This boom period for life sims and management games shows no signs of recession. Here’s another cozy-looking town building game which endeavors to steal away our nighttime hours with the thrill of friendship and logistics: Go-Go Town puts you in charge of a struggling tourist destination, and got a new trailer at the Future Games Show today, embedded above.
Earlier this week at GDC, I spoke to Go-Go Town game directors Cheryl Vance and Joel Styles, who describe the game as a management sim like Theme Park or Two-Point Hospital that’s played from the perspective of a game like Stardew Valley.
“We have tried to remove the menu driven interface,” Styles told me while playing a demo of the game. “No god hand, no god overview of things: we have placed you directly in the world. You can basically do whatever a resident, or an NPC can do, and vice versa, they can do whatever you can do.”
As Styles demonstrated, you can take a hands-on approach to building your pastel-colored town, personally chopping down trees, catching fish, and mining, but to grow you’ll have to automate the town by giving NPCs tasks like producing lumber or couriering raw materials to the projects that need them.
“So you can make these logistics chains and basically get an economy with logistical flow, and really set up the flow of goods in a very tactile way,” said Styles. “Instead of conveyor belts like Factorio, we’ve got people belts.”
Developer Prideful Sloth, which previously released “world-crafting sandbox” Grow: Song of the Evertree and open-world adventure Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, has been working on Go-Go Town for under a year.
“It’s earlier than we would generally show a game,” Vance told me. “And I find that uncomfortable. But the reason we’re doing that is because we want to do more community development, like, alphas, betas, and rolling feedback.”
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From GDC in San Francisco, Vance and Styles flew to Boston for PAX East this week, where they’ll share the demo they showed me with the public, and hope to get some actionable feedback.
There’s no set release date for Go-Go Town right now, but Vance expects to have it out next year. A planned addition before then is cooperative multiplayer, but with the PAX demo and betas to follow, Vance wants to know what else players find exciting—a competitive mode? Something else entirely?
“In Yonder, people are like, ‘I want to swim in this place,’ but we developed the levels in a way that means you could never swim,” Vance told me. “It’s just not how we developed the game. And so we’re trying to take that understanding and knowledge now into this and go, ‘OK, let’s take, let’s take the skeleton which we’ve spent the year making, because we’ve got a sandbox version of it, let’s actually work with players to develop the structural game.”
Something key for me in this kind of game, beyond the structure, is the personality—”wholesomeness” and “coziness” can tip into the saccharine or pandering. Go-Go Town is certainly cute, but at a glance, it didn’t look cloying, and a bit of mischief is allowed: You can spray your residents with hoses, or let your town deteriorate for the heck of it, perhaps attracting tourists who appreciate piles of trash. Some of those tourists may be aliens.