At the 2015 Tokyo Game Show, I had a conversation with Dylan Cuthbert, founder of Q-Games. You know him as the mind behind the Pixel Junk games, and perhaps you're aware of the upcoming PS4 exclusive The Tomorrow Children.
In this online-only game, players come and go and build up different towns all over the same world, taking familiar concepts from MMOs and Sim City. Players manage resources, fend off occasional monster threats, and support their growing town with all manner of labor, celebrated in such a way that's an obvious reference to the old Soviet Union.
There's a lengthy conversation to go over, which I'll post here once it's fully transcribed, but this bit jumped out at me. Dylan was talking about how he started work on The Tomorrow Children before the PlayStation 4 was out, and I asked if he'd already had this idea of a quasi-Soviet aesthetic and theme in mind before learning about PS4 specs. He said, actually, that he got the idea from the system's Share button. He said:
"I got the concept (of Soviet Russia) of the PS4 itself: the Share concept.
"The only direction I had from Sony was, 'Oh we have a Share Button. It'd be great to have games that somehow use this," and that was it. And I just thought about it for a bit. Pixel Junk Monsters is very much a collaborative game; people love the co-op side of it. So I thought about taking it further and making this expansive co-op game where you're sharing the entire environment, the entire town."
And just like that, Mother Russia is back, baby. (Sort of. Not really.)