The State of Things, An Apology and A Recommendation
I always start everything I write about this game with gratitude, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. We’re immensely grateful for your support, for sticking with us, for giving us a chance.
It’s wild to think that now that the game is released, there’s still a lot of work to do.
That’s partially because of the gap from when the game was written to when it was released. I want to speak about that, because I’m concerned that some of the language used can be contribute to a culture of hate towards marginalized communities and can sometimes be triggering for no good narrative reason.
The game was written years ago, and if the gap only existed between our level of skill then and our level of skill now, I wouldn’t be writing this at all. But that is not the only gap that exists, and I like to think we have all become better people, and our understanding of issues like diversity and queerness has only deepened through our life experience.
That said, the game does not reflect that. We tried, through the process, to keep it updated, but even as we playtest it and work on it, it’s clear to see that we have fallen short. We did our best, in truth, but lack of resources and our own grief made it so we were left with two choices: release a game that feels dated and can come across as jarring because it is, so that we can honor Maggie and the promise we made to our backers, or walk away.
We couldn’t walk away. We couldn’t let Maggie’s art be wasted. You had already paid for it.
So we’ve released the game, but with one caveat: it is far too late for the game to did what it set out to do. We wanted to have a more diverse cast of characters, a richer understanding of plot without the pitfalls that felt like the industry standards at the time. We wanted to explore queer issues respectfully. We wanted to portray different backgrounds and personalities with the richness and respect they deserved.
And we hope we have achieved some of that.
But we also know that we have fallen short. And we are very sorry.
Even our understanding of diversity has changed. When we were first creating the visual components of the VN, when it was first a twine game, each character’s appearance and background was randomly chosen even though the character’s backstory had already been written. Diversity seemed important, but we never even considered authenticity. We’re a pretty diverse group of people in the development team, but things that pinged our radar now as problematic didn’t at the time, and that’s a really big issue with the game.
Our approach was heartfelt, and it might have worked! In 2016. But in 2020, it doesn’t.
The point of this post is to ask you for your patience. We’re going to change some phrasing we find egregious, and as we play the game ourselves, we’ve noticed a few things that absolutely have to be updated. I know it’s probably a lot to ask you for your patience again, after asking you for four years.
We’re going to put more trigger warnings in place and work on the dialogue options. Some plot elements are completely unchangeable, but we’re going to try our best to edit these ourselves in order to ensure that it’s as... good as it can be, all things considered. Additionally, please update the game. There has been a new update today, so please update it with your key link.
We’re trying to implement changes to fix some of these issues and earlier versions will not have those.
So I guess the only good way to close this is by thanking you again. For everything.
We have learned, and we will do better next time. We promise.
Here is a recommendation:
We really recommend that you play several different routes so that you can see the scope of the game. It’s a slice-of-life approach to a dating sim-like VN, and the plot can feel unfinished. That is by design, and it’s part of what the game is trying to do. Ordell’s journey through his depression and his grief is what we wanted to zoom on here, and the game can get extremely heavy and dark.
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Great story. Hiding my comments here rather than on the main page because SPOILERS. It was really interesting getting to learn about the different ways that all the friends connected with each other. It was super uncomfortable how the black woman (Jasmine) was constantly serving everyone else... based on this post, I'm sure you've noticed. Alayna is like the most relatable trans experience - sitting in classes and attempting a career path a decade later in life than most other people, wondering what it would have been like to have it all figured out on a "normal" timeline. I appreciate that Ordell didn't have a total sexual identity crisis over his attraction to her. Honestly the part that required the most processing was Evan. He seemed so self-sabotaging, almost projecting his own sexual confusion onto Ordell in a way that reminds me of the deep suspicion so many people have had for me as a bisexual nonbinary person. Every relationship, friendship, romance, in my life has been that mix of "how much of this is me fucking it up, how much of it is them, and how much can we still be there for each other because none of us are perfect?" and I think this story gets that feeling across rather well.
Also I headcannon the Mother as this super queer den mother. :D