I actually have more than a passing interest about the earliest civilizations, so this is right up my alley.
I’m delighted to have caught your interest.
Do you have any sources you’d recommend for me to brush up on so that I can keep things relatively accurate? Alternatively, would you mind if I asked you some questions on Sumeria (if you’re confident in your background)?
Since it’s a Sumerian city-state, I assume we’ll be following the Sumerian religion. Would this include a customizable patron deity of the city? (Customizable in that they might represent the ideals of the city, such a a god of wealth if it’s a trade-focused city, or a war god if the upper echelon is made up of military officials, and so on)
I had considered some degree of customization of the patron deity, but I’m torn on whether to have the player control this directly through a choice or if it should be determined by the choices you make about the city’s background (so a military-focused city would get a war god, a city with a great library would get a Thoth expy, etc.)
Will we be able to choose the gender of the ruler?
That option should’ve come up. Did you get to the city creation part or did it end after you decide what to do with the old man?
Regardless of which gender (if any) we might be able to play as, will it be possible for our Ured to be more egalitarian than real-life Sumerian cities?
This is probably the route I’m going to end up going.
Considering the historical sexism of Sumerian, I had considered making it so that if you went with a female ruler you could choose to 1. either concealing your gender, 2. being open about your gender but acting ceremoniously as male (as several female pharaohs did), or 3. being open about your gender and refusing the male ceremonial roles–which would be the hardest option since it would create a lot of resentment. Honestly, though, options 1 and 3 might be more trouble to implement than they’re worth, so I’ll probably just go with 2 as a default and have there be little significant differences.between gender choices (aside from romance/marriage options.)
Considering that the character already has a son, is the spouse still alive? If not, would it be possible to enter a political marriage, especially to gain/curry favor among factions?
The spouse is dead, precisely to allow for the political marriage options you mention. In addition to marrying prominent members within the factions (or their kin) to curry favor, you’ll have the option do so with foreign rulers to cement alliances.
The marriage options will be gender-determined (I’m not going to diverge from history quite that much), but see below.
Romance options: are there any? Or will the game be focused more on rulership than relationships?
There will be romance options (including homosexual, bisexual, and asexual options) and they will impact the game. This is distinct from the marriage decisions, however, so one may be in a loveless marriage for political reasons and/or commit infidelity.