Listen, More Games Should Use Seasons


#1

This past week in New York has been a tour of the seasons. A crisp fall morning turns into stifling afternoon, and by the next evening we've wrapped around to brisk early winter. Honestly, it's sucked. It's impossible to dress for, it's an added layer of unpredictability in an already unpredictable week, and I'm pretty sure it's made me sick. (I know that it probably hasn't made me sick).


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/evbamk/listen-more-games-should-use-seasons

#2

First thing that comes to mind that uses seasons really effectively is Stardew Valley. I’d actually say that the seasons are integral to the gameplay in terms of crops and stuff. They also seem to serve as a reminder the passing of time/the course of the game going by and the seasonal events are really nice.

I guess other life sim type games do this kind of thing also, like Animal crossing and such.


#3

I feel like ‘changing seasons as a puzzle mechanic’ isn’t the thrust of this article but unfortunately what springs immediately to mind is A) The Legend of Zelda, Oracle of Seasons (where you change the seasons to climb snowdrifts, or… pick flowers? I don’t know, it’s been a while) and B) Click Clock Wood in Banjo Kazooie (which has four sections, each a different season of the same year - stuff you do in Spring affects what Summer is like, and so forth)

Otherwise shoutout to Animal Crossing. The first day you wake up to find the leaves turning brown, or the first time it snows, or the snow finally thawing out, are all very nice times, imo.


#4

This was my thought as well, mostly because I got sick yesterday and decided to start a brand new save in Stardew Valley.

But I do think it’s underutilized to some degree. The only real differences between most seasons is the crops you can plant. Winter is the only one that’s really, really different.


#5

I would agree more could have been done to distinguish Spring/Fall/Winter, but oh my. That transition from Winter to Spring is one of my favorite moments in just about any game. It just feels so good and exciting.


#6

As soon as i saw this thread i thought of Bully


#7

I really liked how Kingdom used seasons, until I realised Winter never ends and is basically a fail state.


#8

I don’t think I’d enjoy SSX or Steep as much as I do if the seasons changed. Or if they incorporated global warming into them…


#9

For me, a game that really nails this is Persona (4 and 5 at least - haven’t played the others).

So much of what I enjoy about those games is navigating the limited time and the sense that I’m inhabiting a real place, and the progression of seasons really helps convey the steady march of time. I also appreciate how the games show people responding to the seasons, and makes suggestions (to Austin’s point) about what you should/could do now that the weather has shifted.


#10

Night in the Woods really nailed the feeling of running around on a crisp fall day with multicolored leaves swirling around your feet in the wind. I actually just finished replaying it because it’s such a solid autumn game.

Without saying too much for fear of spoiling anything, it also handled the transition from fall to the first hint of winter in a way that I found very thematically and emotionally satisfying.


#11

Shoot, a Bethesda RPG that incorporated seasons would be rad. Skyrim already needlessly cycles through days of the week. If that was expanded to seasons… hoo-wee!

Some regions would be unaffected (i.e. always snowy), but the relatively temperate areas like Whiterun would get covered in snow, and the city would be decorated for the standard fantasy non-Christmas-but-still-Christmas holiday. Talosmas, I guess.


#12

I always liked the way Don’t Starve used seasons. They’re definitely a game mechanic, but I think the art does a good job of lending different atmosphere as well.


#13

This is both a very obvious example and also a bit off the beaten path. I pretty heavily use a chrome extension that plays animal crossing music that corresponds to each hour in a day. It is very chill and nice. One neat thing about the extension is that New Leaf also has a different sound track per season, and changing the chrome extension to match the season is always a delight


#14

Endless Legend is a good pick, Austin.

I also really enjoy the way winter plays a role in Total War: Shogun 2. Every fourth turn is a winter turn meaning your armies suffer attrition if they aren’t in your territory and that attrition can be brutal, especially on an army that’s been away from home for a while. This mechanic means that when you are invading another territory in the fall, you better take that castle before winter or suffer some serious losses. It can be incredibly satisfying to ambush an invading army in the spring, right after they’ve suffered a winter’s worth of attrition and cut them to pieces when they are weakened.

In battles, winter also means everyone’s stamina deteriorates faster and regenerates slower so you can’t do as many charges or protracted melees. It’s a really fun mechanic that spices the game up.


#15

Whether it’s seasons ala Diablo 3 or seasons as in the weather I can get behind this. But basing it off the user’s location would be bleak for some of us, so I hope no one gets that idea.


#16

Many years ago, some modders of racing game tracks for the more hardcore sims out there (like rFactor, Game Stock Car, Assetto Corsa) started including 2 versions of the same track in their mod for different seasons.
If you’ve been racing the same tracks for many years, a change of the season can make such a huge and beautiful difference, even if it’s mostly just yellow/brown’ish leaves on the trees.

Project CARS 2 now has dynamic sun angle, seasons, temperatures and weather conditions depending on the day of the year the race is set.
I know, not the game you were looking for, but seasons do add a similar charme (and difficulty) to the experience.


#17

This isn’t exactly analogous, but I always notice weather in sports games, even if it doesn’t have a mechanical effect. The most obvious sports series that models seasons is FIFA, since soccer is a sport that runs from fall through winter and into spring. If you play through multiple years in a career mode, the winter feels like a slog – you often have to deal with low stamina levels or injuries as your team plays a crowded holiday schedule, and daytime matches where you felt energized become rainy 0-0 deadlocks. Then the weather starts to brighten just as the championship race intensifies. The rhythm of the changing seasons propels you forward.


#18

Pokémon Black and White use the seasons fairly well including different pokemon, seasonal forms of Deerling and its evolution, and hiding/revealing items when snow falls or melts. I kind of miss it in X/Y and Sun/Moon but know that especially the latter relies on the tropical theme. X/Y kind of did it with changing environments like seaside areas or snowy mountains allowing them to really explore the winter and summer fashion, though!


#19

The Gen V Pokémon games had seasons that changed with each real-world month. They were fairly superficial, but did affect some of the pokemon you’d encounter and some of the areas you were able to access. It didn’t do anything revolutionary, but it did make those worlds feel even a bit more alive.

(Edit: I hit post then saw @quartermoose beat me to it.)


#20

Even more so after the Reign Of Giants DLC came out, the way you have to approach the game in summer and winter is totally different to spring/autumn. Breaks up what could otherwise be slightly grindy play by forcing you to change up your goals every 20ish days.