Hey folks, I’m Zhenghua Yang (people call me “Z”), and I’m the founder & executive director at Serenity Forge, behind games like Doki Doki Literature Club Plus and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine. Our new title, Homestead Arcana, is a farming adventure game driven by atmosphere and narrative. You play as a Witch who pioneers the range that has been mysteriously corrupted with Miasma.
The core mission of Serenity Forge is that we focus on creating meaningful and emotionally impactful games that challenge the way you think. We’re based in Boulder, Colorado, which is surrounded by beautiful mountains and vast prairies. Over the years, we were really inspired by the meaningful impact of Colorado culture, mindset of environmental sustainability, as well as the grandeur of the local landscape. We wondered, “what would our corner of the world look like if it were the locus of some world-altering event?” That’s how Homestead Arcana was born.
In Homestead Arcana, you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world. Over millennia, careless use of magic submerged the world in a sea of toxic miasma. Life within the clouds is almost impossible. The people and creatures that managed to survive in the miasma became warped, mysterious, twisted, and dangerous. Due to this global catastrophe, most of the population have become fearful, reserved, and isolated: but not you. Using spellcraft, intellect, and grit, you set forth to restore the land for future generations. Through the course of the game, you discover the secret behind the Miasma, tend to your plants and homestead to power up your spells, and use nature’s magic to restore the land. You explore the submerged ruins and journey to uncover the truth behind the world.
The world of Homestead Arcana is extremely atmospheric, and we really focused on narrative storytelling through environmental design. We had a really broad range of inspirations, such as WPA posters and woodblock prints that capture the grandeur of landscapes in the classic imagination of Americana, Miyazaki films like Princess Mononoke, especially the contrast between lush/beautiful nature and the overgrown foreign wastes in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the dangerous and unforgiving nature of Made in Abyss, and also the strange, bubbling, hard-to-pin down supernatural phenomena in novels/films like Annihilation.
We wanted to create a world where players are immersed in building their own home similar to games like My Time at Portia or Stardew Valley, but put them in an isolating and mysterious world similar to games like Shadow of the Colossus.
In addition to the atmosphere, we also are very character-centric. Our stories start with the emotions of the people in strange situations, and we tease out how they would actually feel in response to the strange, super-natural challenges they face in the course of the game. In Homestead Arcana, you start by arriving at your crumbling abandoned farm with your trusty familiar, Huckleberry (who you can pet!), voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. Isolated from civilization, but with his help, you slowly learn the ropes and start to settle into your life on the range. However, you slowly find that Huckleberry might be hiding a lot more than he makes seen, and that maybe the two of you aren’t actually alone here after all.
Farming and survival on their own are already really interesting genres that contain ample opportunity for immersion, roleplay, and consequential player choice. In these kinds of games, players want to explore and poke at the boundaries of the world, which is exactly the mindset we’re seeking to capture. In our game, this ends up leading players from simple gathering and crafting to unearthing magical discoveries hundreds of years in the making.
It’s probably best for me to stop here and let you explore the wonderful world of Homestead Arcana yourself. I’m so excited for you to play Homestead Arcana on April 21st on PC and Xbox Series X|S. Thank you so much for supporting our vision of creating meaningful and emotionally impactful games!