Releasing later this year
Today’s State of Play may have been a lot shorter than I was expecting – and missing one or two huge titles I thought would be there – but it was a great presentation nonetheless. Especially if you weren’t planning on getting a PS5 until 2023. And while the big-name, heavy-hitters bookended the show, the trailer that got me most excited was the one giving us a fresh look at Season: A letter to the future from Scavengers Studio.
Originally revealed at the 2020 Game Awards, Season: A letter to the future tells the story of the protagonist recording the sights and sounds of a breathtaking world as it comes to the end of its season. Rather than try and save the people who’re sticking by this presumably doomed land, the protagonist aims to capture the world in all its stillness and beauty for future generations. From the look of the new trailer below, that means a lot of photography, audio recording, and interviews.
And bike riding. Lots and lots of bike riding.
Changes at the studio
I have been smitten with Season: A letter to the future since it first popped up on my radar. But it’s been a bumpy road for this bike ride as developer Scavengers Studio has had to manage pandemic working conditions and accusations of inappropriate workplace behavior. In January of last year, GameIndustry.biz published an article interviewing nine current and former studio employees accusing Creative Director Simon Darveau and CEO Amélie Lamarche of fostering a toxic work environment. Following the article’s publication, Lamarche stepped down from her role as CEO, and Darveau was indefinitely suspended.
In July of last year, Scavengers Studio reported the results of a workplace assessment conducted by an external firm, stating it did not find evidence of the allegations after working with 85% of the studio workforce but did state that “there are workplace behaviours that still require improvement.” Following the assessment, Lamarche returned to her role as CEO, and Darveau was shifted to a “non-managerial role in research and development.” Last month, the developer provided an update on the efforts it’s made to improve the studio and its workplace environment, including the hiring of an HR Director, the establishment of a wellness committee, and the recruitment of an inclusion and diversity expert.
It’s a shame that such a heavy asterisk has to hang over the head of a stunning game like this, but that’s just the reality of the world we live in and the industry we cover. Thankfully, it does appear Scavengers Studio is making real strides to improve studio conditions, which is more than you can say about some companies that have come under fire in recent years.
Season: A letter to the future will launch this autumn for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC.