Umurangi Generation, due for worldwide release on PC on 19 May, channels the Māori culture, Jet Set Radio, and turn-of-the-century anime to create a unique, stylized setting for its adventures in photography.
Set in Tauranga against the backdrop of “a crisis event taking place in Aotearoa/New Zealand”, Umurangi Generation casts you as a courier for Tauranga Express with the goal of completing Photo Bounties. Each bounty has a specific target that you need to capture, but beyond that, it’s up to you how to compose, shoot, and edit each photo.
Giving players full creative freedom was one of Umurangi Generation creator Naphtali Faulker’s main goals. “The moment you tell players what is or isn’t a good photo this will condition players to take photos in a prescribed way. You cannot punish creativity. In this game the objectives can be completed in thousands of different ways. From looking at playtester footage, players are finding creative ways of taking a Photo Bounty that I never could have imagined”.
While the game takes a semi-realistic approach to photography, the world you’re capturing in your photos is a heavily stylized, colourful vision of a “shitty future”—hence the Jet Set Radio inspiration. Indeed, that sense of a colourful yet murky cityscape is right there in the title; “Umurangi” is Te Reo Māori for “Red Sky”.
In fact, it looks like Umurangi Generation as a whole draws heavily from Māori culture. Faulker himself is of Ngāi Te Rangi iwi, and in the trailers and screenshots for the game, you can see plenty of Māori influence in things like the costuming and architecture.
If you want a taste Umurangi Generation before its release, there’s a free demo available on Steam. The full game will be available worldwide on May 19—an earlier release had been planned, but it was slightly pushed back to coordinate a shared global release when Playism picked up localisation and publishing rights for Japan and China.