When you get down to it, the point of I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is to grow up.
It’s how you win the game, or, depending on your goals, how you lose it. The game starts shortly after your 10th birthday. The colony ship you’ve lived on your whole life has finally landed and you step out to breathe real air for the first time.
It ends on your 20th birthday, or earlier if you’re less fortunate. When this happens, The question is not just what have you accomplished but who have you become?
Many games ask this question. Particularly RPGs, but really anything involving stats or leveling or equipment is fundamentally about becoming something more than you were. Exocolonist isn’t just about picking one path and excelling at it, but about discovering all the different paths and ways to grow up on a strange and dangerous alien planet.
Every choice you make in Exocolonist advances time by one week. On the planet Vertumna there are 4 (very long) weeks per season, and 5 seasons per year.
The name Vertumna comes from the Roman god Vertumnus; the god of seasons, change, and growth. His name comes from the Latin verb vertere – “to change” – which is the root of words like diverge, weird, universe, and wormhole.
See? I thought about it.
In Exocolonist, you won’t be the only one who ages over the course of the game. Your childhood friends (or not-so-friends) from the ship will grow and change along with you. Anemone, Cal, Tammy, Marz, Dys and his sister Tangent. Their own dramas play out over those 10 years whether you witness them or not. Your involvement may change the course of their lives for better or worse, but you won’t have time to befriend everyone.
This is how it usually goes with dating sims. Yes, you can hook up with a bunch of different people. But finding every ending won’t be that trivial. There are disasters to prevent (or cause), mysteries to unravel, and a large number of career paths to follow. Your skills factor into these, so which activities you spend your time on are as important as the decisions you’ll make.
In the tradition of Rebuild 3, there will be a hard to get “good” ending that requires not just the right balance of skills and “right place, right time”, but the combined knowledge of many past lives.
Because each time you reach age 20 and start a new game, you’ll remember certain things that happened before. In the code I call these memories “groundhogs”, a reference to everyone’s favorite bill Murray movie. They manifest as premonitions or memories of things that will happen… or at least could happen if you don’t act to change them.
More on this to come!