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I Was a Teenage Exocolonist Wants One to Game Its Decade-Long Groundhog Day for Happiness

The initial hour of I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is dictionary definition coziness, more often than not. You can find vague hints of outside or future threats to the area colony on earth Vertumna, but within the walls of the colony my 10-year-old protagonist is safe in an environment of cotton candy trees, gentle guidance from adults, simple school lessons, and low-stakes interactions with peers. I thought we would fill my days with sports, digging in the fields to greatly help the colony, and occasionally studying engineering.

And, among my friends died suddenly, seemingly unpreventably. I was crushed. That they had been a popular character of mine so short a period in. And from there, the pastel loveliness of the colony dimmed a little, and the planet of Vertumna became a little more grounded, a little more human.

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist deftly balances the dichotomy of its soft aesthetics and loveliest moments with stories of grief, conflict, confusion. It really is, in the end, an account of growing up. The protagonist is really a child taken to Vertumna making use of their family to create a fresh life with a colony on a (so we think) uninhabited planet, where in fact the colonists have big dreams of freedom from capitalism within an (initially) peaceful, self-sufficient society. You play through year by year, choosing which activities in the colony youll take part in each season, which influence your stats and unlock different careers and paths for the young exocolonist. Your decisions, knowledge, who you decide to befriend, and the way you interact with all of those other colony will ultimately influence both its direction and yours as you grow to age 20.

Its an excellent encapsulation of what creator Sarah Northway informs me she attempt to do when she first began focusing on the overall game in 2017. Her vision at that time was of a life simulator in the design of Princess Maker a Japanese series where youre the parent of just a little girl and raising her to become a princess.

It’s about super crunchy stats and choosing what she does each day, Northway says. I needed to sort of take that, reverse it so you will be the person: there is no adult, it isn’t a creepy litttle lady thing, and it’s really just your daily life growing up.

But with five years and much more gaming foundation to cook with, Northway and co-writer Lindsay Ishihiro could actually construct the premise in the context of a truly massive choice-based narrative. Northway speculates you can find around 600,000 words, or like six books basically in I Was a Teenage Exocolonist. Also it boasts 800 story events, 30 different endings, 25 jobs, and 10 dateable characters with an assortment of various kinds of relationships.

Should we really be on the market likely to other planets, pushing ourselves into these new spaces? That is clearly a major element of the story.

But with all that text, Exocolonist isn’t a visual novel, she adds. Its a card battler, narrative-focused RPG, where your deck is made by the experiences your character has and found in small, poker-like minigames that effectively function as games combat. The term count deluge is disseminate over a huge selection of small moments that one may discover, or not, based on the choices they label of how exactly to spend their time over ten years. So while you can find major story elements and themes everyone will come across, there are several you might never see about the same as well as multiple runs. And, like my very own first few hours with the overall game, those moments will change wildly between light-hearted childhood fun and grim realities of adulthood.

It is a colony, so we cope with lots of components of not specifically Earth colonialism, although it’s mentioned but human expansion, environmentalism, Northway says. Should we really be on the market likely to other planets, pushing ourselves into these new spaces? That is clearly a major element of the story. We’re not shoving it down your throat so much, we want the ball player to wander involved with it thinking, Oh, it’s one among those fun little farming simulator type things, where I must work hard with this alien planet to industrialize it.

Then slowly as time passes around you, as you mature with this planet, you arrived at realize that the items your parents have told you about humans’ invest the universe isn’t just the only method. And that the ball player can come with their own conclusions. Among the major choices is whether to go with what the colony does, that is very anti-environment, people-first, survival no matter what. Or would you like to look for another solution to either coexist with the earth or simply limit human destruction of it entirely?

But one absolutely critical feature of I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is that while my pal could have died an early on death in my own initial run, Im not locked into that outcome forever, nor am I stuck with some of its sadder or less satisfying endings I would eventually get. Nearly every bad event could be changed or prevented for some reason, as soon as you finish your first run, your character will start a Groundhog Day-like loop back again to age 10 with all the current understanding of outcomes they found on the initial go, permitting them to shortcut their solution to better endings every time and effectively only solve each relationship or choice puzzle onetime. Theres plenty of joy in Exocolonist alongside its darker moments. And Northway notes there are a good couple of most evident, good endings that may require multiple playthroughs and lots of different choice paths working together to attain.

Whether it’s going to create a few people convenient, just put it in the overall game. It certainly doesn’t look like a problem.

Most of what Northway describes has been working exceedingly well for me personally in my own playthrough so far, largely on the effectiveness of Exocolonists writing. Northway and Ishihiro have lovingly created a planet using its own flora, fauna, history, archaeology, climate, and future thats a delicacy to learn about, especially when i can concentrate on just a few components in each playthrough, learn all there’s to learn, then get one of these different path the next time. The characters, similarly, are wonderfully multilayered folk who often surprise (once and for all and bad) during the period of the story. During our interview, Northway teased a character Id had an especially difficult time befriending was among her favorites, and had a wonderfully complex arc down the road easily was ever in a position to breakdown his walls. I didnt bypass to it on my first run, but Im already establishing to pursue him on another.

If youre reading all of this and are defer a little because of the chance for death, grief, and tragedy, theres one last element to Exocolonist that I came across absolutely brilliantly done that will help you: its content warning system. The in-game menu includes a set of warnings for all your different triggers it is possible to possibly encounter in the overall game, which are nested so concerning help those seeking to avoid specific triggers skip them entirely, but let those just searching for a heads up know whats going on without spoilers. It is possible to keep carefully the list at surface level, or have a look at some spoiler-light details for a particular trigger, or drill down completely in to the menu to understand how to prevent the trigger appearing in game at simply by steering free from specific scenarios.

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist Official Screenshots

Northway informs me the machine was devised after watching some streamers playing early versions of the overall game cry or elsewhere emotionally react on stream if they were hit with particularly difficult scenes. While she says she reached out and confirmed these were all okay, it made her recognize that others may not be, particularly if they (like me) were drawn into Exocolonist because of its cozy promotional aesthetics and werent expecting tragedy alongside the cuteness.

The very best part of this article warning is that it had been trivial to set up, she says. It had been very, super easy. Took in regards to a day from conception to it’s in the overall game and it’s really done. Everyone should just do that. It just sort of appears like a no-brainer. Whether it’s going to create a few people convenient, just put it in the overall game. It certainly doesn’t look like a problem. I understand that the majority of AAA games, people can be found in with the expectation that there surely is likely to be violence. You can find likely to be items that are upsetting or triggering. But certainly for indie games, it’s just really nice to inform people what things to expect.

As a person who doesnt have any major triggers in order to avoid but does just like a heads up for some things, I remain grateful for the warnings when i give I Was a Teenage Exocolonist another run. I believe this time around Ill play the role of a bit more rebellious, spend a bit more time with the loner kid whose shell I couldnt crack the 1st time, build some better empathy skills, and see where all that takes me. Im most excited to see what Vertumna appears like when it isnt visited by tragedy almost immediately, given that Im equipped to avoid the death that hit so difficult in the initial hour. Maybe I could keep that bright cotton candy planet innocent for a little bit longer.

Rebekah Valentine is really a news reporter for IGN. You will find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

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