Hi guys, I've been doing a lot of writing about my project A Near Dawn (largely about what it means to me personally), and I wanted to bring some of that discussion into the VN community.
You can play the Prologue on Itch.io, Steam, or Google Play.
First of all, it is in fact an OELVN. Please, don't run away. A Near Dawn is a project that is many things - I started out calling it my "dark humorous psychological thriller point and click visual novel adventure game," at this point it's my "dark humorous adventure", because that was quite a mouthful. But that is what this project is - my main influences for it are Ace Attorney (a puzzle adventure VN), Steins;Gate (it does not become apparent until later on in the story, but let's just say things begin going progressively supernatural/sci-fi), and traditional adventure games like Broken Sword (one of my favorite things).
A little about me: I began working on this project, because I had to. I was an animator on many cartoons like Ugly Americans, Fresh Beat Band of Spies. I thought that was what I wanted, but at some point I began to realize the most 'difference' I would be making if I kept going in this direction. I would always be working on someone else's project (whatever the studio decides to produce), by the time my part comes in everything has already been planned out. So everybody already knows what my contribution will be, before I even sit down at my desk. Don't get me wrong, it can be very interesting work and the studio environment is great, but my passion was telling stories, trying to make a difference in the world with them.
About A Near Dawn: I grew up on adventure games: Monkey Island, Indiana Jones - later Broken Sword, Ace Attorney. Those games inspire me, because of their clever writing and imaginative storylines. I always wanted to make an adventure like that. One key difference between them and most VNs is that they put you in control of every action and situation. If you look at something or speak to someone, that was your decision to do. To me that is something that is very powerful and immersive, and that was the concept behind A Near Dawn - if you strip an adventure game of the little character walking around, still allowing you to explore your environment and move from place to place, and you add these dramatic CG scenes to highlight the action in the story. What you get is a kind of interactive graphic novel adventure game that merges the Adventure and traditional Visual Novel genres together.
This is what that looks like:
I have been getting a mixed response from the VN community so far. You guys know that there is a strong aversion to anything that does not look expressly anime. I get that, I've been there. I had my anime phase, too. I wouldn't even watch 3D animation for a long time, and it was actually 3D anime like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts that got me to open my mind up to it more. Now, I love it. I know the amount of work that goes into it and being an animator myself I can completely appreciate the skill it takes and the decisions that were made (there are a hundred ways to do anything). My point is yes, it's different and unconventional, but is that a bad thing?
I just launched this project on KickStarter, hoping to help get some support for it - take a look at our campaign if you have a minute. And I would love to hear your feedback if you check it out!