Hello! My name is Kevin Sullivan, I’m the writer and creative director of a video game called “Season” – the next project from Scavengers Studio. Amusing fact: I also made some humble contributions to Darwin Project, the most enjoyable of which was writing and performing the voice of the show director in the trailers.
“Season” has been in development in some form or another for four years now, so while it may feel like it came out of nowhere, it’s been a very gradual process of realization, most of which was not done at any expense apart from pen and paper and paintbrush/stylus. It is quite a different game from Darwin Project, which is a testament to the studio founders’ ability to use what is available in the team, to nurture and develop writers, artists, and designers.
The studio founders, Simon and Amélie, contacted me way back when on the recommendation of our art director. He and I had worked together on some comics and it seemed that my writing and his art fit well together. “Season” began around a single image from him. I was asked to use it as the basis for some ideas. At the time, I was traveling through Indonesia and started taking down fragments of ideas in my notebook. Writing about travel is difficult because in the recounting it becomes about the speaker, in this case myself. But the experience, especially when traveling for a long time, is really the loss of ego. You’re kind of a person without a context when you travel, you have no role in society and are both a novelty and an observer. It’s also possible, however, to form connections with people. This trip was back in 2016, the year when the sentiment we have about the world now, the widespread feeling of precarity, was growing more tangible. As much as I was becoming acquainted with cultural differences, I was also encountering a similitude, particularly in the shared sense that we live in a very Particular Moment of History. We have a tendency to define people by their appearance, to create the category of the ‘other’, but through empathy and experience this can be disposed of. It’s a realization you must have over and over again, it isn’t a lesson you learn just once. Art can do it. Listening closely can do it. These notions of exploration, empathy, and impending catastrophe came together to form our game “Season.”
As we began articulating this feeling in the project, it became important to us as both game developers and human beings. This went on for four years, as I had the chance to embed with a team of experienced creators and programmers. I’d been studying and working on movies and comics before. I’d seen my friends get eaten up by Hollywood. I’d have done the same if I hadn’t fallen in love and moved to Montreal and found my way to Scavengers. I’d always played games but I hadn’t thought of trying to write for them until around 2007 when I played Bioshock, Portal, and Shadow of the Colossus. Like with movies, part of the allure was in the multi-media aspect, that you have to draw on a wide range of disciplines and try to unify them all. When all the elements of the form come together, they can create something beyond the sum of their parts. At the moment, we’re working to organize the strengths of the medium into an experience that captures the feeling of traveling, the feeling of being somewhere deeply unfamiliar but beautiful.
We can’t wait to share more with you.