When I first read The Road I was completely overwhelmed. Cormac McCarthy’s story of a man and his son in the post apocalyptic hellscape that Earth had become suffocated me mentally and emotionally. During the few days that it took me to complete the book I felt an overwhelming mix of despair and emptiness that hung over everything I did. Daily tasks became empty movements. Personal interactions passed through me with no meaning. Food became a joyless necessity. And for some reason I loved every minute of it, McCarthy’s words transported me to a place I hate, but couldn’t bear to leave. Rarely has a game done that to me, but that might be changing.
The team behind the critically acclaimed Misery mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. are creating their first stand-alone product, titled The Seed; and while it’s not what you would expect, you should check it out.
It’s a visual novel.
Now get images of what we’ve shown you in our regular Novelly Funded column out of your head. The Seed isn’t a post apocalyptic dating sim that takes place in a high school, its closer to The Road or S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in interactive form. Environments are depressingly beautiful, the story is full of danger, the sounds are there to pull you in and not to entertain, and the choices you make are a matter of life and death. When reading over The Seed’s Kickstarter page keep in mind that you’re not looking at the work of someone trying to get you high on adrenaline, you’re looking at their desire to tell you a story and leave you thinking. The fact that you can come back again later and experience it from a different angle thanks to the branching design is even more compelling.
If The Seed can be delivered with promises intact not only will we have a great bit of interactive entertainment, but, and more importantly, we just might be seeing a change in the visual novel landscape. A landscape in which lovers of otome stand hand in hand with those deemed “hardcore” gamers.