Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chronotopia's Dark Fairy Tale Visual Novel Seeks to Put You In Donkeyskin's Shoes (Kickstarter Project)

... in a visual novel where you make the choices that save her, or doom her to death - multiple times.

Currently on Kickstarter, with just under a month to go till the funding goal, this project is a "visual novel" with aspects of game play, in which the reader makes choices (by clicking on the options) to move the story forward.
From the site:
A dark and mature rewriting of a forgotten fairytale with many twists. Will you save Donkeyskin or doom her?In Chronotopia, you incarnate a soul who recently found their way in Purgatory. The soul has to find the memories of their previous life again, otherwise they’ll be damned. You’re assisted by a mysterious young girl who has the power to travel through lost worlds –the uchronia, which are actually rewritings of fairytales. During your journey in the fairytale world, you will witness events that can grant the soul fragments of their buried memories. The number of fragments you collect will affect the fate of the soul.

Chronotopia is a dark retelling of the fairytale of Donkeyskin, which is very similar to Cinderella. Here, instead of remarrying, the heroine’s father decides he should wed her instead, so she has to escape with the help of her fairy godmother to finally be able to meet the prince. And that’s where we present our version with a more...realistic and mature approach to spice things up. Of course, the choices you make will also affect her fate: she can either escape with her servant, become a fairy herself or die in a horrible way. Multiple times. 
  • A unique take on a forgotten fairytale with many twists
  • Branching story where choices affect the endings: will you save the protagonists or doom them?
  • Beautiful artwork, with animated backgrounds and special stained-glass illustrations  
  • Extensive use of RenPy 3D camera for a more dynamic presentation 
  • Several segments allowing you to freely explore the castle to discover its secrets  
  • A full original soundtrack with celtic influences
As you can see, even though Chronotopia is a visual novel, there will also be several gameplay segments through the game to enhance the experience and offer a more dynamic presentation.
The Donkeyskin story is blended with a few different gaming, anime and folktale aspects to make for an unusual combination. While the Donkeyskin premise seems fairly apparent, especially at the outset, the journey into Purgatory and taking on the powers of a fairy, for a price, aren't usually part of the package. The time factor is obviously key, with a name like "Chronotopia", but how that works isn't entirely clear.

With grownup themes and the words "dark" and "adult" attached it's also unclear which demographic the novel/game is aimed at, especially with such appealing storybook-like illustrations.

The decision to make Donkeyskin/Kionna a princess of color is an interesting one, and adds interesting and different undertones to an already disturbing tale. Although some aspects like the role of the fairy and why the Princess is the character going through Purgatory are intriguing, it's the choice in having a Princess of color, the implications of such and, as a result, the different lens through which to view the tale, that is the most appealing to us. If you delve into the world of Chronotopia, we'd love to know.

We find no references to apps, Android or iPads for the final product but it will be multiplatform for the most common PCs (Mac, PC, Linux). In the meantime you can download various demos HERE.

If you're interested to know more, head over to the Kickstarter page. There is a lot of information about the developer team and other aspects of the project as well.

Update 9/29/16: A mobile version of the game is a stretch goal at present. Also dark doesn't mean 18+. We have been reassured by the creators that this is quite appropriate for all teens.

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