In the late summer of 1512, the Medici family came back into Florence in triumph, after manoeuvring its way out of exile in a time of war across Italy. Leonardo had left the city but he was still alive; Machiavelli was living on the outskirts of town under house arrest. The people remembered the old Medici glory but they had also lived through Savonarola and, then, a republic without any Medici men in it at all.
It seemed to me an interesting moment to introduce some what ifs: What if the inventors and artists of this amazing moment were magicians too? What are the factors that limit and constrain power? And most importantly, what would Renaissance Florence have looked like from the air, in a flying machine like Leonardo’s?
Interactive fiction is a great way to explore what ifs.
I’ve been working on The Magician’s Workshop in for the last 18 months or so, along with my patient editors at Choice of Games, and I’m so pleased to see it in the world. This is my second project for Choice of Games: The Road to Canterbury was released in April 2018. It was a finalist for the Nebula Award in game writing.
You can find the game on Steam, the Google Play store, Amazon and Apple, or just play in your browser.
The first few chapters are free to play, and the game’s on sale until Dec. 26.
Here’s a trailer and an interview with me about The Magician’s Workshop.