Thanks so much for responding! This is a thought-provoking game, and it’s nice to get to talk to the creator directly. There is a long response inside the spoiler below.
[spoiler]I definitely think there should be a custom response to the player attempting to cause Liu to kill herself. I just got the generic response “Violence isn’t the answer to this one,” which is frustrating (and also contradictory, since I can murder Turandot just fine!). That would be a good place for some flavor, to explain why you want to subvert that part of the opera.
These are the endings I got:
You murdered Turandot
You gave away the Prince’s name, asking for nothing in return
You traded Calaf’s life for riches
You gave Turandot everything
AND, while I was writing this comment and messing around to see if I missed anything, I opened up a whole new path!!! I hadn’t yet tried to “swear” before giving any names, which then opened up the last (?) scene of the game. Where I got this ending:
You learned the secret
Did I miss any other endings? Is there anything Turandot can do at the end other than sleep?
I was so, so excited to find that last ending. It felt much more dramatically effective than the others. I had been thinking that it was frustrating that Turandot was so unbending, that even after we played as her, we could not move her or change her intent, and then finally I found a resolution that draws together both Liu and Turandot’s very different perspectives and dilemmas.
I hope there is still a bit more I haven’t found! This was really enjoyable to explore; I have a lot of strong opinions about Turandot the opera, which I love but think is flawed in a major way, namely its failure to properly deal with its characters. You have created alternate paths here that feel in some ways more true to the characters than the opera’s ending does.
You take Turandot and her principled objection to being possessed by a man perfectly seriously; I particularly loved the use of the ghosts of her persistent suitors as obstacles. And I am still grappling with what you make of Liu here, and her role as a servant, and how she views her service, and where her loyalties lie, and whether or not she has the potential for her own independent desires. Obviously I loved this!!!
A few things I noticed that may be bugs:
In Liu’s scene at the end, if you do this:
swear / yes (you trust her) / no (you won’t give her your name) / ask for her
The game then asks “Do you want to continue?”, and if you say “no,” it appears to be bugged; it prompts you to ask for her again, and won’t accept any responses at all (including “ask for her”).
In Turandot’s scene at the end:
You have “Liu’s service” as an item, but can’t examine it or interact with it.
It’s possible to give Liu back Liu’s name and the Prince’s name, which removes them from your inventory and produces a strange response: “You give Liù’s name to The slave girl.” It also seems to break the scene a little; you can no longer look at Liu: “On the bed is The slave girl, asleep.”
You also can’t examine Liu after you stand up? (“x liu” just produces “.”)