Yes thank goodness this is back
Rosie is a complex character with several sides to her personality, and can play quite a significant part in the story – more so now (being a lesbian) that we have a female protagonist. In either case she can be a very good friend, and is also now a potential gang member (under particular circumstances).
I guess I should clarify where we stand (and where we’re headed) with the ‘Primary Backgrounds’ concept.
Firstly, pretend for a moment that the distinction between ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ doesn’t actually exist, and that I have absolutely no plans for development of Vendetta post-release. That would give us a huge variety of backgrounds to choose from, for those of us who like to replay these things to death. Granted, no one background would be as fully… embellished as we might like (since we all have our personal favorites) but they would all have distinct advantages (and disadvantages) at different points, would have narrative flavor differences where it seems particularly important or relevant to make the distinction (including some bits unique to each background), and – most important – would also have widely varying Attributes and other stats influencing your choices and possible outcomes.
That is more or less what Vendetta was always intended to be, and that will be the game upon its release.
But there will now also be a bonus, one which was never originally intended or planned, and that is the elevation of Veteran Nurse / Veteran Soldier backgrounds to ‘Primary’ status – chosen partly because of the Soldier’s popularity in earlier versions of the game, and partly because it most closely resembles a very popular character (James Darmody) in a fairly recent, really excellent – if you like that sort of thing! – and remarkably successful TV series actually set in 1920s gangland, Boardwalk Empire. Y’see, here I’ve also got my marketing hat on, with an eye on the broader picture of “untapped potential”.
On the very sound basis that a large number of players apparently play these things just one or two times, it made sense to have a ‘Primary’ background with the widest possible appeal, and to devote more effort to making that one something extra special.
Will there be more Primary backgrounds? I fervently hope so – because if this happens, it means the game sold well enough to warrant all the extra effort each requires. To elevate all backgrounds to Primary would take (judging by the extra time already spent on Veteran Nurse / Soldier alone) at least two years. It would only be possible as DLC updates, and then only if both sales of the main game and feedback from you guys suggested that it’s actually worth the effort!
If not, well, I have other ideas for new games that I wouldn’t mind pursuing, either…
In other words in the release (and beta) version of the game the College Kid will be fully playable and our mc will be acknowledged as having that background where it is appropriate for the narrative. So kind of what it was like during the old beta and the current (old) public demo? As an example Morello will still chew out my college kid by pointing out he could have easily used his education to go straight and earn a very comfortable living doing so in the new versions, correct?
Only, in addition to that, the veteran soldier would also get extra missions and side plots tailored exclusively to them, that no other background gets (until possible DLC).
Have I got all this correct now?
I hope college kid wins the vote if and when it comes to possibly elevating another background though, as gameplay wise my main beef with the soldier remains that he is a lousy leader and doesn’t seem all that clever at the start. Ugh, now that I think back, playing soldier was the only time I suffered the indignity of having my poor mc end up a follower in Dino’s gang.
Interesting, seems that character, unlike our WWI vet has some college kid in him as well, only he didn’t graduate, whereas for the Vendetta College kid graduating is rather important in order to avoid a long and nasty prison sentence, presumably as convict-labour in the chain-gangs the US was still fond of using at the time.
This wouldn’t be “Leisure suit Barry on the planet of the killer vixen Amazons” would it?
Spot on, yes. The main point I would emphasize is that, just as the “Gina Vendetta” story is essentially the backbone of the main story (although entirely optional whether to pursue it or not), the stories for the Veteran Nurse and Veteran Soldier are similarly unique / specific to those two backgrounds, involving such as characters from their past. It’s not something that will ever be seen except by playing those particular roles, i.e. not something that would just be ‘switched on’ for other backgrounds in a future DLC.
By the same token, when the College Graduate becomes a Primary background, his or her stories throughout will be similarly unique and not something seen playing any other role. That is the essential nature of the ‘Primary Backgrounds’ concept – actual new content with each update, but woven throughout the main story.
On a side note, I should add that one useful thing the Primary stories offer (from a game mechanics point of view) is more opportunity to address that character’s main weaknesses. Our humble foot soldier might not start out as the smartest or most experienced Leader, for instance, but it’s now more possible to purposely develop the character in that direction simply from the opportunities presented – should you choose.
It stands a good chance, if past popularity is anything to go by… From my (neutral, honest!) point of view, it would be great if the second was completely different to the Veteran Soldier, so College Graduate would be a good fit. Then again, two or three others would be, too.
As sorely tempted as I am, I think I’ll have to resist the temptation! I have a few interesting (well, to me) concepts in mind, one or two of which haven’t been done around here before and would, I believe, make really good choice games. They’re a little less… ambitious than Vendetta, but that’s probably for the best.
I’m simply glad it doesn’t take anything away from the other backgrounds and that they’re at the very least still going to remain as good as they are now with flavour text acknowledging them where appropriate. Which to be honest is what most good CoG games do, so the primary background thing is simply really going above and beyond and I’m relieved we can still have as great of an experience as we always had in the last demo and beta with “only” secondary backgrounds in the new one.
So if college kid ever becomes a primary background might we, for example. have a flashback to our graduation with hopefully a proud Gina?
It was like the gods had heard me. I have been following this since the beginning several years ago. Then a thread here sparked my memory of the demo… Then I saw the facebook updates… Quite a good surprise to see you were still working on it.
If I didn’t say it before, (and if I did I likely wouldn’t remember considering how long ago it was) I think that woman you briefly meet during that side mission in the old beta where you escort the information broker to a deal that can potentially go south resulting in a major gunfight could be a pretty interesting romace option… what kinda gangster wouldn’t want a significant other who’s totally cool with coming out to you deals provocatively dressed and ready to pull a gun if things fall apart? I mean, I’m aware that she was dating that guy but it’s not clear how serious that is, and well, I mean a similar character who doesn’t yet exist could be just as interesting.
I have to say the college kid play through and the political bagman our so far my favorite background.
This is really interesting!
There haven’t been many good, factual, gangster games other than Life of a Monster.
Also, will there be any ROs?
A great suggestion – and precisely the sort of background-specific stuff that the Primary concept is all about. At the end of the day it’s all about deeper immersion, and I really hope it proves worthwhile to pursue this concept for at least four or five of the most popular backgrounds.
I will (as suggested by @MIGSey) have a poll on the subject here, although this is probably best done once the new Public Demo is available and everyone can see the female background options paired with each male one (since only two of the nine actually share the exact same title – Street Gang Leader & Business Entrepreneur) and have a chance to read the starting backstory for each… just to be fair!
Great to see you’re still around, too! You made some insightful contributions back in the day, so we’ll be expecting no less this time around… No pressure.
I remember well our detailed discussion on the whole Fat Eddie / farmhouse ‘mission’ – you prompted some significant tweaks with your acute observations, as I recall. Something you said about that type of potential relationship must have stuck in my mind, as my notes indicate it was around then that I resolved to “one day, if poss” bring more of the actual romance option girls into the gang as actual members, so they can play a bigger part in that side of things and figure more prominently in more scenes – especially the type of thing you’re talking about there. This is now very much a feature of the game for some of the ROs, with obvious exceptions (Donna is too straight, and Carina too… nice, etc.).
Another very good possibility – it was always fairly high in the running. Not too often a top choice, but very often a second or third. It’s also one of those I would be especially keen to write (some wonderful possibilities here, given all the political side of things in the 3rd & 4th chapters of the main story), but I’ll go with the majority decision.
More than I can count without removing my socks.
Guilty, it is my shared second-place background with Union Organizer after my absolute fave, the college kid.
In contrast neither Gina nor Nick seem to approve of the political bagman career choice though.
To the point where I wonder if you had held a vote by ranked choice voting I think it might well have won going by the old beta and its testers, including yours truly.
So a chance to really get deeply involved with the Republican Party, if I remember correctly we were taking care of the political bags for the local Republicans in the game, correct?
Hmmm…considering the coming great depression, Hoover and Mellon, or for that matter the Republican Volstead act that started the prohibition in the first place, I beg to differ.
However in as far as it matters in the game I believe in many large American cities of the time local politics were run by huge and hugely corrupt machines that created safe districts, wards, etc as surely as some of the current gerrymandering. So when it comes to corrupt bagman business it is not like the Democrats of the era were any better.
I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a mainstream party in the 20s that wasn’t racist to some degree. Its less a question of whether or not they were bigoted and more so to what extent.
Sure, but its important to remember that less bad doesn’t always make someone good. Being less racist than the standards of the time deserves some credit, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t still support some truly awful policies nonetheless.
Anyway though, I was semi-nitpicking in the first place, so don’t mind me.
I hope you don’t left behind the black hand background ( this one is fairly popular I must admit but this Background have potencial too like become one of the bosses of the gang and have a better grasp and control of the underworld )
I feel obligated to ask will there be any stigma attached towards dealing drugs as I remember for long periods of time dope peddlers were treated with disdain and often outright hostility in many cases by crime groups. My secondary follow up question would be on whether or not this game would cover the racial tensions that were an unfortunate part of the twenties and if our gang had a multi cultural nature would that possibly increase heat from both the police as well as racist groups like the KKK ( ALA Boardwalk empire)
True enough. Nick despairs of all the corruption in the city and sees our political bagman MC as just another cog in the wheel facilitating this evil, while Gina just loathed authority figures – especially dominant, masculine ones. It’s one of the things that made her such a contradictory character, given her (supposed) intimate relationship with ‘Mad Dog’ Frankie Ginelli, the underworld boss of Hell’s Kitchen… but we’re heading towards spoiler territory there, so I’ll shut up now.
Yup. The backdrop is that after decades as solidly Democrat (with mostly Irish support), they lost control of the 15th Ward during the previous elections by only a narrow margin, and they want it back. With many of the Irish having relocated out of the local slums and the area now being predominantly Italian and Polish (likely the reason for their narrow defeat at the last election) it’ll be a tight-run thing – precisely the sort of situation where the criminal leaders of the underworld (on both sides) see a chance to swing things in their own favor, potentially gaining real influence for themselves in the process since the 15th Ward result could swing the majority in the city council.
Black Hand Member was always fairly popular, and may now be more so given that his female counterpart is called ‘The Black Widow’ (with a description of: “Just say who, when and how. I don’t much care about the why.”) Her backstory is that Billy’s murder sent her over the edge and she personally hunted down and killed two of the youths involved in that brutal assault. O’Hara escaped with his life only by being imprisoned for his part in the crime. Since then, quiet and deadly assassination has become her trade.
I think it’s fair to say that in the 20s ‘dope dealers’ were often looked down upon by others of the criminal underworld (moral superiority among criminals has always tickled me) in much the same way as, say, street pimps have always been. It didn’t however seem to apply so much to the guy who actually controlled those operations and made the most money from them without getting his own hands ‘dirty’ – he was often respected for his ‘achievements’. Such is the twisted nature of the criminal mind, I guess.
To some extent, yes – it’s hard to write believable historical fiction without at least touching upon those subjects which made the era what it was. Although the main story mostly takes place within Hell’s Kitchen itself, all the surrounding districts figure in the story to some extent (and are likely to do so even more in each of the ‘Primary’ background stories, if development of the game continues post-release). The whole setting is perhaps best summed up by quoting the main entry from the game’s new ‘Word on the Street’ section of the M.O., which reads…
GRIM HARBOR CITY — February, 1921
15th Ward, Lower East Side
The Bloody Ould Fifteenth district of Grim Harbor is one of the oldest parts of the city, built atop the original Dutch colony town of Grim Haven—so named by the hapless colonists when their new home was severely battered by strong gales during their very first winter ashore.
In the present day the 15th Ward is a sprawling, heaving, overcrowded immigrant slum of decaying cold-water tenements, grimy factories, mills and iron works. Irish, Polish, Italians and Sicilians predominate, together with encroaching populations of blacks in the west and Chinese to the north. Living space is cramped, crime is rife, racial tensions are high, labor disputes ever increasing, and violent incidents not so much an event as a simple fact of life.
Here in the Bloody Ould Fifteenth, Grim Harbor lives up to its ill-fated name.
I still hope that college kid or political bagman will be first post-release background to hopefully be upgraded exactly because they are very different in playstyle, tone and feel, the Black hand on the other hand is another action-oriented one and speaking personally my least favourite background in the game.
Just wanted to say I’m glad the game is back. I just got the email as I’m on the original list linking me to this topic.
I can’t wait to start testing! I really love the new Word on the Street and random opportunities that will pop up. I’m a fan of the action backgrounds, but I’m a fan of the more subtle ones as well.