Preview of new fantasy games with Loren cast

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

the outfits available are really cool!

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).

for the first time I had to code a “romance screen” explaining in details the various possibilities!

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:

Game A
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 !

Game B
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!)

Game C
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!

Game D
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 !

Conclusions

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.

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11 Responses to Preview of new fantasy games with Loren cast

  1. Cay Reet says:

    It looks very interesting and I’m certainly looking forward to all of the games. I actually feel like I will have a better chance to finish four shorter games over time than one long one.

    • admin says:

      Haha yeah. I think they’ll still be around 120-130k words each (at least, the last one might be bigger). But not 350k words anymore XD

  2. Lindsey S. says:

    Honestly, I’m pretty much just invested in Aravorn the setting at this point and will play anything related to it lol. Even the yaoi one which, as a gay gal, is not normally my first choice of VN genres.

  3. Formula Wars 91 says:

    Far be it from me to tell you how to run your business, but my gut really excited for this spread.

    From what I can tell, you had a big success in Loren. You, in retrospect, overcommitted to a degree for Loren 2, which led to too many art assets for a small game. So now, we’re looking at four mini-RPGs to use up these assets. I see the logic of it.

    But the problems I see are:

    1. Not all romances are equally popular, and diluting them across multiple games will likely lead to some games underperforming, which could be a problem especially with popular characters like Loren far down the line — making four “Loren” games with Loren only in one seems strange. And if there’s a LI that you don’t like, you might have zero fallback options for your preferred gender matchup, which is a lost sale.

    2. It wears down continuity, both of the Aravorn IP and of the Eleanor/Saren story. How do other games relate to these? Am I buying the canon game? Is there a canon? The whole parallel worlds thing feels complicated, especially to someone approaching the franchise for the first time. These feel like sidestories, and I don’t think sidestories would sell like a sequel.

    3. Do most people really want to buy four games in the age of penny Steam sales, especially if they’re only in it for one character? If they’re not committed to all four, they might just sit it out.

    I think you’d get better success chopping the cast down to a minimum but consisting of the most popular characters and maybe halving the game’s size. Toss the rest of the CGs and accept the sunk cost. As a fan, I’d like to see these all succeed, but I’m unfortunately skeptical that they will.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the feedback, about your points:
      1. Thing is that they are NOT “Loren” games. In the first game, yes Loren was the main hero, but you (player) were Saren/Elenor. I don’t think people wanted to see another game in which you were Loren’s shadow and indeed even the preliminary storyboards (which weren’t public) greatly reduced her role and elevated Saren/Elenor. Otherwise, it would just be too similar to the first game. I am aware that there might not be LI you like, but SOTW for example had just four, and 1 for each orientation, and it did well (MUCH better than PS2 with its 1321908 love interests)
      2. Yes, you said it well, are side-stories or spin-offs. This is NOT Loren 2. There will never be a Loren 2. Those are stories with Saren/Elenor approaching different topics of Aravorn. And I’m going to assum canon stuff. Not the romances. A bit hard to explain, but there will be continuity, each game will follow a main storyline. Only the different choices won’t be. In game 2, won’t matter who you romanced in the 1st since will start with new love interests
      3. Eh not sure about this. After PS2, I don’t know anything anymore. After I made my best game ever and sold “so-so”, I think maybe players just want cheap games and that’s it. Besides, what should have I done? Another game with same cast? it wasn’t like PS, where the first game was so short that I could expand. Loren’s original writer didn’t even want to write again the original cast beacuse she felt that 250k words of the first were enough and ran out of ideas. Not so easy!

      I thought about everything you mentioned, but the thing is that I am NOT able to do anymore a game even with just 8 characters because it’s too much. 4 main characters will be the max I’ll ever do from now on (not including NPCs of course). Since the love subplots of my games for each character are usually longer than 90% of other games whole stories, you understand that I can’t do this anymore.
      It was either this, or cancel it completely. I decided to give it a try 😛

  4. G Anderson says:

    Loren The Amazon Princess is one of the best games ever. I also really loved PS2.

    I have been waiting for a Loren sequel for many years. And while, in a way, I would prefer the concept of “Loren 2” to be expressed in one game, I have read the comments on PS2. The massive amount time and effort put into PS2 was not “worth it”, when you look at the amount of money you made off of PS2. If all of the characters and storyline of PS2 could have been split into multiple games, I am sure I would have bought them all and loved them all.

    So… if your ideas for “Loren 2” are too big for any one game, I would much rather see you execute the 4 games idea than just leave all of the “Loren 2” ideas gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. As soon as I can buy the first of the “Loren 2” games, I will do so.

    I am also in favor of you making as many of the love interests bisexual as possible. I am a straight man, so my preferred romances are BXG, but I have enjoyed lesbian romances as well. (I played through Seasons of the Wolf nearly to the end as Shea, and I did not realize that Chalassa was completely lesbian until I had spent a lot of time pursuing her. And after I finshed the game as Shea, I played through again as Althea so that I could romance Chalassa.) Writing every character as bisexual is not “realistic”, of course, but it gives players many more romance options. (You could think of the characters as having “Schrodinger’s cat” sexuality. Each potential love interest is not “really” bisexual… but whatever gender the player chooses, that is the gender preferred by the love interest. That is just one way that parallel universes can work to a player’s advantage.)

    Please finish the first of the “Loren 2” games as soon as possible! 🙂

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your nice words!

      As already explained, doing a single game with so many characters would have been an impossible task. Beside even if I somehow managed to do it, I think it wouldn’t turn as good as if I split it in 4 games, so that I could have more time (words) for each love interest.

      Last but not least, with 4 games I can explore more of Aravorn lore. Not just another demons war (which will be in the second game) but also political intrigue (1st game), troubles in Amazon Citadel and last but not least the return of the witch hunt.

      I think are all interesting settings for a story and I wouldn’t have been able to do them if I didn’t split the game 🙂

      And yes, in my future games I plan to have less characters but make them all (or almost all) bisexual, since it’s indeed the best solution for my kind of games. For many current games in development I couldn’t do this, but for future ones yes, that’s the way to go, even if not “realistic”!

  5. Bitow says:

    I think it is a great solution the way you divided the games, it is possible to show the various ways things could have happened, and at the same time, not stress out from making out a one really big game.

    About the first game love options, I am the kind of person that don’t care much about the characters preferences, because this can help to give them more personality, but at the same time, it can help make the game more popular if it has more options. Either way it would come to the “i managed to make it look natural, so it is not forced into the game just for the sake of having it there”

    I for one am more interested in the second and fourth game. The second because i like the idea (not saying it will happen, but maybe?) have a race, like demon in this case, that is considered bad/ evil in general, and then have a redemption story. Like having a change of hearth because met someone (in this case the MC in the game).
    The fourth one because it is Chambara, and so far, Chambara and Chalassa are my favorite characters you made so far.

    Speaking of Chambara, i am reeeeeaaaaaally disappointed (playfull tone) that it will be the last game, but it is okay, i can forgive you, because usually the best is saved for last right? So it makes sense (more playfull tone noises).

    • admin says:

      Well it’s no secret that the second game is about demons war, and this time Jul (the demon/succubus of Loren) will be not only in the party but also a bisex love interest, so… 😛
      As for Chambara haha yeah, sadly she’s last but as you said, the best is kept last! I think indeed the last game will be amazing, all character bisex, and the witch hunt story will also be interesting (since it also ties with the Hazel game).

  6. KagenNoTsuki says:

    Chambara’s game being the biggest of them all has put such a big smile on my face it actually hurts! ^_^

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