Stepping inside the only area that was closed for the yacht guest bore a strange, mystical feeling to it. Maybe thanks for the fact that Natan's group was the only visitors on board, despite two other teams departing the place at the same time from the same port, everything moved smoothly.
As soon as everyone sat down, the doors leading to the room closed, with all the windows suddenly dimming down and turning the place completely dark.
"Welcome everyone, I'm DDRJacob, one of the directors of "The World Universalis". I hope you have either a pleasant journey or stay if you were one of the first groups we reached forward to. At this point, I want to assure all of you."
With a bright flash, the entire wall of the room suddenly turned into a widescreen, despite the technology already going obsolete with the constant development of the VR.
On the screen, they could see a middle-aged man, whose young look could only be attributed to the great success and wealth that came with it. He was sitting behind a cheap-looking desk, just like in his old days where his career as one of the directors of the company had to be supplemented with his streaming activities.
"No matter whether you joined the transport right now, or if you are having fun at our island since the beginning of the month, everyone is going to hear what I'm going to say only now. We do not advocate for early handicaps!"
Cupping his hands in front of his chest, the man stretched his back and relaxed on his big, black chair. Looking at the screen, this was the only thing that could betray how rich this man was, with everything else staying exactly the same as his viewers could see back in the days on his streams.
"But let me cut the crap. I don't think I need to recount the major, commercial success of our newest franchise. The fact that you are listening to this video means that you are a part of it already. But what's more, it means that your action leads us to believe that despite how different this game appeared to be, you still longed for the experience of the true grand strategy!"
With a content smile on his face, everyone could see how his cheeks turned fiery the more he spoke about the game he took part in making.
"Politicians, diplomats, rulers and generals. Every single one of you guys, found a way to at least emulate a part of the strategic approach in your gameplay, allowing you to rise in ranks in the societies that were created by the users themselves. That's why, we decided to invite you all to take part in our project, where you will take the reins of the nations you helped to create!"
While they couldn't know what was happening in the other conference rooms, Natan group was unable to utter even a single word. Even when DDRJacob took a short pause to catch his breath and calm his pulse down, they were simply staring at the screen, as if some kind of messiah was going to appear from it.
"Since we had to take some special measures to prevent big guilds or corporations from influencing the competitiveness of the game, you will all receive a contract proposition for the next, entire year. To save you from reading through this entire stack of the documents..."
The man in the video pointed out at the huge pile of papers lying down on the shelf in the background.
"... It mostly focuses on three points. First, you will be unable to leave our place for the next year, during which the season will conclude."
Hearing this, the faces of everyone gathered in the conference room paled down. This whole situation was slowly turning into something too close to kidnapping for their comfort!
"Obviously, you won't be forced to sign the contract at all, but this decision is something your entire group needs to take. If even one of you won't stand up to the responsibility and the chance, you can either be disqualified or play in numerical disadvantage."
Despite those words being rather harsh, everyone breathed out with visible relief. Thinking about how strange and shady this whole matter was with one of the wealthiest men of the world suddenly sponsoring week-long superyacht trip for a bunch of nerds, the fact that they weren't forced to do anything was still a big assurance.
"The second thing is that you will be forbidden from striking any real-life deals with any corporation or party while taking part in the yearly event. The game will be closely monitored by our side, and if we find out that someone broke this rule, their entire party will be disqualified and banned from the game... forever."
As if he was really keen on accenting this part of the deal, DDRJacob waited for a long while for each of his spectators to swallow those words and slowly digest them.
Being banned from the game was actually something far worse than it sounded.
For every of the participant who he claimed to be major powers in their respective in-game nations, they all could earn substantial sums from streaming, taxing their country or even signing a deal with corporations for the advertisement.
Some people claimed that this game turned into the second earth already!
"The last thing. While I speak about it thirdly, it by no means is less important than two previous announcements. Your task will be to manage your nation to the best of your abilities. Every single decision of yours will be reflected in the entire game world for the players. If you conquer someone's country, the players who played on those servers will be relocated to yours, unless they decide to run away. But don't forget, that while your actions will change the background for the players, it's the decisions of those small, single players that will influence your end of the game as well!"
Suddenly laughing out loud, the face of DDRJacob swollen as if he was unable to contain all the joy within his body alone.
"You see, the entire problem of Grand Strategy Games of the past, was about how complex and deep the simulation was supposed to be. Make the mechanic too simple, and your choices will be limited. Make it too complicated, and no one will care enough to learn it. That's why, instead of using some artificial systems to control one's power and skills, the consequences of your decisions will be reflected in your normal player's response to them!"
'I see... So that's what this is about!'
As if the epiphany suddenly struck him, Natan couldn't help but hold the armrest of his chair to the point of his knuckles turning white.
Just like the man on the screen said, the degree of complexity of the game was the greatest bane of grand strategy games. But real people acting like the actual resource? As the cushion for the policies?
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'Rather than prerecorded effects, all the events will end up with real reactions of real people!'
At this point, Natan was unable to hold his excitement. This approach allowed for countless possibilities!
From the true propaganda to shift the common opinion of a topic, through cosplaying in order to invoke certain feelings... This was going to be far better than it already was!
"If you are going to ask, what's the point of this whole thing for our side, let me quickly answer this."
After taking his sweet time to calm down himself, DDRJacob resumed his normal sitting posture with his hands cupped in front of his chest.
"There is only so much that can be prepared in advance. There is only so much a small group of developers can come up with. That's why, as soon as everyone will arrive at the island and get two days of proper rest, you will receive powerful tools that will allow you to shape the events, rules and policies of your country alone. This state of things will remain for two weeks, after which, the grand conquest game will be announced."
Suddenly moving up from his chair, the man on the screen approached the camera, grabbed it and raised it as if he was vlogging.
"All the events will be streamed and commented online. By ruling your country, you will receive a small remuneration based on your nation income. How much you will earn, depends only on how your country will prosper. You will all have a year, to remove eighty-nine countries from the map, leaving only the strongest ten nations alive. If you fail to do so, the winners will be decided arbitrarily by our developing team. You have two days to decide if you want to take part in this game. After the deadline, you will either be sent back home or will get access to the library with all the materials you need to properly start your game."
Putting the camera back on the stand, DDRJacob distanced himself by approaching the big window that was so far covered by a curtain. Moving the cloth away, he revealed a look privy only to members of the paradise.
Turning himself back around, he stood at the background filled with lush forest, clean rivers and golden beaches, all incorporated into a single view from his window.
"I wish you all good luck and safe travel. As per the tradition of our Grand Slam Lan Party, lets the wits decide, who will be the one to rule the world!"