meta Fiction aspects. All of the important bits, including a 140 page long PDF file that sums everything up, are included with the game.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The King is this. And he knows about Bishop being controlled by you- though luckily, he seems very benevolent, and he's the one who set things up so that you could hop on board and solve the Churchill Tower Crisis.
  • As You Know: Averted. Nobody on the Consortium explains things that could be considered either common knowledge or something Bishop-6 should have learned as a part of his training. You can ask about said things anyway, which will raise concerns from your crew members, and asking too many dumb questions can make the crew think you're incompetent.
  • The Captain: Knight-15 (Taryn) fills this role on the Zenlil, although she doesn't have the actual title - in keeping with the fact that the pilot of a plane is often called its captain, Rook-9 (Wade) is the only person (rarely) referred to as such. Still, Knight-15 is the one in charge of everything, including Rook-9.
  • Call-Back : Early in the game you can catch Pawn-4 whining over Rook-25's mistreatment of him, and stating that he isn't going to take it anymore. Pawn-32 mocks him for this, and expresses doubt that he'll really stand up to her. Later in the game Pawn-4 can be convinced to stand up to Pawn-32, and outright accuse her of being the murderer.
  • Cool Plane: The entire game takes place on one. It looks about the size and shape of an A380, but is armed and armoured, and internally configured like a typical sci-fi starship.
  • Developer's Foresight: The game is intended to be replayed multiple times in order to figure out everything. As a result, there are multiple occasions where the player can use the knowledge gained from previous timelines to influence their current one. Perhaps the most notable example of this is your conversation with Rook-25 on who you believe the traitor is. The game then gives you a list of every single person onboard, and choosing correctly that it's Pawn-32 will cause Rook-25 to spy on your choice, and reveal the traitor much earlier than if you'd done your detective work beforehand.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The game is best described as the player logging into an interdimensional satellite uplink to investigate a moment of Die Hard on a Futuristic Passenger Plane, albeit with violent guerrilla tactics being optional.
  • Electronic Telepathy: Aboard Zenlil, the officers (including the player character) are issued with devices allowing them to speak mind-to-mind. Realistically but sometimes confusingly, this can lead to players being confronted with two conversations at once, as someone interrupts a normal conversation telepathically. At one point, it's a plot point that that information which was only communicated telepathically seems to have become common knowledge among regular crew somehow.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The only things that we know about Bishop Six is that he's male, he's Canadian, and his name isn't Todd, Kenny, Ellia, or Michael.
  • The Fundamentalist: The Guardian Church, a major religious organisation, is critical of the Consortium, so when things go wrong, it's easy to wonder if one of the crew members who adheres to the church is sabotaging things out of fanaticism. The traitor on board does indeed turn out to be a religious fanatic, but one who hasn't identified herself with the Guardian Church and isn't a fan of it, dismissing it as part of the conspiracy.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Part of the game's story appeal is how characters may start to figure out that Bishop Six is actually being controlled by someone else. As in, the player. As in, you.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Rook-25 thinks Kiril harasses their flight so often because he's attracted to Knight-15. Given his banter with her during the negotiation, she might be right.
  • I Am Who?: Not you, the player, but the identity of Bishop-6, the person who you're possessing, has his own background and history that the characters know, but the mysterious "King" doesn't want you to find out.
  • Jerkass: Really, Pawn-4 (Jens) is unnecessarily unpleasant to everyone you hear him talking to - and even more so to you.
  • Meta Fiction: The real world that the player resides in forms part of the game's backstory. The cruxt of the game is that something really bad happens on the Churchill Tower in 2042, and whatever it is, it ends up doing large-scale irreversible damage. The King foresaw this, and worked together with Interdimensional Games, the Canadian Government, and possibly other organizations both inside the game and out to create a situation where Bishop 6, the only person equipped to deal with the situation, could land onto the Tower and fix things themselves, guided by an essentially omniscient figure from beyond time and space... you.
  • Motor Mouth: Pawn-44 (Charlie) is this and a bit Keet.
  • No Name Given: The character the player controls, Bishop Six, has his real name left unrevealed in order to prevent what the Kickstarter page describes as a "temporal breakdown". At one point, the player character is directly asked about his real name, which players can't supply.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Done with enemies who are subdued non-lethally. There's a weapon which knocks them down, but they'll slowly get up again unless you inject them with knock-out nanites before they can do so.
  • Oh, Crap!: During the investigation, Adelle provides a Bilingual Bonus example when the person she's talking about is Right Behind Me.
    Charlie: Do you remember how you thought the Bishop embarrassed you in the brig earlier?
    Adelle: You truly do not know when to stop with the jokes, do you?
    Charlie: Well, if you just turn around right now, you can find out what embarrassment really feels like.
    Adelle: Oh merde.
  • Pacifist Run: It's possible to play the game this way. It will be noted by other characters (and generally praised, what with it being Consortium policy to use non-lethal means where feasible). You can eventually talk to both Kiril and the on-board traitor, Pawn-32 in the brig if you capture them alive.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Rook-13 (Keiran) and Rook-25 (Alannah) have quite contrasting personalities: the former is stoic, calm, and reserved to the point of sometimes seeming robotic, while the latter is opinionated and temperamental.
  • Themed Aliases: Consortium crew members (who account for most of the major characters in the game) all bear the names of chess pieces as titles, in addition to their real names. For example: Knight-15, Rook-25, and Bishop-6. The titles indicate job description (albeit not in a way that always preserves the traditional "ranking" of chess pieces): Pawns are ordinary crew, Bishops are soldiers/security officers, Rooks are middle officers, and Knights seem to have command roles. There's also a Queen and a King running the Consortium more generally.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Whatever the truth may be, Pawn-32 (Patricia Thornthwaite) does genuinely seem to believe that the world is in need of saving, and that you cannot be allowed to reach the Tower.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: Pawn-12 immediately offers to get you coffee and is thrilled if you accept and start ordering him around. Knight-15 is less than pleased, though.