New Roots: bringing the past back to life after climate catastrophe
- HR Game Design & Development
New Roots is a story-driven pixel game about rewilding set in a future version of the Netherlands. In this game you play as Stick, a non-binary capybara, as they try to bring back native plants that have died out due to global warming.
The game itself is part of a sci-fi genre called solarpunk, which is concerned with the usage of technology and smart reuse as a means of improving the health of the planet and humankind alike.
A climate optimistic story
New Roots follows the life of Stick, a teenage gardener growing up in the seaside community of Piertje, located on the new Dutch coastline. While the community is anarchistic and lives in freedom to its fullest extent, Stick still feels like an incompetent burden to the town, and struggles with their feelings towards their ancestors who have destroyed the climate and biodiversity of their home, which is only now just beginning to recover.
Stick’s life is changed when they come across a time capsule from the ‘olden’ times before the widespread natural disasters known as “the Calamities”. It contains a pouch of rotted seeds of extinct plants and a journal documenting them. Stick is encouraged by this journal to find ways to bring back these lost plants, as the world is more welcoming to them now than it was when they disappeared, and sets out to bring them back to life with the help of the colourful cast of characters that reside in Piertje.
Solarpunk media are valuable because people have stopped responding to pessimism. For the last ten to fifteen years, the media landscape has been flooded with dystopian stories as a clear reaction to climate change (among other phenomena), yet not enough is being done to curb the effects of climate change and human consumption. Solarpunk is an optimistic movement focussed on action rather than perfected activism, and offers an idyllic, inclusive image of the future, intended to encourage everybody towards accessible climate-positive actions in small steps.