For the game’s fifth anniversary, creator Q-Games reflects on its past and possible future
We’re coming up on the fifth anniversary of The Tomorrow Children, a one-of-a-kind communal crafting adventure game from PixelJunk maker Q-Games, and fans are once again feeling wistful about the fact that it hasn’t been playable since Sony shut the servers down in 2017. If you have hazy memories of this odd gem, check this video out.
As part of BitSummit (via IGN), CEO Dylan Cuthbert revisited a developer build on-stream.
During this 25-minute revisit, Cuthbert explains the game — well, as much as it can be explained — to the audience and also his co-host, William Loubier, who’s the PR and community manager at the studio. Slowly but surely, it’s coming back to me. I remember waiting for the bus to come. I remember that sliding-puzzle game at the workbench.
The slow-burn experience wasn’t always “fun” to play — far from it! — but I have a lot of love for its approach to unconventional cooperative multiplayer.
“[The Tomorrow Children] was before Death Stranding, so we were on the frontier of [this collaborative asynchronous] game design when we were doing this,” said Cuthbert. “Yeah, we didn’t get everything perfect, but we did manage to make a fairly consistent world.”
It felt like a strange, otherworldly Iron Curtain-themed purgatory that you were stranded in with other people just trying to make sense of it all. The game felt like a fever dream back then at launch, and the feeling only grows stronger the further removed we get.
Even in 2021, The Tomorrow Children is a looker.
Is there hope for a new game in this same vein?
“It’s all about finding the funding,” said Cuthbert. “I’d love to do a sequel, right? This is the Soviet side, but what’s happening in [the West]? It would be quite interesting to find out.”
What about an offline version of The Tomorrow Children, for preservation’s sake?
“Right now, the IP is Sony’s, really. I’ll keep trying to get the IP back. And if I do get the IP back, I’ll definitely think about ways to relaunch it, but without a server. It was the running costs of the server that kind of brought it down. If we didn’t have that, we probably just could’ve left it running. […] Hopefully at some point in the future, maybe, we can get the IP back and then try and work out what to do from there. We don’t know anything yet.”
“I don’t like having a game I made, like, missing. Especially one as pretty and interesting and rich as The Tomorrow Children. It just feels wrong to not be able to play it.”
Also, it deserves to be said: the lighting effects absolutely hold up. Still impressive!