I can’t tell you how exciting it’s been to be a PlayStation developer. I jumped on board with the PS4 and Vita launch of my horror game Home last fall, and now I’m excited to finally share with you some lovely news about my new title in development, Alone With You!
Alone With You will be available to play for the very first time ever on PS4 at the GDC Expo PlayStation booth. Barely a dozen people in the entire universe have even seen the game up until now, so imagine how exciting it is to know that next week, tens of thousands of conference-goers might give it a go! (Replace “exciting” with “terrifying” for a more accurate assessment.)
The GDC demo is a small, vertical slice; it takes you through the intro, one mission, and even lets you see how the dating works. But I know lots of you won’t be able to make it to GDC, so allow me to share a few exclusive tidbits with you right here!
What’s This Game About, Again?
To recap: you play as the sole remaining member of a doomed terraforming colony. Your planet will crumble and implode in less than a month, and you must use your remaining time to try to escape. There is only one escape pod left, and it isn’t functioning. Even worse, the only people who specialized in its systems are all dead as a result of the colony’s failure. But the colony’s AI is still with you, and together you plan to get yourselves off the planet — by recreating those key colony members and learning how to fix the ship, so you can both flee to safety.
In Space, No One Can Hear You Hug
Similar to Home, Alone With You is a narrative-focused exploration game. It’s not about dodging bullets or tripping instant-death cutscenes — it’s about soaking yourself in the game’s world and hopefully getting just way too emotionally invested along the way.
As you can see here, you go on missions that your AI companion — lovingly named AF4B/3B by the company that made it — sends you on. You’ll need to find specific things, and use your scanner to gather data. As you explore the game’s environments, you’ll inevitably come across other, less critical items — some of which help immerse you in the world around you, and some of which play a role when it’s time to do some romancin’.
The face buttons on DualShock 4, or on PS Vita, let you interact with AF4B/3B, even if you’re doing other things. So by using the Square, Triangle or Circle button, you can make choices and keep dialogue moving.
Once you’ve completed each mission, AF4B/3B will ask you to come home, and while it crunches the day’s data, you can take a breather.
But sometimes, at night, you might be asked to visit the colony’s holo-sim chamber, where the digital versions of those old colonists are trying to orchestrate your salvation. Except on these occasions, a particular colonist might not want to talk about work…
Let’s Talk About Love
Alone With You is a “romance adventure,” but that doesn’t mean it’s just another dating sim. In fact, true to form, I’ve adopted a kind of focused minimalism with the game; it’s not about maxing out dating stats or trying to form a love harem — rather, it’s about the curious threads you discover when love happens at the most inopportune times. (Can love bloom on a doomed terraforming colony?)
You’ll speak to the colonists as you gather the data you need for them to help you, but you’ll also get a little one-on-one time, depending on the choices you make. In these scenes, the things you may have seen or not seen, or decisions you have made previously, will affect what you can talk about — and decisions you make while doing so can affect what happens later on, too!
There’s one really important aspect of Alone With You’s romantic gameplay, too, that I want to discuss: it’s completely open to all players, regardless of gender or orientation. There are four potential love interests in the game, and you can choose to spend time with whomever you wish — and yes, you can enter your name, for that personal touch.
The Look and the Lifestyle
Okay, I’m going to level with you all: Alone With You is a giant love-letter to the Sega CD. Yes, you read that correctly; that old Genesis add-on from the mid-nineties. The game features a color palette chock full of those classic greens and purples, and a hearty 16-bit resolution (the UI runs at 1080p, though, and is beautiful and clean). It also features a few nifty graphical tricks that, I hope, make it stand out from other titles.
Even better, Alone With You has lots of whimsical, full-screen animation for everything from using doors to revving up your sweet hover shuttle. Everything (so far) is hand-drawn by yours truly. I’m using my years of comic-making experience to (I hope) deliver some tasty, unique visuals.
The Future Sounds Funky
If you played Home, you might have noticed its sparse, eerie soundtrack — one that had pretty much no music, and lots of creepy ambience. Well, with Alone With You, I am stoked beyond belief to be making a game that features an actual soundtrack you’ll want to listen to, even when you’re not playing!
Longtime collaborator Ivor Stines (who created that creepy title theme for Home) is on full-time as Alone With You’s sound designer and musician. Every beat and beep is his creation, and in grand Sega CD fashion, you’ll get a sophisticated soundscape that belies the game’s classic visuals.
Which is why we both want you to hear a track from the game right now. Lots of games have ambient, melodic tones these days — but what about some funk? Desperately gathering materials to fend off your impending doom has never sounded so… booty-shakin’.
So that’s today’s update! If you’re attending GDC, please check out the game at the PlayStation booth. There’s still a lot of development to go on the game, so if you continue to have questions, post a reply and I’ll answer you!