After my initial blog post a few months ago, people still had some doubts. I answered them in the comments but of course people could have been missed them. Since in this post I wanted to offer a preview of what’s to come I thought was the best place to also clarify a few things.
First of all, the 4 games will be treated as completely independent stories. There can be reference to other events, of course (but this happened in all my other fantasy games too). Each story will be about a specific topic, and we tried to pick the cast based on how well they would fit the story and the theme.
Character creation and customization
Like the first game, you’ll be able to play as Saren or Elenor, but this time you’ll have more customization choices. The appearance can be changed completely – right now, if you want to have a mage wearing plate mail, you can. I might change this if during beta people complain/don’t like that. And yes, you can play as mage. Other games might unlock new classes. I haven’t made my mind yet, but in general the two base classes: Warrior and Thief, will always be available, while other bonus classes like Mage or Healer or something else will vary on each game (also to offer some variety).
How it will work for romances and past choices?
Since I make visual novels the best interpretation of how this work is parallel universes. In one universe, at end of Loren someone died. In another, nobody died. In another one … I’ll stop here just in case someone didn’t play the game yet! Same thing for the romances. In order to offer such variety of choices and ending, you need to think about them as stories that could ALL have happened at once, at the same time, in parallel universes!
So there isn’t a right or wrong ending/story/branching. However, of course, to avoid going insane, I’m going to assume certain events, and a specific ending to the first Loren. I won’t write it for spoiler reasons, but suffice to say that each of the four stories will assume the same identical endings to Loren’s story (nobody dies!).
In each game, you’ll be able to make a choice: pick a starting romance from 2 old love interests, or start without romance and pursue one of the 2 new love interests. In the first game, you’ll be able to play as Elenor and continue Rei romance, or start single and pursue Nathir. As Saren, you’ll be able to continue Myrth romance or pursue Lydia. In the screenshot below I was playing as Elenor, that’s why Saren’s choice are greyed out. Also, I’m aware of some different coloring style, we’ll recolor them to match better (Myrth and Lydia in particular).
Why this choice? Why I am not doing like Planet Stronghold 2 which had more freedom? Well, because offering the possibility to start with a romance, break up, and pursue someone new was cool but at same time, players would miss scenes or get confusing.
Example from PS2: I start with Cliff romance and halfway I wanted to pursue Shiler (assuming a bisex Joshua protagonist). I could do it, but I’d have missed all the early scenes with Shiler! And since you can always play my games in visual novel mode, where replaying the story to see the different paths is super quick and easy, really doesn’t make sense to offer this choice which will delay the game production by months (making everything fit the story is crazy, trust me).
So it’s because of that if I don’t offer this possibility, it feels wasted time when 99% of players of PS2 just replayed the game from start if they wanted to pursue a specific romance!
The four stories sneak peek!
As said, each story will feature: 2 old romances and 2 new romances. But there can still be cameos or other characters appearing as NPC/party members of course. The 4 games will be released in chronological order, but as said are 4 independent stories, even if there could be some references between them.
I’m just going to refer to game A,B,C,D since I didn’t make my mind about names, and I’ll be a bit vague since we’re still brainstorming stuff, so nothing is 100% final, but it’s a good indication of what we’re thinking to do:
old: Rei (GxB) & Myrth (BxG)
new: Lydia (BxG) & Nathir (GXB)
Theme: an elven marriage that goes terribly wrong. I know, this game has no homosexual romances and it’s the first time for my fantasy series. But since is the only one, and all the other 3 have more homosexual romances than straight ones, I hope people will forgive me !
old: Draco (BxB) & Mesphit (GxB, BxB)
new: Breza (GxG) & Jul (GxB, GxG)
Theme: the demons are on the offensive again, but this time they’re also using their brain beside brute force. And this time, Loren won’t be able to help… (suspense!)
old: Loren (GxB,GxG) & Karen (GxG)
new: Odurat (BxB,GxB) & Nook (BxB)
Theme: the newly introduced slavery laws cause unrest at the Amazons Citadel. For this game we might also add some kingdom management sim or something, I still need to decide!
old: Chambara (BxG, GxG) & Amukiki (GxB, BxB)
new: Selith (BxG, GxG) & Samaras (GxB, BxB)
Theme: with the split of the Empire, the witch hunt is back and the witches of the Unforgiving Swamps will need to fight for survival. This is the biggest game, with all bisex romances + many cameos etc. I left this as last so hopefully I’ll be in full strength again when I’ll do it !
I know, I know that not everyone will be happy with how we split it. I also don’t like that the first game has no gay romances. About this, I recently asked on twitter/forums if you’d be OK if I used another artist to make the missing CG to make those two characters bisex: https://www.winterwolves.net/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=4218
And seems that people like the idea. I’m not sure yet if I’ll do it (the result needs to be decent!) but if I manage to do that I’ll let you know of course!
Also remember that we had to consider for each game how well a character would fit the theme. Chambara for example was obviously going to be in the witches game, while Karen would need to go in the game about the Amazons, and so on. But that’s not all: we also needed to have a balanced party. If you look carefully, each story indeed has 1 member of the four roles: tank, thief, healer and hybrid/support.
While I’m not sure exactly how the RPG gameplay will work, I still wanted to keep my options open (even in the case I ended up not doing RPG gameplay, like in the game C for example). In any case though, the RPG will have max 6 party members and not like my past games with 8 or more (sorry but can’t make such big games anymore).
So that’s it! I have no clue about release dates, but for sure I won’t be able to do more than one every year (or maybe 2 years). And I still plan to release other simpler games alongside them. Considering I also have Curse Of Mantras to do, I think the first game might be out either next year or in 2022, and the other ones every 18-24 months.