I Was a Teenage Exocolonist dev on the amount of care going into character development
Making a believable world
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is a narrative RPG with card-based battles, but it’s also about spending your teenage years on an alien planet. You’ll meet all sorts of interesting and unique characters along the way, and the decisions you make will impact your relationships in both big and small ways. The key to making this gameplay loop engaging is intricate character development, and the team at Northway Games is going the extra mile to nail this.
In an interview with Nintendo Life, Sarah Northway of Northway Games spoke at length about the effort being put into characters, their stories, and the goal of making everything feel natural.
It was tough finding a balance between making the characters feel natural, and giving you gameplay hooks to hold on to while interacting with them. I’m a game designer with a love of spreadsheets, so I started by giving every character lists of positive and negative personality traits that might conflict in interesting ways.
Then I worked with writer Lindsay Ishihiro to give voice to them all and add much more subtlety to the interactions. Our process was often a push-and-pull between their more mature narrative composition, and my desire for brevity and easily grokable player choices.
The demo year was largely written by me, so it leans more toward simplicity and stereotypes to help ease you in, and to represent how it feels to be ten years old. As the game progresses and the teens grow up, the writing also matures. The characters reveal more complexity and defy many of the expectations we set earlier. Some of them also change dramatically over the ten years in the full game.
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is priced at $25 and will come to Switch on August 25th, 2022.