Once a month I get a private message that reads something like this:
“Hi Cpl_Crud! I loved your work and you inspired me to make my own VN. What advice do you have for me?”
And my first response is almost always “Don’t.”
Making Katawa Shoujo was a great experience. I learned so much about writing and self-critique, and it gave me enough confidence to keep pounding keys even though the universe (and to-the-minute sales statistics) constantly keep telling me to stop.
Five years after KS was released, I was still hanging out at Komiket: the biggest fan-driven manga convention in the world. I was on the cusp of releasing my second book. The editing was all done, I only had to wait for the cover art and put it on sale. So my mind was turning to what I should do next.
I had a couple of ideas. One was to continue the Zemlya universe with either a 10-year future, or to use the same universe to launch a space opera. But somehow, in the excitement of the day, I thought “It could be fun to do another VN.”
It must have been the cold.
I cracked out my phone and found an old idea that I have in my “list of ideas” and made a cryptic post on Twitter. We then went out for our usual post-Komiket meal and I forgot about the tweet.
But then, people started answering it – they wanted to join me on this crusade.
And so, early in 2018, “Historia” was born.
I won’t go into detail about the game or the plot here. There will be plenty of time for that.
But I wanted to introduce myself.
I’m Cam “Cpl Crud” O’Neill. I have no artistic ability whatsoever. My handwriting is terrible and my photography is “meh” at best.
But I love to write and to lead.
My “day job” is that of a businessman; I travel extensively around the world, spending most of my breath trying to convince people to believe me. I would say that I’m OK at this.
But what I get excited about is writing. In 2007 I joined the Katawa Shoujo project, and I like to think that I helped arrange the team. I also co-wrote the Hanako path with Suriko (who also wrote Lilly). However, my work life got too busy at that time and I had to leave to project towards the end.
But I think that Historia will be my most ambitious work yet. Sure, KS will likely be a much bigger Visual Novel, but when I started that I had no idea of what I was getting into. The tools that exist today are vastly improved over the 2007 version of Ren’py, and you, the readers, are also much more familiar with what Visual Novels are about.
And I’m also headed into unknown territory. I wanted this to be a horror VN, with lots of ghosts and terror – but first drafts are already showing more of a bent for action (as per Zemyla). Still, I think the story is interesting enough, and the team that we have assembled so far is both talented and dedicated.
Now all I need to do is carve out an hour a day so we can hit our deadlines!