In a New Video Game, You’re the Pope, and You Get to “Eliminate Heretics” June 10, 2020

In a New Video Game, You’re the Pope, and You Get to “Eliminate Heretics”

You made it! The smoke that just rose from the tiny chimney on the Sistine Chapel is white, signifying that a new Pope has been chosen — and it’s you! Yesterday, your name was Rodrigo de Borja, a scion of the notorious Borgia family; but today, on August 11, 1492, you don the papal miter, and you’ll enter history as Pope Alexander VI.

Do you wish your quarters to be painted by Michelangelo or Raphael? Which family members will you grant greater wealth and power? Who threatens the success of your papacy? Who doubts your God-given holiness? Can you buy their loyalty, or must they be disposed of? Which heretics must you eliminate to glorify the Almighty? How many mistresses will you bed? How many children will you admit you sired?

There are a lot of decisions that go into being a 15th-century pope, as you’ll experience when you play The Pope: Power & Sin, a video simulation that’s now in the works at game developers Forestlight Games and PlayWay. The game, for Windows, should debut sometime next year.

According to the companies’ promotional literature,

The Pope: Power & Sin is a game inspired by the life of Rodrigo de Borja, who served as the pope in 1492-1503, as Alexander VI. Take on the role of the Pope, strengthen the authority of the Church State, fight for spiritual and political independence from pagans and the renewal of administrative church structures. The rule of Alexander VI is a torrent of numerous scandals, excesses and signs of moral corruption in the highest authorities of the Church.

This is what’s expected of you after you start the game:

 – Difficult times require quick, often violent decisions. Eliminate heretics who undermine your holiness.
– Unite Italy, expand territory of your power, collect taxes and obtain riches.
Politics don’t always have to be clean; you don’t have to get along with everyone. Remember that you have God on your side, so any decision can be right. …
There is unlimited power in your hands, you are God’s representative on Earth.

Fun for the whole family!

It’s not even the first time that Alexander VI has gotten featured in a video game. He appears as the main antagonist in Assassin’s Creed II, where he’s an atheist (yeah, I don’t get it either, unless he needed to be imbued with more wickedness).

Lex Six — as I like to call him — was also the father of Cesare Borgia in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, fated to bite the big one after junior feeds him a poisoned apple. (The real Alexander is considered to have died of malaria, though some who saw him the day after were aghast at his swollen, blackened corpse, described as “the ugliest, most monstrous and horrible dead body that was ever seen, without any form or likeness of humanity”; they suspected poisoning.)

If playing Pope feels a bit below your station, PlayWay will soon offer everyone the chance to be mankind’s savior with I Am Jesus Christ. For real.

You’ll stroll on water, feed a crowd by multiplying loaves and fishes, and perform other awesome feats. No, your incredible superpowers somehow won’t let you transform the nails of the cross into rubber, or air. The game developers must have decided to keep things, you know, realistic.


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