In Season: A letter to the future, you play as a young woman from a secluded village exploring the world by bike for the first time, collecting memories before a cataclysm washes everything away. Your journey brings you to a strange valley where the seeds of the next Season have been planted. You meet the last remaining inhabitants the day just before they’re to be evacuated. In this last moment, you try to piece together the mysteries of the valley. Every conversation, every landscape, brings you closer to understanding: what is this Season and why is it ending?
Why is the story?
Most of the themes of “Season: A letter to the future” are expressions of the anxieties of our age. We’re heading towards a future we know will be worse than the present. As this becomes more certain, it has an attendant thought that feels even darker: These awful years are also the good times. The story exists to give some kind of poetic expression (poetic meaning barely under control, the subconscious has the wheel) to these thoughts and feelings, to defamiliarize them, tear them up and put them back together in a fantasy world. There is another major motif to the story as well: The five senses.
The senses or how things feel
The game often calls attention to your senses. The screen goes black several times as the character closes her eyes to listen closer to sounds. How things taste, feel, or smell, are often described as you explore. This theme found potent expression in many of the features available only on PlayStation 5. How does it feel to ride a bicycle? The adaptive triggers let us vary the resistance depending on the speed or the steepness of the road, so going uphill feels uphill. The haptic feedback also changes as you cycle over different types of terrain. When recording audio in the game, you hear the sound but you also feel the shape of it in the vibration of the DualSense controller.
Season also uses Tempest 3D AudioTech to add a deeper level of detail to the spatial dimensions of sound. The world is populated with ear-catching sounds that demand this close inspection. Music doesn’t just exist in the score but is part of the world, self-playing musical instruments, tunes from the radio, unusual bird songs, wind singing through bamboo. These are rich details but given the thematic importance the game attaches to our senses, they take on an added layer of meaning.
Interact with the world and its people
There are many diverse people you will meet on your adventure through the world of Season. When you come across them, each is preparing for the changing Season in their own way. Join them in their final moments in their home, and record their stories.
Kochi, a young boy, takes you on a bicycle tour of a valley the day before it is flooded. Get to know the home he grew up in as he prepares for his final goodbye.
Maytora, an outsider artist, documents the story of the valley through her sculptures. You’re the only witness to her final piece.
Easel is the last monk of Tieng Valley. Left behind by his teachers and friends, Easel awaits the change of the Season in isolation, with nothing to pray for until you arrive.
You guide them through moments of quiet crisis. In their lives, the change coming to the world is not abstract, it is immediate. They are trying to navigate, to survive, to find a way to live. You help them. You remember them. In your journal, carry them with you.
- A stunning bicycle road trip: Wind your way through stunning landscapes on your bicycle. Slow down and take in the incredible scenery in vista after memorable vista.
- Explore a mysterious world: Meet a diverse cast of characters along your way, who will change the course of your story. The land of Tieng Valley is open for you to explore, investigate and learn about the past and the future of this place.
- Document, photograph, and record: Collect memories, make recordings, and discover the secrets of this Season before it ends. Your journal is the key to understanding this world.
- Beautiful soundtrack: Listen to the haunting score as you travel, a perfect accompaniment for your journey.
- Important choices: Pay attention to your surroundings as you live through the story and resolve the end of Season. Choose the questions you ask characters carefully, as these choices will impact your relationships and understanding of the world. Remember, what you collect is what will be saved for the next Season.
The gameplay of Season: A letter to the future focuses on exploring, recording, meeting others, and unraveling the strange world around you. Wind your way through stunning landscapes on your bicycle. At any point, you can hop off your bike and equip a recording tool from your bag. Each captures a different element; sounds and music, art and architecture, voices of strangers, vanishing religious practices, and the traces of Seasons long past. Your tools help you examine the world more closely until you’re able to grasp the culture, history, and ecology underneath it all.Season: A letter to the future will be available digitally on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on January 31. You may pre-order now or add to your Wishlist!
This story originally appeared on playstation