The game takes us back to Paris at the turn of 19th and 20th century, a colourful and vivid city with a thirst for technological advances of the upcoming century. This is the Paris which even today continues to inspire works of art, the Paris of artists, non-conformists and, most of all, the Parisian Bohemia, whose members spent their time having fun and engaging in creative work while demonstrating disrespect for conventions, social norms and materialism. But the Montmartre hill, the centre of Bohemia, attracted not only artists, but also some other, often very peculiar people.
The main character is a Gypsy brought up in a poor family of shopkeepers. He invented the Shopping Vendor and even went a step further. He found an investor and in turn set up a company called Le Feu. His name derives from Alfred Dreyfus, the character of the famous scandal in the late 19th century. The surname Ethon is one of the versions of the name of the vulture/eagle, which according to Greek mythology ate Prometheus’ liver.
She comes from a poor family, but is very intelligent. She is also disappointed with the fact that she failed to pursue her dream career. She thinks she is better than her schoolmate Alfred Ethon. Her character was inspired by Marie Gabrielle Capet, a French painter from the turn of 18th and 19th century, who had failed to make a career matching her talent. In addition, the Widow Capet is a prison nickname of the beheaded Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France.
Alfred Ethon’s neighbour is a lord from an old, aristocratic family, which unfortunately lost its importance after the French Revolution. Now he is squandering away what is left from his family’s wealth, he has neglected both himself and the house, and is spending most of his time drinking. His name comes from a real French aristocrat Jacques Brissot, a lawyer, politician, philosopher, and one of the leaders of Girondists.
Alfred Ethon’s invention, which operates similarly to today’s online shopping. In many places in Paris there are storehouses to which farmers, bakers, butchers etc. deliver their produce. Each storehouse supports a dozen or so shopping machines. After inserting a coin and choosing the product, it is sent in a special capsule, which is transported to the vendor via a system of pipes. Although the concept is fictional, it is perfectly in line with predictions on the world after 2000 in the times of Bohemians.
ALLEYS, TENEMENTS, COURT, PRISON, GRAPHICS
The game features excellently represented Parisian architecture from the early 19th century. The streets and tenements closely resemble those on the Montmartre hill.
The design of the courtroom follows that of the real one located in the Paris-based palace of justice (Palais de Justice de Paris) on the island of Ile de la Cite.
The prison is very much reminiscent of the La Sante prison, built in the mid 19th century in the 14th district of Paris.
Graffiti on the walls refers to the slogans of the French Revolution and calls to kill the rich. Indoor posters are authentic French graphics from the turn of the 19th and 20th century. The drawings in Alfred Ethon’s atelier feature the vision of France after 2000 as imagined by graphic artists from the time.
THE ALFRED DREYFUS AFFAIR
In the game we will find many references to the so called Dreyfus affair, i.e. the case of a French officer wrongly accused of and sentenced for treason. The case was a symbol of injustice and rehabilitation, which for 10 years sparked emotions and tormented the conscience of the French society. It also triggered a political and social crisis, leading to major changes in the country. The game is set in the same year as the year of the Dreyfus affair, i.e. 1894. In the courtroom there is a portrait of the then French Prime Minister Charles Dupuy, for whom the Dreyfus affair was the end of career. In the game we can also find copies of Le Petit Journal, a genuine newspaper from the time.
“Satius enim esse impunitum relinqui facinus nicentis quam innocentem damnari”
The main character has a pocket watch on him, with the above latin legal phrase (“It is better to let the crime of the guilty go unpunished than to condemn the innocent”) inscribed on it, which is a motto of the game.