Synopsis: In Staraway, you play as someone who is wanted by the Space Empire for "stealing" their artifacts. You lose everything you've ever owned, and on your journey as a fugitive, you meet people in similar situations, running away from the Space Empire and losing everything and everyone that they have ever valued. Together, your team of refugees and fugitives work to regain all that they have lost.
Artist Statement: Staraway is the kind of game that shows different themes throughout the story, depending on the player's perspective. For some, it can be about the ideals of friendship and how bonds can motivate you further through any adventure that you have. For us, the artists, it's about identity and how our individual identities will never be enough for the majority, whether we stand out too much (and could get us killed in some countries) or are too compliant, and we get stepped on. We have been talking about the makings of this game for some time, and we both agree that representation matters. Having the freedom to live matters. Whether you are directly or indirectly being oppressed, everyone deserves to live their own life without anyone dictating to them how to do so. This project is personal to both of us as LGBT-identifying people, where we grew up with little to no LGBT influences. We wanted to have a game that represents us as part of a community that only recently started being seen in a positive light. In Cambodia, people used to be killed for just seeming intelligent; they were willing to kill anyone that did not fit the ideal Cambodian image, or anyone who opposed it.
In general, the overarching theme we are focusing on revolves around identity and humanity, and how big things like politics or society will dehumanize anyone and everyone that doesn't fit in. Human lives are precious, and they should not be treated as less than because of what society thinks is "normal" or because the law makes it so that they don't have basic rights.
Emily Touch is a game designer from Cromwell, Connecticut. They will receive their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media & Design with a concentration in Game Design in May 2020 from the University of Connecticut. Some hobbies of theirs include playing video games (for recreational as well as research purposes), drawing, and advocating for human rights. Emily creates video games with compelling stories, and specifically focuses on User Interface and Experience in video games, but can also program when needed. Emily has been interested in the creative field for as long as they can remember, recalling when they would draw on the walls of their room growing up and playing video games with their brother almost every day.
Courtney Senior is a current senior working towards their BFA in Digital Media & Design at the University of Connecticut. They have a concentration in Motion Design & Animation and a great love for illustration and character design. They are the Head Artist and Character Designer for STARAWAY, creating the portraits, item assets, and character models for the game. Courtney has never worked on a video game before, but is taking it all in stride. This is their passion and love, and they have enjoyed learning the process of creating game assets. It has been made all the better by learning and working on this large scale project with a good friend. They have also helped in the drafting of the game's website and its layout in conjunction with Emily.
Courtney is excited to see where this endeavor leads!