The Developing Story: Otome Visual Novels

Aside from roleplaying games, visual novels have been rapidly gaining popularity among Western gamers, especially in the continental United States.

These games are as the words, “Visual Novels” suggest — A book in which choices may or may not be presented to the player.

One such company which makes games like these is Afterthought Studios, founded by Singaporean, Darren Kwok, who has announced the founding of Lunaniere, a subsidiary of Afterthought Studios which will produce Otome games.

So, what are Otome games?

Otome games are visual novels in which the character that the player plays as is a female and as the player progresses into the story, will end up with one of the male leads.

Sounds quite like the American drama? Think again, Afterthought Studios has been making visual novels for slightly over three years with his team.

“Aside from the artists that gets swapped around for various projects, I am pretty much the only guy in my team.” Darren says, commenting that the founding of Lunaniere is in part due to requests that his team members have made as well as his own interest in the genre as well.

“Otome games, by and large, target a female audience, but sometimes their stories are so good that I have spent countless of hours reading them.”

“Lunaniere is something we hope that will be able to produce and develop Otome games of the standard that we at Afterthought hold our products to. Top notch.”

Here, Darren unveils his new and maiden project by Lunaniere, Wishes in Pen: Chrysanthemums in August.

“The story is inspired by Jin, in part, one of my favourite Japanese dramas.”

Jin features a doctor who time slips into Japan’s Bakumatsu period, which saw the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the return of power to the Imperial Family.

“The element of time slips is definitely present in Chrysanthemums in August. However, you won’t be seeing a doctor this time around.” Darren says, showcasing a piece of art that was based off the Edo period.

“For this project, we are looking at using Kickstarter to fund it, but we have to sort out whether we are going to publish Chrysanthemums in August ourselves or with a publisher, things like that.” Darren comments, marking a break in tradition from the company self-publishing their own games, if you discount their other project, A More Beautiful World, which is under development and to be published by Sekai Project.

What should readers look forward to in Wishes in Pen?

“Animated backgrounds, an amazing soundtrack… Anymore and I may as well give you the design document.” Darren laughs and jokingly hands over a thick document.

When should readers expect the story and who is on the team?

“Well, I won’t commit to any release dates this year, but everyone, like usual, are girls in my team except myself. I’m not going to pretend that I know about the genre way more than they do and so far they are loving the story.”