Despite being a diehard Mass Effect and Dragon Age fan, it’s not the exciting teasers for the future entries in both series that I can’t stop thinking about since The Game Awards. It’s Season, the breathtakingly gorgeous second game developed by Scavengers Studio.
In a PlayStation Blog post, Scavengers Studio creative director Kevin Sullivan introduces Season as “a game about capturing that fleeting moment” where you “experience the final moments of different cultures before they disappear.” In this third-person atmospheric adventure bicycle road trip game, you play as a traveling young woman from a faraway (from where?) village. She has taken it upon herself to record the last moments of different cultures before they’re eradicated by a mysterious cataclysm.
The gameplay is focused on biking, exploring, recording photographs and audio, and “encountering” local people. The game’s Steam page lists the game’s features as:
- Meet a diverse cast of characters on your way, who will change the course of your story
- Explore a beautiful and poetic fantasy world
- Collect artifacts, make recordings, and discover the secrets of the world of Season
- Wind your way through stunning landscapes on your bicycle
- Experience a touching story as you witness the last breath of different cultures
The key aspect of Season’s premise is that you have no control over these different societies meeting their ends. You’re not a chosen hero setting out to save these cultures, places, and people from being forgotten because you’re the only one who can. You’re simply there before everything changes, bearing witness to it in order to “make recordings and attempt to understand what is being lost before it’s gone.” And to see these snapshots of humanity throughout the eras — that’s a privilege in and of itself.
“The mood is warm and melancholic,” describes Sullivan. “It’s a world at the end of a golden age, where you take a bittersweet last look before it becomes a distant, faded memory.”
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In witnessing all these endings making way for new beginnings, you will be creating a time capsule, deciding what would capture the spirit of a particular time period and carry it onwards. It’s instantly captivating. As Sullivan says, while the development team began creating the game before the COVID-19 pandemic, “the feeling that the good times are over is even more pervasive” now. It resonates, and that’s without acknowledging the obvious: Season’s incredible visuals.
Sullivan states the game’s art direction is inspired by illustrators, painters, and natural light cinematographers, as well as the early Japanese woodblock print artists and mid-20th century poster artists such as Norman Wilkinson. It is a “minimalist approach to realism,” focused on getting rid of rather than adding details. And it certainly works, for I keep seeing people gush over the trailer on my Twitter feed.
And it’s so immediately easy to see why. Watch the trailer and look at the screenshots in the game’s Steam page and Sullivan’s post. The colors are breathtaking. As I watched the trailer with my best friend, an art student, she couldn’t stop commenting on the amazing animation. And those vibes? With that lovely piano track accentuating a trailer without a single frame that isn’t utterly gorgeous? As friend of the site and writer Funké Joseph expresses, they are immaculate.
In a press release, Sullivan states:
We’re dizzily excited to share the world of Season with the world of the real world. Just as the character in the game makes a cultural collection, the game itself has been that for us. It has absorbed our worries about the state of the planet, our joy at living on it, things we’ve seen, people we’ve loved and lost, all tied together into something, hopefully, beautiful and strange.
Scavengers Studio CEO Amélie Lamarche says about Season:
I really wanted the studio to build a game that is unique in its genre, accessible to a wide audience, and leads players into a striking story, elegant and fully felt … Season’s creative direction pushes the boundaries of anything I’ve seen so far. It is a quest for adventures of astonishing beauty, but also full of the unexpected.
And, yes: like with Fields of Mistria and Call Me Under, this is the third consecutive week that I use my writing privileges to tell you about a very pretty game that is very much not coming out yet but that I am very excited about. That’s journalism, baby.
Season has no release date yet, but it will be coming to PlayStation 5 and PC.