It increasingly feels like I need a full alignment chart matrix to accurately describe the intersection of cozy games and farm sims. Were I to build such a chart then Grave Seasons would be in the "lawful evil" category. It's got those cute pixel visuals that immediately get clocked as cozy and it's got farming and romantic entanglement with townsfolk except wait, it's actually about catching a serial killer. And if you aren't careful you might romance the culprit before you figure out who it is.
Grave Seasons is currently in development by indie studio Perfect Garbage and has been having a bit of a moment over on the cozy games corner of TikTok. Studio director Son M made a pretty compelling pitch for it on Twitter back in 2021, saying:
"I want to make a farming simulator much akin to Stardew Valley but with a larger town, and each time you load a new game, it randomly selects one of them to be a serial killer. Farm, fish, fight for your life, raise cattle, build a home, romance, stop murders, fish some more."
From what I can tell from Son M and Perfect Garbage's updates, it sure seems like that vision has remained intact. In the newest screenshots the studio has shared, you can spot a HUD tracking the date, time, and player cash. There's a familiar-looking hotbar of tools for farming, fishing, shearing, and milking. Oh yes and don't miss the little diary tracking your relationship with each member of the town, the gifts you've given them, and who has been killed in an "accident?"
It sounds like the farm sim version of Werewolf. Stardew Valley but highkey deadly. I will unironically support the theory that cozy games can involve murder.
Perfect Garbage is actually launching a different game this month—its debut game as a studio Love Shore—which is a cyberpunk narrative adventure. Likely we'll hear more about Grave Seasons after Love Shore gets its time to shine.