It’s been a week since Chronotopia’s launch on Kickstarter and we’ve already reached 3 000€! It’s the perfect timing to come back to how the demo was made and evoke the content that’s planned for the full game. And as a good leader should set an example, I’m starting with my part: the writing!
Beware, it is strongly advised that you’ve played the demo beforehand not to spoil the surprise and to better understand what follows. If it’s not the case yet, I warmly recommend that you go take a look!
I had briefly mentioned it before but, from the start, Chronotopia had always been thought as a setting that could be suited for very different plots that would only be linked by their shared theme: fairytales. I’m fascinated by the subject and I’m especially fond of making dark rewriting of tales that have been forgotten. Since I have lots of ideas, it was a shame for me to be unable to gather them in one way or another. In a series where each episode would be independent, for example. In order for that mix to be coherent, I needed to find something that could be used as a starting point for each future story. Here enters the “purgatory”.
An allegory of the creative process
As it happens, I really wanted to use the concept of the Ideas’ Graveyard that had been in my head for years and I found that Chronotopia was the perfect occasion. The principle of that place is that it’s an allegory of the creative process.
As a writer I have a very specific way of working: there’s of course the step where I have the idea for the first time and where I’m thinking about what I can do with it, but I will quickly reach my limits. Some elements are not clear yet or there are parts missing, preventing the story from being finished. So I put those ideas aside for a while so that they could mature. This phase can last weeks, months or even years! The interesting part is that I can forget an incomplete idea because of my inability to find something to do with it but it will always come back in another form later. “Dead” ideas are never truly lost in a way! That’s why I ended up giving a name to that imaginary place where my ideas go to die (temporarily or not): the Ideas’ Graveyard.
I really wanted to do something with this cool concept in one of my stories but I had never found how…until I decided to read again some very old texts I wrote and never published (long ago before I started making visual novels).
Some old abandoned texts
Like this, I came across my very first short story, written when I was still in high school, that borrowed a lot from the anime Haibane Renmei of which I’ve always been a fan. There was the principle of a purgatory with people waking up with no memory of their past and who give each other names based on the dreams they had, but the rest was quite different. There was no cocoon and the landscape was a heath perpetually plunged into darkness with a gigantic moon. You follow the adventures of another heroine who is special because she didn’t dream at all. Those adventures conclude in my unfinished book (since I dropped it to make visual novel instead). When I read that text again, I thought that landscape would be perfect to represent the Ideas’ Graveyard.
I also based the prologue on other stories that are in my head since a while but that I haven’t been able to fulfill yet…including a bit of Milk (still in construction). A certain character “dies” and goes back to the Ideas’ Graveyard under a new name: Lys. Weirdly enough, I grew fond of this character and I’ve decided to turn it into some kind of cameo that would appear in several of my works. Since she didn’t have her own story (not for her new life at the very least) and was the only character that went in the Graveyard at some point, it seemed logical to me that she would be the one who would guide new souls in their journey.
The mere fact that I went back over some old abandoned texts was also a way to go all the way: if the game Chronotopia explores forgotten fairytales, wouldn’t it be funny that Chronotopia itself were made of pieces of my own forgotten stories?
Well, that was the creation of Chronotopia’s concept and the the Ideas’ Graveyard. Next time, I’ll be directly talking about Donkeyskin’s tale! Don’t forget that Chronotoia is still on Kickstarter and Greenlight~