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A Brave New World: Our Writing Process

We have received some feedback regarding our worldbuilding process, specifically our desire to rebuild a world with no colonialism from scratch rather than simply include more marginalized communities in our work, as well as questions about why we started the game with the world being a work in progress rather than completely rewritten. To try to help folks get an idea of our writing process and the choices we've made with it, we interviewed one of our writers, the illustrious Elizabeth Upshur who is one of our main writers, designers, and a cultural consultant for Ivory and Gold Coast Africa. We hope that Elizabeth's perspective can help give an idea for why we made the choices that we have!

What was the process that you went through to re-imagine previous colonized areas of the world?

EU: One of the most important things to me as I re-imagined the previously colonized areas of my region was to highlight and advance the sciences and technology that were in my region before colonization and enslavement destroyed it. I drew inspiration for my cities from primary sources like journals, from history texts, oral history, and from my own time spent in Benin and Togo in 2018/2019. However, this is an imagined game. There’s wars and tension that causes strain–and opportunity!--in trade deals, feuds that make star crossed lovers, corrupt officials or royals, spies and intrigue and potential black widows killing spouses for Estates…there’s heroes and villains to interact with in this world, just like ours.

Why did you choose the regions you worked on?

EU: I applied for the West African region because, as a Black American, I know that that is where the majority of my ancestors were from. Additionally, I had just spent nine months in Benin as a Fulbright scholar, and had the opportunity to listen to a lot of oral history on the Slave Route, so it was a really interesting and cathartic experience to reverse engineer the Slave Trade and imagine introductions between Indigenous West Africans and Indigenous American tribes, as well as Europeans and Asians with full personhood for all. Re-imagining these regions means peeling back the racism and sexism that colonization pushed into matriarchal communities, getting to celebrate our own beauty standards of teeth gaps in the Kingdom of Benin (which encompass parts of IRL Nigeria and Ghana