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Fallout collides with Stardew Valley and Majora’s Mask in my new gaming obsession

Ewan Moore

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Fallout collides with Stardew Valley and Majora’s Mask in my new gaming obsession

Featured Image Credit: Untold Games

What if Stardew Valley was grey and miserable? Okay, so that might not be the best pitch ever, but City20 - the staggeringly ambitious new indie survival sim from developer Untold Games - is kind of exactly that. And after a brief demo with the game, I’m kind of obsessed.

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City20 is a dystopian survival sandbox adventure set in a city that has been walled off following a radioactive leak. Unfortunately you happen to have been left inside the city along with most of the other residents, so it’s up to you to survive however you can.

The thing that most impressed me most about City20 was its NPC system. Using procedural generation, every NPC within the city has their own job, hobbies, schedule, and life. They hold events, they bury their dead, and maintain unique relationships with the player and each other. It’s a little like The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask in this regard, except far more ambitious.

When an NPC dies, they stay dead. So if you happen to get trigger-happy and kill one of the residents responsible for maintaining the power plant and keeping the city supplied with electricity, that’s one less person to do that job. You could, if you really wanted to, kill every single person in the city and attempt to do everything on your own, though it’s unlikely you’d get far. City20 is all about building relationships, though the existence of factions within the city means you’re bound to piss people off every now and again as you take on jobs that might not be in the best interests of everyone.

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For example, one NPC might ask you to go and beat up another NPC to teach them a lesson. You can oblige, though if you’re caught by guards you could be forced to pay a fine or do a few days of hard labour. You can also warn the NPC you were told to beat them up, and tell them exactly who sent you, though nobody likes grass. It’s a fascinatingly complex system, and since every new playthrough will generate new NPCs, you’ll never have the same experience twice.

This intricate social system is wrapped up in an equally punishing survival game, in which you must contend with the changing seasons and harsh elements to gather food and resources. You’ll farm and forage for seasonal goods, hunt animals, and slowly build your own home as you fight to survive for as long as you can. A wholesome cosy game this ain’t.

City20 is currently aiming for an early access launch this year, and I reckon it's absolutely worth keeping an eye on. This could genuinely be one of the year's best surprises.

Topics: Fallout, Indie Games, Stardew Valley, The Legend Of Zelda

Ewan Moore
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