A Dystopian Future We Should Avoid
This month I am posting essays in promotion of Hopepunk City, my new game that was released publicly at the beginning of October. My first was about romancing Ariane, and romancing Rachel, as those are good incentives to get the game if you want to pursue those relationships.
This essay focuses on the setting. Part of the reason for these essays was that I did not talk much about the making of the game as I was making it. I did however write down my thoughts as I was making it and dumped them onto a page called The Making of Hopepunk City. I also collected some sources, mostly You Tube videos, that served as inspiration and dumped them on a page called The Influences of Hopepunk City. You can check out these sources for further information.
The world of Hopepunk City is based on two problems that do not seem to be going away: global warming, and reactionary politics. Reactionary politics tends to get worse when there are serious problems, like global warming and a deadly world pandemic.
Reactionary politics did not end with the 2020 election and the quashing of the January 6 coup. If anything it continues to fester, and is actually growing. The threat of the US having a second civil war is not over, in fact it seems to be growing everyday. The Democrats, who have the power to stop it, don’t seem to realize how big the threat still is.
Hopepunk City is a “What if?” scenario, if the US abandoned democracy and ultimately split up the US. It would not be an easy split down the middle like the 1860’s, there are pockets of die hard conservatives and die hard democrats in practically all 50 states, meaning a split along state borders is unlikely, too. That is why I came up with the guesstimate of 96 different countries, each with their own politics, border policies, and trade policies. It would basically be a mess.
I’ve been watching what is going on in the UK, which actually DID do this. They split off from the EU for nationalistic reactionary reasons, and they are running their economy into the ground because of it. The biggest industries in the UK, like fishing, manufacturing, agriculture, and financial services, are all in a seemingly unrecoverable steep decline in the UK, with businesses deciding to move to countries that are connected to the EU.
If the US were to split up, it would be Brexit times 50, and yet there are American people on both the left and the right, that think it’s a good idea. It very well still could be in our immediate future. Even if the US were to split up into independent states, then you run into issues with the distribution of resources, and even bigger issues with disaster recovery, which are only going to grow in frequency with global warming.
I try to balance this potential ugliness with what I think is the ultimate solution: a sustainable society focused on stability and renewable resources, rather than on growth and profit. There is a whole sci-fi genre based on this idea called “solarpunk”, and the positive aspects of my world come from that.
Ultimately these are big ideas. Too big for a romantic visual novel that you can get through in about 2 hours. Instead I focus on a single middle class household living in a lower floor suite who are hit by these issues and have to react to them. They live in one of the smallest states, so it is easier to personally know the decision makers and persuade them when they do stupid stuff. That is the premise of the plot of Hopepunk City.