“Mak­ing this game nearly killed me. I hope you have a lot of fun with it!”

Con­sol­ing bro­ken de­vel­op­ers in I am Sets una


btain­ing your first air­ship is al­ways a highlight in a JRPG. You’re sud­denly free to go any­where you please. Stuff sav­ing the world, I’m go­ing sight­see­ing.

IamSet­suna re­jects this tra­di­tional ap­proach: ev­ery se­cret has to be found through hard graft and worn shoe leather. But in a way I’m glad, as it made dis­cov­er­ing one of its great­est trea­sures that much more en­joy­able.

Tucked away in the north­west cor­ner of Set­suna’s snowy king­dom is an is­land called Mortholm, home to Morthshaw Wood. Based on my pre­vi­ous finds—a suc­ces­sion of trea­sure-free lakes and lonely shacks—I wasn’t ex­pect­ing much. Once in­side, though, I hap­pened on a por­tal that whisked me away to a hid­den land. The ever-present pi­ano score trans­formed into a 16-bit melody and the fa­mil­iar, painterly vi­su­als mor­phed into large blocks of pix­els. Was this some kind of glitch? Cau­tiously, I ven­tured for­ward.

I needn’t have wor­ried, as the first crea­ture I en­coun­tered, in the guise of a friendly Magic Con­sor­tium sprite, turned out to be Set­suna’s di­rec­tor, At­sushi Hashimoto. “I’m mak­ing the fi­nal ad­just­ments. This is the most cru­cial phase. And now they’re mak­ing

OI won’t be able to get to work!” His col­league Kurino had a par­tic­u­larly tough time. “My daugh­ter was born dur­ing Set­suna’s de­vel­op­ment. Both her and Set­suna were dif­fi­cult births ;)”. Yura even tells us, “the com­poser felt so sor­row­ful, he cried while writ­ing the mu­sic.” Whoa, things sound bleak at Set­suna HQ.

Thank­fully, many of the de­vel­op­ers are more up­beat, just want­ing to say thanks and how much they love the snow. “Look for­ward to Set­suna: Trop­i­calIs­landEdi­tion... (?)” Yoshikawa teases. The great­est mys­tery, how­ever, comes from Kita. “When de­vel­op­ment first started, there was a shrimp char­ac­ter. Why a shrimp? Good ques­tion!” And that’s all he gives us. For­get the game’s pre-launch Iam Sat­suma jokes. Bring on IamShrimp.

Even­tu­ally, it’s time to leave, but it’s been hum­bling to see the team’s strug­gles in bring­ing this game to life. It’s been a while since I’ve read such heart­felt mes­sages from devs in-game, and the retro throw­backs to the JRPGs that in­spired Set­suna in the first place only add to their charm. Most play­ers prob­a­bly won’t ever see them, but for me it’s be­come one of my last­ing mem­o­ries. And the name of this town? The Vil­lage of He­roes. Quite right too.

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