SCAVENGERS STUDIO
DEVELOPMENT BLOG

A glimpse of sunshine

Summer is slowly coming to us in Quebec, letting a glimmer of happiness and light shine through the entire Season team. The winter has been particularly difficult here, not only with the sanitary measures in place, but also because of everything we’ve been through as a team.

Our vision for Season is stronger than ever; beautiful, soft and luminous, as reflected in these magnificent images taken by a member of our creative team, Mathieu Leroux. In our hearts, inspiration is always present. Sometimes it even seems like we have too many great ideas to show you.

Recently, we had a few playtesters try the game out and it was so motivating to see them playing this game that we worked so hard on. We were happy to meet you and share with you a small part of our creation. We are currently taking your feedback to improve the gaming experience and make this moment enjoyable, as we promised you.

The beautiful season is slowly coming to us.

– Season Team

We finally announce Season at the Game Awards 2020

On December 10 we announced our new project, Season. You might have watched it at the Game awards. As a team we are thrilled to start telling you more about the world we are creating for you. 

At this point, you are probably wondering what sort of gameplay you can expect from Season… We can’t share everything yet but here’s what you should know.

Season is an escape from the world you know into a place familiar and strange. Equipped with a bicycle and your bag of documentation tools, you will set off into this world, choosing which roads you will turn down and pausing for anything that sparks your interest. This is your world to discover. Choose what is important to you to record through sound clips or photography.

The mission is similar to making a time capsule, deciding what would capture the spirit of the time period and carry it onwards. It’s a strong action to perform in the face of an uncertain future. In Season, the mood is warm and melancholic. 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. 

No release date yet, we are keeping that secret for now. 

We still have a lot to do before Season makes it into the hands of players, so expect lots of updates on the development process. 

We wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your support during this announcement and after. Your words of encouragement echo through our digital office space, from all of us, thank you. 

– Season Team

Outside the Studio – the Shaping of Season

We have already told you that Season is a project of passion for the team. Season is a unique experience that captures fun, innovation, beauty, emotion, and culture, with the goal of welcoming a wide range of people to our world. The shaping of the experiences in the game is born out of the passions of our team members, so it’s about time you meet more of the team. 

Our team is made up of unique, open-minded and extraordinary humans. We wanted to get personal with you, and introduce some of the women who capture the essence of Season through their values and passions. We are all so different on the team, and that makes for a beautiful blending of experiences to share within the world of Season (and you’ll just have to wait to see how). 

Meet four members of our team who contribute in their own way, day after day, to the success of Season.

GENEVIÈVE B. – THE STORYTELLER

My name is Geneviève and I am a 3D Artist working on the environments of Season. 

One of my core passions has always been storytelling through visual arts and crafts. I’ve also been obsessed with games, both tabletop and digital, as a means of interacting with stories ever since my childhood. What this means, aside from playing a lot of games, is that I’ve been experimenting with tons of different mediums over the years. Traditional 2D and 3D art, digital painting, 3D printing, game jams, woodworking, gardening, nature photography, and even a very short (and confused) foray into LARPing. The latest hobby I’ve taken up this year is pottery on the wheel. What does that have to do with storytelling? I don’t know yet. Whatever story a piece of pottery holds can be very short, but there’s a long and engaging process behind it. Making things that are unique is something that I’ve always enjoyed.

So, my ‘’passion’’ is still something that is hard to define for me, but it’s not from the lack of options.

How do you feel it is related to Season? 

This kind of unending struggle to figure out which tools to use to carry out a story is a theme that I feel is part of the dilemma of Season, both in its global theme and during its development as a whole. How do you choose to record and encapsulate a moment? Are you allowed to reinterpret it or is the aim pure documentation? Do you make its meaning explicit, or let the viewer piece things together on their own? Can the viewer be more than just a witness? Will they experience the piece, and its story, in a unique way?

In my opinion, these are all important game development questions. Wide, overarching ones, but they are interesting nonetheless, and I’m happy that Season will have its own personal way of answering them whatever the game will turn out to be. 

– Ge B.

QINHUA – THE TRAVELER

I am Qinhua and I’m currently working as the payroll and accounting technician at Scavengers Studio.

I am passionate about traveling. Since I was young, I started to travel around with family or friends. I still remember my first trip to Luoyang, one of the most ancient capitals for many dynasties. It was during my school holiday which was the peak season for tourists. All the trains were overly booked, and that left me with only one option, a standing ticket. It took a lot of effort to squeeze into the train. The train looked much like a can fully filled with sardines. I was standing on the train for fourteen hours without even a teenie weenie space to move my legs until my destination. However, the trip was amazing! I met a Buddist who shared with me many stories; I met a little girl, who kept calling me Auntie. I also participated in a feast with twenty dishes, all of which are soup dishes.

After that first trip, I just can’t stop travelling. Each year, I visit different places in different countries. In Thailand and Japan, I was enjoying the breathtaking natural beauty as well as experiencing the extraordinary internal peace. In Italy, there was the perfect harmony of history and modernity. In Australia, I got to experience  “Christmas on a scorching summer’s day.” Here in Canada, I am getting to know what  real winter is like and expecting more adventures to come my way.

Travelling to me is adventure, replenishment, and a part of my life.

How do you feel it is related to Season? 

When I first read the development blog on the Scavengers website, the cycling and travel stories from its creators hit my heart. A lot of beautiful memories came rushing back. At first sight, I believe the natural bond has been established between Season and me. I am determined to continue my travelling journey with Season.

– Qinhua

MEGAN – THE FOLKLORIST

Hiya, I’m Meg, your friendly Community Manager! A fun fact about me, I have a Diploma from Elf School in Iceland (yes, you read that right). Some might call me a folklorist, which means that I love stories passed down within cultures. 

When I was a child, my grandmother would tell me stories about the fairies that lived in the gardens and the tricks they would play tilting the sunflowers to the light.

My interests have always been twisted towards the darker parts of folklore, the tricksters and villains of this world. I would read any ghost story I could get my hands on and learn about the ghosts that visited my family over the years. I exhausted my limited network and started looking into dark tourism, a tourist attraction surrounded by dark history. It turned out, my home of southern Ontario has a dark past, especially London, Ontario, with its history of serial killers. 

Oddly enough, my interest in dark tourism pushed me down the path to games! I travelled to England to learn about magic and myths. From that experience, I started to devour anything I could get my hands on about Jack the Ripper, including a DLC of Assassins’ Creed. I later found myself living in Guelph, studying simulation dark tourism and war games as a digital game scholar. 

The funny thing about this all: If I play a horror game, I’ll never sleep again.

How do you feel it is related to Season? 

There is an interconnection between stories, people who tell them and their culture. In Iceland, the roads twist and turn to avoid certain rocks, believed to be elves’ homes. I think there’s something beautiful about learning how culture shaped its land and how stories share the meaning of places with strangers. 

The aspect of storytelling and learning from one another is what is beautiful in Season. As a player, you get to experience Season’s collective memory through stories, architecture, art, and so much more. Although you won’t collect Jack the Ripper’s history, you will be experiencing something extraordinary to connect you to the world we created for you in Season.

– With love, Meg

GENEVIÈVE P. – THE COOK

Hello. My name is Geneviève (yes, a second one!) and I am Scavengers Studio’s Communications Coordinator.

My passion lies in everything that has a direct or distant connection with the phenomenon of zero waste in the kitchen.

Since I was little, I have loved to cook! I first discovered cooking with my mother. She’s the one who taught me almost everything about it. Well, she didn’t actually teach me how to cook; she taught me how to have fun with different vegetables, flavours and colours. She taught me that food doesn’t just meet our needs; it fills our lives. Is there anything better than a good family meal or a romantic dinner for two? 

On a more practical side, when I think of cooking, I mainly think of:

– Recovery: did you know that carrot stems can be used in pesto and that radish stems make the best summer green soups?

– Reuse: with a little bit of imagination, you can turn the leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a soup, paté or sandwich instead of eating it every day for two weeks.

– Creativity: I NEVER cook the same recipe twice. And obviously, to recover and reuse food, you have to be creative!

My love to cook whatever I have on hand goes right with my love for recycling, reusing and composting. As I live in a small place, I compost in two ways: Bokashi and Vermicomposting (Google that. I swear it’s worth it!).

How do you feel it is related to Season? 

I believe that my passion directly relates to my love for nature and the environment. I sincerely believe that we all need to do our part for the planet. Its protection is fundamental to me. Thanks to my passion, I am making a (very small, but significant!) difference for our beautiful and fragile planet.

As you will play Season, you will undoubtedly understand my love story for the planet… This game will make you appreciate the beauty of nature, the fragility of the elements that surround us and the importance of preserving this fragile natural balance. With Season’s end of the world both so near and mysterious, this game will make you realize how much the present moment defines the future.

Gen x

A creative journey through Season

My name is Mathieu S. Leroux. I work as an environment artist on Season. Ever since my childhood I have always been passionate about cycling – As early as 15 years of age, I rode from my then hometown – Valleyfield – all the way to Montreal, alone, without the aid of maps or any cell phone for guidance. I simply craved adventure and the unknown. As I got there, I almost instantly lost my bicycle to thieves while I was out to get food. That ride turned out to be a disaster, but it had been worth it, as it set me up to the passion of bicycling. Although next time, I would be better prepared!

And so, ever since I can remember, I have been going on increasingly daring rides across Canada and the US. There is nothing like coming across a village or place you’ve never heard of, stopping for a warm beverage and meeting some of the locals. I feel very thankful to have the chance to help bring some of that passion to the world of Season.

My last ride was Mont-Laurier – Montreal. It was about 250 kilometers. The autumn scenery was beautiful. I went off the beaten path several times, as over the years I’ve become some sort of an exploration kamikaze, often risking personal injury to find new places. For example, last year I did a similar ride on the eastern coast of the US. I stopped at a little cottage in Marblehead, near Salem. There was an island on the horizon that intrigued me greatly, but I found no way to get there and had no intention to rent a boat. So I simply jumped into the ocean and swam all the way there. At one point, in the waves, I started to doubt my decision and panicked, but I didn’t turn back. It was stirring. Once I landed on the beach, however, the feeling of achievement was immense. The excitement made everything seem sweeter than nature. The leaves seemed greener than green, the air was lighter than air. It was all just sand, trees and rocks, but those felt infinitely more intriguing when you’ve carved your way there yourself. I had become addicted to adventure.

This too happened on my ride between Mt Laurier and Montreal. I would jump in rivers, climb impossible rocks and go places where careful people would never dare go, but it was always worth it. I once strapped a life jacket and threw myself down the rapids, letting the current take me to where currents go. When you understand your strengths and limits, there is no reason to hold back on going where you want.

The true goal of my last ride was to take some time to be by myself and meditate on the book I am currently writing. It is called The Phenomenon of Beauty. It is sort of a self-help book, mixed with a heavy dose of philosophy. In it, I talk about ways to find meaning and what I describe as beauty in places where we culturally expect not to find any. For example, living in a city, a noisy neighbourhood, or when you live trying moments or a crushing schedule.

Beauty in this application is not what you observe when, say, you see a pretty flower – It transcends the aesthetics of this world and goes deeper than that. Beauty is the feeling you get when you observe things for what they really are; it is a feeling of awe, of inspiration and a momentary reminder of where you are in the grand scheme of life and all its complexity.

It is true that what takes part in our environment has a direct impact on the way you arrange your thoughts in your mind. For example, and this is one of the founding principles of the modern currents of minimalism: you can reduce clutter to a strict minimum, so as to give breathing space for your eyes and for your mind. It goes in the same precedent as meditation, to “streamline your thoughts” and flush out unnecessary noise.

And so colours and space have meanings, but those meanings are also heavily tainted by our own perceptions – what we assume things are and how we let them affect our thoughts. This is the very core of my book; to learn to observe how your mind treats what it perceives as ugly and bothersome and allow it not to give any room to unreasonable ideas to take root. Sometimes, in the spur of difficult situations, we allow all sorts of unsound thoughts to pass through unfiltered and those unrealistic ideas can unfortunately affect our judgment, ultimately to the detriment of our happiness.

THE CREATIVITY IN MY LIFE AND FOR THE GAME

Raw talent is necessary for all artistic jobs in the video game industry, but what sets Season apart is a bit more abstract. Creativity is a complicated term to describe and even more so to quantify. In my view, I’d go as far as to say that knowledge is just as important as drawing skills are for an artist. The meaning of creativity is the ability to assemble concepts into new ideas; ideas do not exist in a vacuum. All inventions are assemblages of many different concepts that already exist in the world. Creative talent can be measured by how complicated, and how cleverly those fragments of information are assembled together to form “new” interesting ideas.

For Season, the depth of feelings that come to life as you explore the world comes from a creative use of imagery that is elusive but also relatable, springing forth a sense of familiarity for places you’ve never been to, while still being impossible to frame in time and space. The world of Season feels like a daydream; you’ve seen something like it, but also never have. It is like nostalgia for memories you’ve never experienced.

In the game, you may ride through an old road and come across ruins that belong to another era – an era that seems distant and strange, but also more advanced than our own. This is how it may have felt like to roam the fields of England during the times of the Saxons, or the Franks during the days of the Carolingian Empire; to witness strange temples and bath houses lost to time, far beyond the technological knowledge of the era, its true function buried along with the remains of the Roman Empire.

And this brings me back to the meaning of creativity. The richness of the world of Season stems from the inspiration our writer, designers and artists have found in their travels, their books and their overall personal lives. We’ve maintained a very open atmosphere in our studio that encourages exchange of ideas between all trades. The end result is a product that is shaped by our collective energy, a product that feels like our own.

So, if you want to create your own worlds that are both believable and highly intriguing, you must stay curious. Hone in the talents necessary for your trade, but do not forget to put aside some time to learn about our world, to expand the richness of your creative power. So hop on that bike now and go exploring!

– Mathieu