The creative Corner: 5 minutes with Hyakuten
Nol: Hello 'mortals of the planet known as Earth', my name is Nol and I am the guardian of stories...today I am the guardian of interviews! I'm joined by 2 rather suspicious individuals, who feel vain enough to organise an interview about their upcoming visual novel project…
Hyaku: How rude...
Nol: ...I have been explicitly asked to 'read this interview script verbatim'… I must say, the questions are poorly written, I would have done better had I been given the chance.
Ten:...Can you just ask the questions, please?
Nol: If I must…So can I ask you to introduce yourselves?
Hyaku: Hello! I'm Hyaku, I'm the lead artist for the project :)
Ten: I'm Ten, I'm the project manager and technical lead on Royal Duality-
Nol: that's the name of your…visual novel? You do realise you have stolen the title of my book, don't you?
Ten: Let's not get into that… read the script, please.
*** Q1) Tell me about how you came up with the concept for your characters? ***
Nol: Hyaku, you can answer first, as Ten is particularly obstinate-
Ten: (look who’s talking)
Hyaku: I think we both started by picking our favourite types of characters and then brainstorming from there. It was really important that no two characters felt too similar.
Nol: Ahhh yes, it can be hard to keep track of characters with similar qualities to one another...I am glad you’ve at least acknowledged this- maybe there is some hope for your story after all!
Ten: I mean...honestly, we wanted to think of the most stereotypical character types you'd find in a fantasy novel and then play around with people's expectations of what they were and might be like.
Nol: How contrary of you! That feels quite deceitful to me!
Ten:... I think you're reading too much into it
Nol: Call it a bad habit of mine- I read too much into everything-
***Q2) What are you hoping people will like about your visual novel 'Royal Duality'?***
Hyaku: I hope that players will enjoy the 'Royal Duality' fantasy world and story. The story of the game doesn't play out in sequential order, but a helpful storyteller will be there to keep you on track.
Nol:...Yes, quite right Hyaku, it's common sense to lead the reader! If I were the storyteller...I’d always be there to help...I’d be watching the player’s decisions quite intently...And you Ten?
Ten: The characters are in some ways, quite authentic even though they aren't humans, some have a very dynamic emotional range, some don't, but they all go through their own journey and change along the way, realising things about themselves and the events of the game really impact on their behaviour!
Nol: Ah yes, as a guardian of stories, I think character development is very important!
***Q3 Out of everyone in the cast of Royal Duality, who would you befriend? ***
Hyaku: I'd love to go on a night out with Warren and Sirius, that would be a blast! Not sure I'd win in a drinking contest though haha. I'd also love to be friends with Lew, he is well-travelled so I think he'd have lots of interesting stories to share.
Nol: A night out? What does that mean exactly?
Hyaku: You know, going for a drink with friends? Maybe in bars...or pubs?
Nol: Oh? An alcoholic frenzy of misguided hijinks with no control over your actions? Forgive me for not sharing your enthusiasm-
Ten: I'm quite an introverted person, I feel like Christian and I would get along quite well, but Sam feels like someone who would help me live my best life…also, it might seem strange, but I have a soft spot for Helmrick-
Nol: Indeed? Perhaps I could do with a friend like Sam! As for liking Helmrick…that is very odd, he is an evil vampire Count, is he not? (the similarities between your visual novel and my book border on plagiarism)
***Q4) What is your favourite thing about working on this project?***
Hyaku: I've really loved working with so many supportive and talented people, it really feels like we have a little community. Ten and I have been chatting about these characters for years so it's really exciting to see people discussing them and even creating memes about them!
Nol:... Each to their own I suppose- I assume you’re going to say something similarly…’nice’, Ten?
Ten: Yep, We've been so lucky to receive such enthusiasm and energy from our cast of voice actors and volunteers for testing, proofreading and more…we have all worked hard to make something that I hope everyone in the team will remember fondly.
Nol: -I don't enjoy collaborating with others, but I imagine it could be quite satisfying…if you care about the opinions of other people.
Ten: It's very important to think about the opinion of the reader and people who input into a project!
Nol:...We disagree in that respect. I can't say I enjoy others interfering with my work-
Hyaku: that's a bit negative-
Nol: Everyone's a critic these days
***Q5) Are there any special elements you'd like people to look out for in this game? ***
Hyaku: There's a lot of hidden and bonus content that can be unlocked as you play the game so I'd encourage players to explore every different option, you might get a surprise or two if you do ;)
Nol: As a narrator, I have to disagree- I don’t think it’s necessary to explore too much...why can’t you leave a good story as it is? Who knows what else you could discover that the author didn’t intend?
Hyaku:...Our game and your book aren’t the same things! No need to be so serious about it :)
Nol:...Indeed...but I do not agree - let the narrator decide when the story ends.
Hyaku: No, I guess we’ll agree to disagree :)
Ten: Handwriting, patterns, insignias and visual motifs play a big part in this game…you will be rewarded for being curious…regardless of what certain…characters might tell you
Nol: Who do you mean specifically?
Ten: ...I don't really want to go into the specifics-
Nol: Sending hidden messages…I might give that some thought myself!
Nol: Well, your answers were somewhat…middle of the road.
Ten: I think you might need to work on your people skills
Nol: I don't meet many people so it isn't something I'm concerned about. It has been so lovely to meet you of course! Don't take my feedback too personally
Hyaku: I feel like you're not being very sincere
Nol: Me? Not sincere? Nonsense! I am the very mirror of sincerity.
Well, perhaps someone in the void of the digital space will enjoy this interview of yours… (goodness knows who that would be…)
Ten: Everyone is a critic these days! Still, have you enjoyed yourself Nol?
Nol: This ‘Earth’ place is quite nice… it’d be good to visit again someday… the interview...meant I was able to visit, so in that respect...it was...a decent new experience!
Ten: Not exactly a glowing review from Nol- huh? But still, thank you for reading, Hyakuten hope you'll consider playing Royal Duality when it's released!
Hyaku: Thank you! :)
Nol: Goodbye humans! I hope I get to see you again sometime soon...Something tells me our paths may cross again-