That’s almost a wrap on Chronotopia’s universe and characters. I’d just like to explore one more thing…which would be the game’s prologue. Why is it taking place in purgatory? What is the link with the rest of the story? Who is truly Lys? It’s high time we solve that mystery~
Back when we first revealed our project to the world, I talked in length about the concept behind it but it seemed to spark confusion among players more than anything else. That’s why this time around I decided to keep this bit for last! In truth, Chronotopia has always been conceived as a potential series, with each installment being independent yet linked by one shared theme: fairytales. As I explained in the first article, I’m especially fond of making dark rewritings so I was naturally looking for a way to gather them together, to find a common starting point of sort. That’s where our purgatory comes into play.
At the same time, I was precisely looking for a way to use another concept that has been in my mind for years and it turned out to be the perfect occasion. That concept is the Ideas’ Graveyard, an allegory of the creative process. As I writer, I usually have tons of ideas flowing back and forth in my mind. Most of them are incomplete and cannot be turned into full-fledge stories as long as I can’t find what’s missing and that they haven’t matured long enough. Only then do they come to life. But what happens to incomplete ideas? Well, most of the time, they’re just put aside and I end up forgetting after a while. The funny part is that a forgotten idea will almost always surface back later on under another form. They’re actually never truly lost! That’s why I came up with the Ideas’ Graveyard, a fictional place in my mind where ideas (temporarily) go to die.
But the real trigger was when I decided to re-read some abandoned texts I had written long before I started making visual novels. That’s how I came across one of my first short stories, made back when I was still in high school, which borrows heavily from the anime Haibane Renmei (I’ve always been a fan). The base principle was the same: a purgatory with people waking up with no memory of their past. However the rest was quite different: there was no cocoon and it took place in a heath perpetually plunged into darkness with a gigantic moon. You follow the adventures of a lone girl who’s the only one in the heath to never have dreamt at all, yet is able to remember her true name. Upon reading the text again, I thought that magical landscape would just be the perfect Ideas’ Graveyard.
Starting from there, you get Chronotopia’s framing device: you incarnate an incomplete idea who wakes up in the graveyard and must find what kind of idea they are -their previous life- in the hope of being reborn as a full story one day. To that end, they make a pilgrimage in an alternative world: the uchronia (“a time that doesn’t exist”). But to be able to do that, our avatar has to meet a guide with that kind of power.
Enter our guardian…but we’ll talk about her next time~