In this game, there are plenty of elves. Amber is very cute obviously, but even Laironden, Lair for his friends, is not bad either!
Lair Official Introduction
Born to nobility, Lair lives in fear of his tyrannical father. Ever since his mother died several decades ago, his father, Arnor, has become consumed by rage and the need to control everything he can. His ruthlessness has allowed him to rise in power to the point he has the ear of the King and Queen, but it has come at the cost of alienating all around him. Lair does not hate his father, but he does his best to avoid him and that means he is often seen spending his time in areas that most of his social class would not deign to visit.
His friendship with Amber leads the two of them into conflict with Arnor who holds to the old Elf attitudes towards Dark Elves. He is furious about their relationship and begins to interfere in her life. Eventually, he forces her to work on the Philosopher’s Stone or be banished from Icesilia. She reluctantly agrees, both to protect Lair from his father’s wrath and so she can stay in the city.
Lair is fairly naïve for his age having spent most of it as a sheltered noble. He tries his best to be kind and fair although he can forget about the feelings of others in his bid to escape from the machinations of his father and the nobility at large. For the most part, he tends to be open when people try to explain issues with his behaviour although this openness at times leaves him vulnerable to being manipulated by those who might wish to take advantage of his naivety.
Next week, will make a post about this year, how it turned out to be my most productive year ever, and some personal considerations about the market, indie and life! Stay tuned 🙂
Back on topic: why those two characters are introduced together, you might wonder? Well…let’s say that they are often seen together during the story. This is also a particular path since you get an extra bonus CG in it. But wait, I’m saying too much! Let’s proceed with the introduction.
Cosa and Anders introduction
Mysterious adventurers that always seem to be on the run from the Royal Guard, Amber finds herself thrown into the dangerous exploits of the two silver-haired humans.
The pair have a deep interest in alchemy and frequently request assistance from Amber to aid in their own research. Cosa, in particular, has a mission of her own that involves alchemy and she wants to recruit Amber to her cause.
In later years, Amber continues to work with Cosa and Anders to create the legendary Panacea to cure Cosa’s father who is dying from an incurable disease. Their adventures take them all over the country surrounding Icesilia and soon Amber finds out just what Cosa and Anders did to upset the King and Queen of Icesilia.
Cosa is a driven individual who has trained all her life to be an adventurer and warrior. She strives to be perfect in everything she does and has little time for anything but the best. Anders, on the other hand, tends to be fairly laidback although he gets enthusiastic when he has the opportunity to experience new things or try out new technology.
The two of them are close and Amber suspects they are lovers. Still, they tend to be awfully affectionate with her too…
And now a short “postmortem” about the game and a few considerations.
The game idea
The game basic idea came to me last year, I thought that could have been fun to explore the married couple life, something very different from what the usual dating sim do. In practice, start the game where most other dating sim end! And then I thought that the perfect game to do this was a sequel to Always Remember Me.
For this game, I wrote the storyboards myself, since I am quite attached to those characters and this story. The first game was quite popular, also thanks to a series of videos by the famous youtuber Dodger. Will she cover also this game? who knows, I hope so! 🙂
Of course, being about the married life there was a basic problem: you couldn’t pursue several romances! (well, at least in theory…)
So I had to think how it would work, and I opted to let the player choose at the beginning of the story which romance route they wanted to play:
The other characters might appear on each route, but only as secondary/minor characters. The main focus would be the one you picked.
Then I had a big problem: what kind of gameplay? Originally I wrote the game as a pure visual novel, with the endings determined only by the choices. Each character has 10 scenes, with a choice in each and two options.
Based on your choices, you’d get 5 endings: 2 happy, 2 sad and 1 neutral.
Please note that while obviously people will want to get the happy endings, I think that even the sad ones are somewhat meaningful or interesting to play. In one sad ending for Eddy for example you learn how to stay away from men interested only in their career, while in a Hugh’s one you could learn that you need to fight to get your hard work recognized, even if the boss is your husband, etc.
Every path has a specific theme, as described in the game page.
I decided during the last month of development, to try adding also a scheduler/stat-raising gameplay. By completing the game in this mode, you would unlock two extra bonus epilogues: a happy epilogue and a normal epilogue.
Even for the stat raising, I wanted to try something different from the usual: the big difference in this case is that beside raising the character’s associated stat (like in most other games) to get the 100% relationship you also need to complete “goals”. The goals are randomized a bit, based on each love interest, and they are based on raising the OTHER stats.
For example, Aaron main stat is Romance. But to complete the goals, you’ll need to raise the other 3: Diligence, Culture and Creativity. Each goal will have different requirements. Some are also influenced by the Social/Energy values at the end of each week. This way, there’s more variety of gameplay and also a bit of strategy I think. Time will tell if people liked this idea or not 🙂
The game is just out so of course I cannot know how it will do, etc. During the beta it was doing “OK”. However, this game also took me only 2 months of storyboarding (done last year in February/March) while I was waiting for other games to be done. And another 2 months to script/code.
In summary this could well represent one of the infamous “smaller games” (for my standards: it’s still bigger than many other games! about 90k words and 8 CGs is not bad!) that I want to make, to ease the wait for the bigger ones.
Bernard has one of the most interesting story arcs in my opinion. I also like his design, hot muscular guy, but looking different than the others, more slender but still sexy. The classic cursed / hot tempered guy 🙂
Bernard tends not to talk much about himself and he rarely opens up to people he does not know well. What people do know about him is he is a rising star in the Adventurer’s Guild and he has little time for anything but his ambitions.
He wants to rise because he believes the guild system is unfair but he also enjoys the praise and wealth that comes with promotion.
As an adult, Bernard continues his rise although grows frustrated as his previous meteoric pace slows to a crawl. He suspects his superiors are plotting against him and reaches out to Amber to help him rise to the position of Guild Leader. Amber agrees although she quickly finds that years of constant struggle have started to take their toll on Bernard’s psyche. She only hopes that she can help him before paranoia and ambition consume him completely.
Passion is Bernard’s greatest strength and weakness. He always tries his hardest and he never lets setbacks get in the way. Unfortunately, his drive blinds him to potential problems and he frequently gets himself into dangerous situations due to his refusal to believe he could be wrong.
So far, he has survived every situation he has got himself into, but it just fuels his invincibility complex further. Someday his luck might run out, but for now he will continue to push himself until he breaks himself or someone else.
In other news, the beta for Never Forget Me continues, and I’m only waiting for the missing trailers before doing the official release. I think will be around half-November 🙂