Towns often have a very personal history. The small size makes for a tight community where people know each other, and often rely on each other. That small, personal size is a double-edged sword, however. Those who do not fit often find themselves alone, without anybody to rely on. And, sadly, it means that they are much more affected by the whims of the economy than cities, as there is often little space for diversification. On one hand, the town can grow, providing sustenance for generations of families, while, on the other, it can suffer as businesses dry up and people are forced to move, seeking something as basic as sustenance. Possum Springs finds itself in the last one.
Local businesses are struggling, with larger companies using their size as a way in. Jobs will be lost overall, and life will be worse. The only reason it didn’t happen faster for Possum Springs – and this is where the game shows its magical, fantastical side – is because the townsfolk have done everything in their power to stop Possum Springs from dying – even murder -, or, at the very least, delay it for just a while longer so that the next generation may take over.
The struggle that Possum Springs’ citizens are in is a struggle seen throughout much of the world. In particular, during an economic downturn, not unlike the one we’ve seen these last few years. Yes, the economy is recovering, but, as usual, waves always reaches these tiny towns last. The townsfolk see their towns suffer the most, and then take the longest to recover, if at all. In a way, they see themselves be forgotten. Left behind.
Night in the Woods presents Possum Springs, and, by extension, this reality, in a way very charming, respectful way. Part of it is the point of view – Mae is somebody who grew up in the town and who, in her own way, likes it. We peer into it as is, our view tinted by those who lived in it, with Mae a vehicle to help us explore it.
For as much fantasy as there is in Night of the Woods, it is closer to life than some of its photorealistic contemporaries. At the end of the day, not everything lets us sit on a metal bridge, sun behinds and just exist while also showing us the life of those who, for better or worse, are often forgotten in the medium. As for what it will happen to Possum Springs? Well… it will always be in our memories, won’t it?