Developer Appreciation Week – Howling Moon Software (Verdant Skies)

I’ll be really surprised if someone doesn’t take this opportunity to give some love to Concerned Ape, developer of Stardew Valley. That game may very well be solely responsible for the PC revival of agriculturally focused life sims. It’s a game I personally enjoyed very much, not having had any experience with the genre previously, and inspired me to seek out other titles in the same vein.

I purchased Verdant Skies during the 2018 Steam winter sale pretty much on a whim, and it was one of the rare games that I installed and started playing right away. I loved the idea of a futuristic, science-focused take on the genre, and I was intrigued to see where it would take me.

Now, I read the description, but let’s be honest, diverse is a buzzword that very often means very little. However, when Howling Moon Software says that Verdant Skies features a diverse cast of characters, they mean it.

While someone more cynical than I could claim they built the characters by checking off diversity boxes one after another, I was impressed not only by the racial diversity, but the diversity in gender and sexuality, and the backstories which dealt with issues of self rarely seen in gaming.

It may not seem like much, but I feel that making a game like Verdant Skies in the post-#GamerGate culture is an act of bravery, and a commitment to the team staying true to their inclusionistic ideals. It makes me a little sad that I have heard so very little about this game – that it hasn’t seemed to attract a strong and vocal fan base, because although the game itself isn’t perfect, there is so much about it that is absolutely vital in today’s gaming landscape.

Whatever Howling Moon Software comes up with next, as long as they are staying true to themselves, it’ll be a day one, full price purchase for me. I want to support them in their vision, and I want all gamers to feel represented in what they’re playing.

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