Benjamin Rivers’ horror thriller Home and I did not see eye to eye. Experimental and certainly unique, it tasked players with solving a mystery where they ultimately decided the resolution. Unfortunately, this led to all resolutions being vague and unfulfilling, as well as inconsistent with the tense build up. It bled ambition from every pore, however.
Rivers is following up his peculiar horror adventure with a lonely sci-fi outing. Alone With You puts players in the space boots of a stranded astronaut, stuck all by himself on an uninhabited planet following a failed terraforming expedition. Well, he’s not quite by himself. He’s accompanied by an AI partner, somewhat evocative of A Space Odyssey’s HAL.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Rivers revealed that Alone With You is to dating sims what Home was to horror games. “The goal of the game (from my point of view) is to take the idea of a dating sim and turn it on its head a bit,” Rivers stated. For example, he noted that “most dating games are about an objectified quest to ‘win’ a character’s heart. AWY doesn’t take that approach”
“If Home was a horror game without monsters or fail states, Alone With You will be like a dating sim without the usual trappings,” Rivers continued. “Their similarities are that both games are very much player-driven; the game isn’t really puzzle-reliant, but very much more about making choices. The challenge I gave myself was to do this without creating a visual novel style game – I wanted to make something more familiar to core game players in terms of exploring environments, controlling a character, and so forth.”
The lonely astronaut doesn’t have a specific gender, either. Rivers wants people of all genders and sexualities to play the game and, presumably, identify with the character.