I can’t quite tell what tone developer Forestlight Games are going for in this trailer for their upcoming Pope ‘Em Up The Pope: Power & Sin, but I couldn’t look away for a second when watching it. Whether you’re looking for a serious examination of the interplay between religious institutions and power or looking to laugh at a funny Pope Simulator game, I think this might be able to satisfy both camps.
I’d have to brush up on my history before knowing how accurate this depiction of 15th century Vatican shenanigans is. Back then, were the senior figures in the Catholic church really just a bunch of power-hungry, self-aggrandizing, back-stabbing, wine-poisoning, cigar-smoking, bed-hopping gangsters in frocks? That’s certainly how this game has opted to depict them. I sure hope there’s none of this kind of behaviour still going on today.
It looks like the game’s central idea is deciding how you wield power as a Pope, managing your relationships with others within the Catholic leadership, taking out political rivals, collecting information, and expanding the reach of the Church as an organization. It’s not currently clear if it will be possible to attempt a pacifist run, or if some kind of bloodshed would always be required to maintain a position as pope.
This game is coming from a relative newcomer studio, Forestlight Games from Poland. I’m curious to see how the world at large will receive this game, but perhaps diving into the murky moral grey area of a Pope who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants is one way to generate some attention.
It’s coming to Steam and to consoles, but there’s no concrete release date yet, just “2020”.