Indie Studio: Joy Manufacturing

Hi there! Tell us a bit about yourself and your studio.

My name is Luther Patenge and I’m the game designer and writer at Joy Manufacturing Co. LLC. We’re a small studio based mainly in San Francisco that is working on our first game as a studio. Many of us originally met while working together at Kabam, a mobile and social games company. A lot of us also used to be in the same D&D group.

What game are you currently working on?

‘Ambition: A Minuet in Power’ is a rogue-lite romantic visual novel where you play as an unmarried woman of fashion in 18th Century Paris looking to get love, wealth, and power by any means necessary! Just don’t get beheaded… or assassinated… or driven to bankruptcy.

What inspired Ambition: A Minuet in Power?

The original inspiration behind Ambition actually came from watching the 1948 film adaptation of ‘The Three Musketeers’. While we were watching it, we realized that the most interesting character in the whole story was Milady De Winter. She was a villainess, but she accomplished more than anyone else, all while doing it with less resources. We started asking ourselves why more games didn’t feature protagonists like her, who used soft power and treachery to achieve their aims.

With that in mind, we started asking ourselves, what that would even look like? Eventually we settled on the concept of a visual novel, and moved the game’s story from 17th Century France to 18th Century France, right before the Revolution. This updated setting allowed us to ratchet up the stakes, as it was a time of great intrigue where a country was fighting for its very soul.

What makes Ambition: A Minuet in Power special?

Glamorous Parties – Explore a massive variety of procedurally generated parties. Charm guests with your witty remarks, collect scandalous gossip, and use your fellow party goers as stepping stones to meet the truly important people.

Love Is Power – Ensnare the hearts of Parisian nobles and use their influence to your advantage. Change the outcome of political events, snub your rivals, and be lavished with expensive gifts.

A Cast of Unforgettable Characters – Fall in love with a sprawling cast of fully realized characters. Enjoy the company and learn the secret histories of mysterious priests, wronged soldiers, wealthy widows, and more! Don’t worry, if you’re discreet, you won’t have to pick just one.

An Exquisite Work of Art – Experience a gorgeously illustrated, and lovingly researched rendition of 18th century Paris. It is a time of fashion, and a time of secrecy. It is a world of staggering beauty, and unspeakable danger.

The Sound of Another Time – Be entranced by the authentic, original score crafted by award-winning composer John Robert Matz! Enjoy a sweeping musical journey that will take you from the class and sophistication of fashionable string quartets, to the grandeur of the orchestra of the late baroque.

History Isn’t Guaranteed – Just like your character, you don’t always know what’s going to happen next. Critical moments from history may end differently in each playthrough, making each game truly unique and requiring you to always stay on your toes!

How is Ambition: A Minuet in Power different to other games in the genre?

As I mentioned before, ‘Ambition: A Minuet in Power’ is a rogue-lite visual novel. This means that while certain points in time are fixed, the outcomes are not always the same. Much like Yvette would have had to do in her own time period, the player will have to perform some political fence sitting to make sure that they end up on the winning side of history.

Additionaly, I would say that a major differentiator for us is that our protagonist, Yvette, is a much more active character than in many visual novels. More often than not, VN protagonists take a very passive role in their own stories and seem like they’re merely being pushed along by fate, whereas Yvette is a woman who strongly desires agency in her own life, and the game reflects this. You choose which parties to go to, who to talk to, who to romance, who to betray and more!

What’s currently happening in development for Ambition: A Minuet in Power?

Right now, Ambition is in Pre-Alpha, but while our engineer hammers out core features we’re full steam ahead on creating content for the game. We recently finished the game’s critical story path, and now are focusing on all the randomized events that can happen throughout the course of the game.

When is Ambition: A Minuet in Power being released?

While our release date hasn’t been determined yet, you can wishlist the game on Steam in order to find out when that date’s been set!

Where is the best place to get the latest news about Ambition: A Minuet in Power?

The best places to get news are either by wishlisting our game on Steam, or signing up for our newsletter at:

Is there anything else you’d like to mention about Ambition: A Minuet in Power?

We have the nicest fans in games. Anyone who disagrees can fight me.

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