Facebook as we know it is on its way out as the company eyes a so-called pivot to privacy, but its legacy lives on. Developer Kyle Seeley — creator of AIM-based visual novels Emily is Away and Emily is Away Too — is working on a new game that aims to recapture the spirit of Facebook in its heyday. Called Emily is Away <3, Seeley’s latest game will let players create a “Facenook” account, send friend requests, and enjoy angsty ambiguous statuses.
The game, set in 2008, is a spiritual successor to Seeley’s past works. Players navigate the game’s branching story through different dialogue decisions while also sending instant messages and “youtoob” links.
The original Emily is Away focused on the relationship between two high schoolers as they go away to college and eventually grow apart, as told via messages on AIM. Speaking with The Verge, Seeley calls his move to Facebook a natural progression. “I really grew up on the platform,” he says. “Plus I feel like present-day Facebook is a shadow of its former self. And much like how the first two Emily games showed AIM in its teen-drama heyday, I wanted to make a game that did that for old school Facebook.”
Seeley hasn’t announced a release date for Emily is Away <3 yet, but the game will be playable for the first time at PAX East in late March. “To be honest, I don’t know why I love exploring old social media so much,” he says. “I think part of it is wanting to encapsulate it, and show off the experience to different generations that weren’t teenagers then. And I think another part is I just like making pixelated game versions of my own childhood memories.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Kyle Seeley’s name. It has been updated to reflect the correct spelling.