Venice 2017.08.13, written by Kuna.
This week’s update will contain a bit of scene 5 and scene 6 progresses. Both of them are around 6k words long and, being the short demo made of seven scenes total, they’re crucial scenes, mostly regarding the climax of the demo. Writing and planning for the visuals is proceeding quite slowly but steadily, and as I write I’m gradually getting more motivated since Serenade is somehow taking shape : D.
So, let’s begin talking about Scene 6 which was a rather compelling experience. I’ll first show you its map, so you can get a general idea of its composition.
The game basically provides three scenes (“Lunch”, “Notebook” and “Quest”) that the player can play in the desired order. And that order is supposed to depend solely on player experience of the events told so far. I explain better.
In Serenade you play as Kairi who is not quite your impersonal puppet to identify with, rather he has a very defined personality and, at the beginning of the game, he makes some choices not everyone can agree with. In other words, while as the story progresses the player gets more control over Kairi’s actions, at the beginning the only role of the player is that of coping with Kairi’s attitude. …Yeah, that may not be what you exactly expect from an adventure game. So why is it like that? I guess it’s because of the time skip. Between scene 4 and scene 5 there is a hole of three whole years. During which the player has no way to control Kairi’s choices. Therefore, scene 5 will show outcomes completely outside the control range of the player.
Is it a good idea to plan a visual novel game following this whimsical turn of events? A line that I often tell myself is “Why not”. I’ve yet to test whether the scenes after the time skip work on an external player, so I can’t report any substantial feedback. Anyway, I’ve decided to go all the way through this bizarre decision of mine, therefore let me explain how it works in details.
From scene 1 to scene 4 you dive into Kairi’s life for the first time and have the chance to talk to characters and have a preview of the mystery you’re going to work on. Then there’s the time skip, and some things evolved significantly, as consequences of Kairi’s choices during the three years that the game’s missing. In scene 5 the player can witness (and slightly interact) with the new situation and get a grasp of what’s going on. I’d like the player to get interested in at least one of the developments that unfolded after the time skip. Depending on that preference, the player is supposed to choose a path and go through scene 6.
As you can see in the map, in scene 6 you have three sub-scenes and regardless of the one you decide to start with, you’re going to go through all the three, just in different orders. So what’s the thing I’d like the player to experience there? Just a bit more of control over the situation. It’s not just a sit and watch session, the player is going to decide which is the action he wants to pursue above all. Kairi’s attitude can have an impact over the player’s experience, but, perhaps, the player can as well reply back and give instruction on how the story should proceed. As explained, it’s not a choice, one of those that changes the story, rather, it’s a statement from the player affirming what’s the most relevant event regarding their own game experience. I’ll let you know how the test for this goes : D
Now let’s cover scene 5. I’m going to introduce a new character, the last one of the Kujikawa arc. Doc. Haruto Isahai in his early sketch.
He’s a brain specialist and played a major role in Kairi’s recovery after the car accident. I prefer not to reveal much about him before the release of the demo. Anyway, I can say that he will bring some comedy to the story, and that he’s heels over head in love with Kairi’s brain. The game itself will explain this last sentence better : D
Two things I’m currently working on are: 1) I’m preparing a file with the script after the time skip to present to my partner and have her “experience” to receive some feedback. 2) Saving money (-﹏-。) to probably get some help in finishing the demo.