Game title: Solace State: Emotional Cyberpunk Stories
Developer and Publisher: Vivid Foundry Corp.
- Country: Canada
Genres: Narrative choice-driven game, 3D visual novel, cyberpunk, LGBTQ+
Release date: September 14, 2023
- Website: http://www.solacestategame.com
Price: $19.99 USD
In this cyberpunk visual novel about friendship, civil rights, and the biotech revolution, play as Chloe, a young hacker who comes into her political awakening as she empowers the people around her in a militarized biotech city. Form friendships and relationships while enacting impactful change that will decide whose voices matter. Push back against social repression!
Utilize the power of “social hacking” to understand the complex dynamics and issues plaguing the political climate at large and locally. How far will Chloe go to protect her friends and communities struggling to have a future worth living for?
Whatever you choose, Choe’s personal challenges intersect with her politics. Her hacking abilities allow her to take on another person’s identification and find encrypted data at the top of someone’s thoughts. With such abilities what does it mean to exist freely?
In a world where more and more folks are having their plans for their future squeezed out, will Chloe’s actions incite violent backlash… or bloom into hope?
Solace State was born out of Vivid Foundry Founder Tanya Kan’s desire to create a conversation about diverse cultural roots and political identities, and how this relates to today’s complexities on immigration, socioeconomic marginalization, and civil rights. With her political science background, Tanya traveled in 2016 to East Asia to examine political development there, comparing the political landscape with political experiences from her home in Canada. Her interviews with locals inspired and coalesced into the beginnings of a 3D visual novel that highlights character growth, and the formation of strong ties and values between friends, found families, and communities.
Tanya then brought together a team from the gamedev community and her network of friends in the arts to bring her vision to life. Since then, these developers have transformed Solace State in indelible ways: From programming our custom narrative system, to level design, new UI, character art and 3D environmental art, writing, technical narrative content setup, music and sound design, QA bug testing, community management, marketing, consultation, and sensitivity reading, Solace State is a team effort.
As the vast majority of our team are from underrepresented groups in the games industry, our diverse perspectives work together to construct everything from game design to narratives that are not as often seen in mainstream entertainment. Together, we bring marginalized stories about powerful social change to the forefront of our games! From different pathways to hope and stories about healing, we aim to tell you that your voice matters.
- 38 endings based on your choices in endless combinations
- Hand-drawn characters brimming with personality, expressiveness, and sense of fashion
- 31 fully illustrated, recurring characters, and many more background characters. 3 characters are dateable!
- 3D cityscapes look like impressionist paintings brought to life, from weathered and charming apartments to cut-throat corporate skyscrapers
- Dynamic visuals where the camera abstractly “hacks” through 3D buildings to reveal key story information
- An original soundtrack by Lex Metcalfe of moody electronica romanticized with acoustic instrumentals
- Evocative writing that captures the personal moments to power dynamics of characters from all walks of life
- Expected playtime is over 6-8 hours for one playthrough, with over 14 hours of content across all branches
Awards and Nominations
- Ubisoft Indie Series
Grand Prize Winner, 2020
- Best Story Award, Indie Arena Booth
Nomination, Gamescom 2020
- Dames4Games Aug 2023 Showcase
- ID@Xbox 2023 Showcase
- Access-Ability Summer Showcase 2023
- The Storyteller’s Festival 2023
- Game Devs of Color 2022
- LudoNarraCon 2022
- TwitchGaming ID@Xbox 2021
- Game Devs of Color 2020
- PAX x EGX: Leftfield Collection 2020
- LudoNarraCon 2020
- Comics x Games 2019
- Kinda Funny E3 Showcase 2019
- PAX West Indie MEGABOOTH 2018
- Game Devs of Color 2018
- INDIGO 2018
- Regent Park Film Festival 2017
- Different Games Toronto 2017
- Different Games New York 2016
It’s the game’s meditation on the nature of rebellion, its psychology and its costs, that really make it… The result rhymes hacking with psychology.
It looks like an engaging visual-novel experience, and a unique one, given its overt political themes, including such zeitgeist issues as immigration and surveillance.
A cyberpunk game from a marginalized creator that is explicitly trying to tackle some key themes that the best cyberpunk games do […]; This is a game about power relationships, it’s about hegemony. It’s worth looking up, it’s really cool.
I like the way that the city itself is inescapably the bones of the story, with the words themselves plastered on walls and stairs and concrete floors.
Solace State is actively anti-racist in nature. Based in the fictional East Asian city of Abraxa, Solace State prominently features women, LGBTQ, and BIPOC characters taking on roles at the frontlines of a resistance movement.
With its cyberpunk setting, emotionally charged storylines, and a relaxed pace that is far from comforting, Solace State: Emotional Cyberpunk Stories really lives up to its name. (83/100)
We had a deep love for Solace State. It didn’t dumb itself down. It invited us into the inner circle of an activist group and expected us to sort through its many threads. Would we be violent, political or organize the masses? No choice is easy, no consequence is expected. (4.5/5)
Though also visually stunning, Solace State’s beauty lies in its story– a compelling adventure about queer people of color being drawn into a conspiracy that threatens to plunge an entire country into a dystopian nightmare. It’s a game that is both thoughtful and complex, encouraging you to stop and weigh the cost of rebellion against the risk of corporate hegemony, and it’s also one of my favorite games of 2023.
Executive Producer, Director
Technical Narrative Designer
Lead Character Artist
QA Tester, Social Media Manager