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introducing YU - extremely retro 2D open world sandbox sci-fi RPG

i don't want to make a game for the heck of it, or for the humor of it, or for other game devs(or future game devs) to study as an "interesting artistic/technical specimen." i want to make an RPG for players to play

Otus Neuman, Blogger

April 12, 2014

4 Min Read

what indie RPG can make you feel like the first time you played through a really huge epic like Final Fantasy 7 or Tales of Symphonia? that's the indie RPG i want to make. thats the only one that seems worth making to me.

i don't want to make a game for the heck of it, or for the humor of it, or for other game devs (or future game devs) to study as an "interesting artistic/technical specimen." i want to make an RPG for players to play, an RPG that will give players a lot of what they want: tons of characters, tons of storytelling, and a huge, living, breathing world you can truly lose yourself in.

however, i am a radical anarcha feminist, a neo-primitive pagan quaker, a madman, and uh... yeah, so obviously it would be ideologically impossible for me to join a big studio. i stand for everything they don't, and so will the game i'm making. its what i am and its what i do. 

i and my non-monogamous romantic partner, we'll call her katz, are making an open world, post-post-apocalyptic sci-fi sandbox RPG, called YU. the official pronunciation of that title is "Y.U." (like "why you"), but visually it also suggests merely "you," and this is intentional. i'll write more about what that means in a later post. katz is programming YU (in Python she's thinking), i'm drawing the graphics, and we are designing the gameplay/story/etc together. we're making the soundtrack together with some of our musician friends.

this blog will chronicle the planning and development process of YU from my perspective as co-lead designer, co-producer, musician, and pixel artist.


the graphics will pay homage to The Dungeon (aka PEDIT5), the earliest surviving roleplaying videogame, which was programmed on a PLATO mainframe computer in 1975. in the soundtrack, we're going to try and include intruments which will bring that era to mind, such as harmonicas, tamborines, and trippy keyboard sounds. i'll be playing the keyboard myself, in fact. katz probably will do some kind of vocals.

gameplay will be based on interactions between the player and other tiles, which might be occupied by another human, by a plant, an object, an animal, etc, and the consequences of those interractions. there will be various RPG elements, like talking to people in towns, constantly improving yourself through experience, "encounters" with various creatures and people, and of course exploring the humongous world.

the story is fairly basic, except for the "story" the player tells themself by their choices during gameplay. its set in the year 8000 AD. humanity went through a number of major crises (which are really just hinted at), such as a third world war and massive environmental disasters. our species has in many ways reverted to the way we lived in the late stone age. but this way of life is utterly alien to most everything modern humanity has become, and will shock many players. it challenges our most fundamental ideas about how we are, how we can be, and how we should be.


YU is fully intended to be a political statement and a radical action. its politics are based on the work of authors like Riane Eisler(her theory of nonlinear cultural evolution) and Sonia Johnson(her anarcha feminist ideology). being an anti-capitalist action, YU will not be sold for money, but given away freely. our ultimate goal is to have it be available on every platform, PC, Mac, Linux, smart phones, tablets, consoles, handheld game systems, everything. me and katz see a political statement in a videogame not as an attempt to force people to see things our way, but an attempt to open a door for the player that society would slam shut, to give the player access to forbidden ideas... and thereby offer something other games don't... and thereby actually be worth 100 hours of your life.

YU is about stuff your teacher's not allowed to teach. its about ideas and feelings that have the very real power to transform humanity. this is not the same story you hear retold in every other RPG. this is something else, something one might call "dangerously human." YU is intended to be the sort of experience that can change a person forever.

in short, its an epic adventure.


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