Help us pick a plushie!

Would you like a real-life squeezable Cal? A huggable squiggly Vriki? We’re still in the early planning phases but we’d like to bring an Exocolonist character into the world as a stuffed toy.

The burning question is… which one??

Don’t think of this as a “which is your favorite Exo character” quiz; think of it as “who would look coolest as a teddy bear version of themselves” or maybe “what would I be the least embarrassed to put on my bedroom shelves”?

Yes, Vace is on the list. For some reason.

Here is the Google Forms survey

Also! There is a small Patch #4 coming soon to Steam, and now up on the testing beta branch. Deets are in the Discord!

Exocolonist Merch

If you’ve seen me in the last year, I was probably wearing some sort of Exocolonist merch.

Between finishing Exocolonist and waiting for it to come out, I entertained myself by making basically an entire wardrobe of test pieces. They didn’t all work out… well honestly most did not! One of them is currently for sale in the Official Finji Store, which is the limited edition Hawaiian shirt Mei designed. Colin and I both love the pink version:

Sarah and Colin wearing Mei's pink Hawaiian shirts at GDC 2023
Sarah and Colin wearing Mei’s pink Hawaiian shirts at GDC 2023,
where Exocolonist was in the IGF!

Also in the Official Finji Store, we now have stickers, pinnies, and a t-shirt with design by Eduardo (in both regular and crop top versions). Mei designed the stickers and pin and they are the cuuuuuutest.

Wormhole design crop top by Ed, from the Finji Store
Hopeye Pinny Arcade pin in situ on my denim jacket, also from the Finji Store

Physical Card Game

Another merch item I was keen to make was a real, in-your-hands, physical card game. I imagined we’d use these as business cards and give them out at events like PAX, with the idea that if you collected enough you could play a micro-game to try to make the highest-scoring hand just like in Exocolonist.

They have the same names and art as in the game and feature some of our amazing 100 card artists, but I had to tweak the values and rules a little to be playable on a tabletop.

Exocolonist physical card game, from The Game Crafter
Winning hand for a sample game:
⭐ flush of 3 (red)
⭐⭐ 4 of a kind (1s)

Alpha version (left) versus 1.0 (right)

It was worth doing, because dang, this little game turned out to be fun! Colin and I took prototypes to events so we could playtest it with friends. The rules are simpler than the actual game, because adding up a lot of little numbers is more easily done by a computer than in your head. Instead, you need to arrange five cards from your hand of seven to earn bonuses from a list. For example a pair is worth ⭐, or having all cards of the same color is worth ⭐⭐.

You win if you can get three stars, which is almost always possible, but sometimes pretty hard. We play a multiplayer variant where we both draw a hand and try to find the best score, then swap and see if we can find a better one.

It’s 52 beautiful cards in an adorable little tin box, available made-on-demand at The Game Crafter.

“Secret” Unreleased Merch

Now I’ll let you in on a secret! Once the Hawaiian shirts sell out, if you’re still desperate to get your hands on one, you may still be able to get one printed on demand from the source at ArtsCow. Some of my unshipped experiments are in there too!

Velvet jacket with pattern by Madeline Berger (environment artist on Chicory!) from Artscow
Chiffron dress featuring screenshots from the game also from ArtsCow

I also have a couple designs up on HugePOD, another place that offers on demand all-over prints. These shops print the art onto flat fabric first, then cut and sew like they normally would. It’s a neat process that means they can have hundreds of styles to choose from, although they do take extra time to ship because they have to make them after you order.

Though most of these designs will never go beyond my own wardrobe, it was so much fun to do. Let me tell you, it’s a bit addictive (and way easier than you’d think) to design your own clothes!

Me layering Exo clothes. I made over 20 different test designs
Mei, Colin and I at PAX West 2022, wearing various Exo duds

Awards Season for Exocolonist!

Big news – I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is a finalist for Excellence in Narrative at the IGF (Independent Games Festival) (plus an honorable mention for Visual Arts!)

Not only that, our game has also been nominated for Best Narrative in the GDCA (Game Developers Choice Awards – these are the Oscars of video games)

AND we’re a finalist for the Social Impact Award in the GDCAs.

These are the big ones; the awards that devs (speaking of myself here) spend their entire career working towards. It is an incredible honor to be nominated.

The IGF also features an audience award, so jump in and cast your vote here!

Since our narrative design is getting so much attention, here’s an article I wrote for about The Narrative Octopus of I Was a Teenage Exocolonist. If you’d like to play around with Exo’s custom scripting language yourself, I’ve made a rough version of Exoscript open source on Github.

Earlier we had the honor to be nominated for Best Storytelling in the 2022 Golden Joystick Awards, Games For Impact at The Game Awards (their most misguided category according to Kotaku), Best Playstation Game of the Year in the PLAY Magazine Awards. Back in 2020 I Was a Teenage Exocolonist won the IndieCade award for Procedural Design. And honestly? I’m cool with our nomination for “most pretentious indie game” in 4chan’s Vidya Gaem awards. That’s how you know you’ve really made it.

Since I am linking links, Northway Games has been in the IGF before: Incredipede for Visual Art in 2013, and Fantastic Contraption VR for Nuovo in 2016, and Deep Under the Sky had an honorable mention for Audio in 2015. But this is the first time one of my games has made it, and I am on cloud nine!

Exocolonist Cosplay

Anemone cosplay by Ellie Amber, directed/edited by LAYER013Photography

For I Was a Teenage Exocolonist’s release, we partnered with some phenomenally talented cosplayers, including the amazing Ellie Amber featured here dressed as adult Anemone. I was absolutely bowled over with how much creativity and attention to detail went into these costumes.

Seriously, so beautiful!! Check out Ellie’s making-of process videos on Instagram:

Anemone cosplay by ellie.amber
Pauldrons shaping

Pauldrons painting

Wig trimming and styling

Boot details



Final product!

Ellie also created a PDF of cut-and-sew patterns for the costume and accessories, right down to Anemone’s scale-armored skin flakes:

Anemone cosplay patterns
Anemone cosplay patterns by Ellie Amber

And there are so many others! This was organized by our friends at Finji and ICO, so each new cosplay post was a delightful surprise to me and the Exo team. Seeing our characters out in the real world is so magical! Many of these creators also posted creation process videos, so scroll through their feeds for more instructions/techniques/mindblowing gorgeousness.

Behold, more Exocolonist cosplay:

Clémentine also made (and sent us!!) this gorgeous bobber fruit used in the above video:

Bobber Fruit by Clémentine Gelly
Bobber Fruit by Clémentine Gelly (@arborealkey)
@hiyartist About the game #iwasateenageexocolonist cosplay #utopiacharacter #cosplaycinematic #cinematics #naturalezaincreible ♬ sonido original – Eva Lara

@kirapika.cos I LOVE the game ! Go check out this game here : ! #ad #Exocolonist #ExoInspired #cosplay ♬ som original – ~{Fairy Sky}~

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is out!

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is officially released today! I started development almost exactly five years ago, and wowowow has the game ever grown up since then!

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who supported Exocolonist and helped create it. Artists Meilee Chao, Eduardo Vargas, Sarah Webb, Leanne Roed, Sarah Roland, Diego De la Rocha, and our hundred card artsits for making the game so breathtakingly beautiful. Narrative designer Lindsay Ishihiro for making us laugh, cry, and fall in love with their moving prose. Gord, Em and others from A Shell in the Pit Audio, and all of our incredible musicians, for adding another dimension of wonder and beauty to the game.

Thanks to my husband Colin Northway for helping with tricky algorithms and game balancing, and for a tremendous amount of emotional support, idea-bouncing and code checks over the last five years.

Thanks to our publishers Finji, our QA and porting teams, and a very special thank you virtual hug to our incredible beta testers and all of our fans for your support and encouragement. And to my dad, who has logged hundreds of hours living life after life on the planet Vertumna.

Thank you, friends.

Growing up in Exocolonist

Okay enough mushy stuff, it’s release day!

The team and I have been eagerly waiting to open the gates and invite everyone to come explore our beautiful planet Vertumna. I hope you find it as charming, thrilling, moving, and fun as we do, and I can’t wait to hear what sort of Teenage Exocolonist you’ll be.

Vertumna awaits!

– Sarah

Some plants wave, others bounce