It's Good to Be Bad: An Early Look at Spinnortality

By Marcello Perricone 22 Aug 2017 1

Turns out it’s pretty cool being the evil CEO of a worldwide conglomerate. In the span of an hour, my corporation went from doing social media campaigns and selling business solutions to creating defence contracts and assembling paramilitary organisations. A couple of hours after that, I was imposing order onto Asia and throwing North America into the brink of chaos, just so I could get laws passed that would allow the corporation to sell our latest products. And a few hours after that, I had rewritten the human genome, fully unlocked AI potential, and was in control of every media outlet in the world, shaping the thoughts and emotions of billions. No one could stop me; there was no politics too ethical, no nation too powerful, no military too big. Turns out it’s pretty cool being the evil CEO of a worldwide conglomerate.

A cyberpunk turn-based strategy game, Spinnortality is an upcoming game about money and politics on a global scale. Starting off as young CEO tasked with making his company break even, the title quickly evolves into transforming the business into the biggest power on Earth -- bigger than companies, bigger than nations, and bigger than the planet itself.

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As you steer your company in pursuit of monopoly over humanity, existential questions start to appear. What’s the sense of creating a gigantic and omnipotent empire, if you’re not around to control it? It would be a waste if such an endeavour could be just passed off to someone else after you die, so the logical conclusion is, of course, to not die at all. After all, death is such as waste of life.

You got around 50-70 years to discover a way to cheat the Grim Reaper, since dying actually acts as the losing condition of the game. During those years, you will decide what the company should research, what markets to get into, what products to launch, and even how many employees and interns should be hired. In order to keep such a massive undertaking manageable, the game is divided in turns, each turn lasting three months -- brilliantly, the equivalent of one fiscal quarter.

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Every turn, you manage your company while dealing with an important decision, from buying liquidating assets to promoting interns to employees. As your company grows, so do your responsibilities, and you start to dabble into everything from NGO and charities to black ops and corporate espionage. Spinnortality quickly becomes a surprisingly deep title, as you start to steal research from competitors, interact with government’s regimes, and start to alter the species DNA and mind patterns. It’s a harrowing tale of the reach corporations could (or do) have in reality.

Throughout the whole game, your company’s R&D department will be working full time. Interns, employees, and even AI workers must always be assigned to specific researches, and taken off as necessary to work on specific projects, such as private media companies or tax havens. Those special projects give you massive bonuses, and are able to completely change the landscape of the world -- from Amazon-esque total retail sites that sell anything and everything, to a company-wide infrastructure that works and behaves like a small nation, Spinnortality’s scale quickly spirals into the ludicrous.

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However, the title is also scarily realistic. Through media such as news and social platforms, you are able to influence a culture and realign their values, making a whole demographic more pliant to whatever you want to sell. In the endless pursuit of profit and power, you can use a myriad of tools at your disposal to turn even the most xenophobic and spiritual country into a multicultural, material wealth obsessed horde. It is quite sinister and more than a bit unethical, so you must keep an eye on your own company’s inefficiency and corruption -- unsightly or illegal activities can be leaked at any moment if improperly contained, causing a PR shitstorm that can quickly lead to bad public opinion and a marked decrease of your revenue. It’s a domino effect of a thousand moving pieces, and all part of the package when one talks about money and power.

Technically, the game is quite good; it is surprisingly polished for a title made by a single person. Graphics are minimalistic and effective, using icons that perfectly convey their functions and featuring a geoscape model of Earth as your playground. Menus are a bit unrefined and could use a bit more graphical flair before launch, as could the faux-star background that looks slightly low-res and ugly. Audio design is serviceable, with the music being inconclusive -- the overall composition is extremely catchy, but the beats always stop just short of reaching its climax. If their natural elision was respected and fully developed when the tempo starts to pick up, it would make for an infinitely more exciting score.

While a few bugs exist -- typos abound, clicking the Options button does nothing, and I lost over 50 million on buggy decision screen prompts -- the game is stable and ran without any crashes. The projected release date has been pushed back so the developer can polish it up (was supposed to be August 31st), but Spinnortality does not yet have a Steam page (you can view the original Greenlight page here). We will update you as it goes along, and report back with a full review once the final version is out. Turns out it’s pretty cool being the evil CEO of a worldwide conglomerate. 

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