Memories are an important part of what makes us human. Holding onto them is a key human trait as we often desire to relive the pivotal moments of our lives: a beloved toy your father bought, your first love, or that record you once listened to on repeat until it broke. But, as dear as memories can be, they are fragile and can be lost forever. Season: A Letter to the Future indulges itself in preserving the memories of a world that will soon be lost to an apocalyptic event of unknown proportions. Whether it be a sound, picture, or drawing, the game never fails to show you the importance of preserving these memories for future generations.
A Ray of Hope
You take on the role of Estelle, a young woman who is given the task of documenting and recording the final moments of a world before a new ‘Season’ is ushered in. A season in the game is defined as an era where major events happen; this could be an era of peace, or sometimes an era of war. Whatever form it takes, it acts like a reset button to the world where everything starts all over again including memories, taking all the people with it. Documenting the current season is important for Estelle as she wants future generations to learn about the past before they are lost forever. It also gives her the opportunity to explore the world outside her village for the first time, which was also a dream of her father. To protect Estelle from the effects of the season’s change, her mother sacrifices her own memories to create a pendant that helps in keeping her safe before they share an emotional goodbye, perhaps forever.
For the Record
With a camera, audio recorder, and sketchbook, Estelle sets off on her quest to document the final days of the current season. What the game excels in is that it doesn’t force you to document everything; it lets the world do the directing. Traveling with your bike and enjoying the beautiful landscape and scenery is bound to inspire you to pull out the camera and snap a few shots. Hearing the fireflies buzzing in the evening and the birds chirping could compel you to record them for future generations. Who knows whether these would exist in the next season, after all?
An Unforgettable Journey
During her travels, Estelle stumbles upon Tieng Valley, a charming village that will, unfortunately, be destroyed after a flood. The whole village has been evacuated with only a few locals remaining. To the locals, leaving behind their homes, as well as waiting for a new season, sparks both a feeling of tension as well as hope. For example, one of the locals you meet is an aging female artist who is heavily critical of her work and wants the flood to take her pieces of art away. But, she still hopes that her art would be appreciated and loved by others deep inside. As such, the artist vows to create one last masterpiece so that Estelle might preserve it for future generations. In that, she might find solace in living on through her art.
Tieng Valley itself is nothing short of an amazing location to set the majority of the game in. Giving the player complete freedom to explore every nook and cranny of the village makes it much more worthwhile. The game compels you into reflecting on how beautiful the world is by depicting this humble valley. From its lush fields to its architecturally impressive structures, every location has a story to tell or a memory to share. The valley provides you with a canvas and it’s up to you to create your perfect masterpiece. The flowers, the statues, and the landmarks each have a distinct meaning that makes you curious to learn about them, including insight into how past seasons ended.
In the end, Season: A Letter to the Future is just that; a letter to the future. Memories are at the forefront of the game, and it is up to you how to collect and preserve them, or which to leave behind. Themes of hope, grief, and reflection are prevalent throughout this carefully crafted majestic world, which makes the game itself a charming memory.