Digging through game jam games is hard work, so thanks to those who mined The Westport Independent from the veritable pile of games that Ludum Dare consistently produces. Instantly visually and thematically similar to Lucas Pope’s Papers, Please and his earlier title The Republica Times, The Westport Independent proposes to take us a step further, setting the game inside the borders of a totalitarian state that has set out to dissolve any independent entities—and, especially, your publication.
As you are sent articles each day, you choose what will or won’t be censored from the each week’s issue, your choices gathering either loyalist suspicion or rebel support. What’s interesting is that there currently doesn’t seem to be a reason not to support the government should you choose to (though the game is also in early alpha/testing phase), which means that currently you decide what your paper should represent—an interesting proposition in light of many “rebels are good” narratives in videogames.
Planned features include actual management options, potential for taking or receiving bribes, and controlling how much you print each issue (the biggest Republica similarity), in addition to others that the developers aren’t currently speaking about. Papers, Please demonstrated how seemingly mindless obedience can arise in times of mass oppression better than many books or movies, so I have hope that Westport too may exhibit some of that chilling power.