In the game, players must campaign, raise money, take out advertisements, win endorsements, and even go on cable TV news shows such as the O’Maley Factor, HardHitter, Barry King, and more to answer tough questions on the issues of the day. The game map uses real demographic information to accurately portray the political landscape of the United States. Different states are more “liberal” or “conservative” than others. The political issues they care about differ from state to state. How candidates respond to these issues determines how strong their support is with their political base as well as wooing the all-important independent voters as well.
Players can either use pre-made political candidates or design their own candidates. In design mode, players must make tough choices on what their candidate’s strengths will be – intelligence, fund raising ability, comeliness, charisma, integrity, experience, etc. During the course of the game, special units become available such as hecklers, spin doctors, protesters, celebrity supporters, and more who can be used by you (or against you) on the campaign trail.
The game ends on election day with victory for one of the candidates in the US electoral college. The game can be played against a computer controlled candidate or against another person playing over the Internet.
The Political Machine is scheduled to be released in June 2004 at most retail outlets. Stardock will be starting a public beta of the game starting April 8th via its Drengin.net (www.drengin.net) gaming network.
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