Hello fellow travellers!
Welcome back to our monthly blog posts, where we’ll be looking more in-depth into Season – and peek behind the curtain to see what inspires our team. We’ll be using this space to tell you more about our world, our characters, and to tell you more about the talented team of individuals working on the game.
In this month’s installment – we’ll be exploring a mixture of media that inspired Season from its halcyon days of youth. A book, a film, an essay, a poem, a game, and a song.
As 2021 draws to a close, we reflect on where we’ve been and we are going. So we thought we’d start with the inspirations that started us on this path, and share them with you in the hopes that you might learn more about yourself, and more about what we’re hoping to accomplish with Season.
A Mixture of Media – Season Influences
“The greatest hope for originality is to take the smallest unit of influence from as many places as possible.”
Mark Hollis, of the band Talk Talk, said something like this.
Imagine someone in wool pants and a wool shirt walking through a dense forest. When they emerge into a clearing, picture how they would be covered in burs and sticks and leaves – a collection of what stuck to them. That image is how I see absorbing influences to become a collection. Here’s a swath of influences on our project Season, each from a different medium of art.
Some of these pieces inspired us with a strong, unique tone or mood. Others gave us ideas with their original fantasy world building. And there are also pieces here that reflect on the themes of collecting and existence, a theme that leans itself to the foundation of our game.
Octavia Butler – “The Parable of the Sower”
Butler builds a world that is so recognizable and so strange at the same time. It feels rooted in a different set of assumptions about the world than any other sci-fi fantasy world I’d encountered. The way a dream is built out of our experiences, projections, encounters… a fantasy world is the same. It’s an extension of what we think, what we know, what we believe; but it’s also a floating speculation. These concepts influenced the way we tried to build the world of Season and led to us using a wide range of sources (historical, personal, political) that we tried to incorporate within the worldbuilding.
Bi-Gan- “Kaili Blues”
The sense of place in this film is so strong. It’s like a poem, a moment in time, a magic trick. The center piece is an inspiring 40+ minute continuous shot around a village by motorbike/boat/foot. We took influence from the mundane yet surreal feeling of life in “Kaili Blues,” and the way moving through space feels. Bi-Gan is a genius. I would love to collaborate with him.
Ursula K. Le Guin – “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction”
A short essay by another great science fiction writer.
We think of influence as being cause and effect but sometimes it feels nonlinear. I read this essay very late in the process of writing Season, our composer sent it to me, but it resonated super strongly and feels like an influence anyway.
Walt Whitman – “The Sleepers” POEM
“I wander all night in my vision,
Stepping with light feet, swiftly and noiselessly stepping and stopping,
Bending with open eyes over the shut eyes of sleepers,
Wandering and confused, lost to myself, ill-assorted, contradictory,
Pausing, gazing, bending, and stopping.”
Whitman’ poetic character was a collector as well, creating a sprawling inventory of life, trying to embrace a fractured and violent country into a bear hug, into the expanse of his person. There’s a lot of “Song of Myself” and “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” in Season as well, but the surreal-yet-real very tender feeling of the opening passages of this poem also reverberate throughout Season.
Shigesato Itoi – Mother 2/Earthbound
The psychedelic barely-controlled tone of this series is awe inspiring. There is an existential horror that creeps in. This scene in particular was an influence, the way it violently calls attention to the senses. It’s quite a jarring shift in tone. Season has some shifts in tone, although none as extreme as this.
Shigesato Itoi’s letter to fans of the series for the 20th anniversary is a beautiful piece of writing that was also very inspiring. I used to quote part of it in the pitch for Season. Nintendo took it down sadly but here’s a link to it on a message board.
Oh Yoko – Seashore (DJ Sprinkles’ Ambient Ballroom)
A remix of this, from Terre Thaemlitz (aka DJ Sprinkles)
It sounds like the past, like the texture of a warm memory, but it also feels like the future. It feels heavy, it feels light. It’s a tone of admirable complexity. Another influence on Season appears as a sample inside of this track. We hear a voice speaking a monologue written by David Milch, from the TV show NYPD Blue. (He’s best known as the writer of Deadwood.)
A lot of Season’s better pieces of writing come in monologue form, and it’s a challenge to try to write as directly as possible, which Milch does wonderfully.
This is just an assortment of media that has helped inspire Season. There is much more still for us to share – both about what helped us create Season, and about what Season is itself. We want you to know that these bits of memory, our collections of items that hold significance, are an essential part of the game’s experience, and we invite you to imagine what things are caught up in yourself, like nostalgic flotsam, that inspire you.
- The Writer
Thank you for taking the time to read our update! We’d love to hear your thoughts over on our Discord where you can talk to the developers, share your own inspirations, and learn more about Season.
We also have a newsletter which will share some different information you won’t get in our blog posts! (Sign-up is in the site footer, right below this!) We’ll have a year end missive in your inboxes very soon.
Be safe in your journeys, and never forget.