Alex seeks to destroy the Baron and his family in Boy’s Love visual novel Beyond Eden, doing so from the inside after he returns to them. However, he soon finds his feelings of hatred for them being muddled by a growing relationship that can form with several members of the house, giving players an emotional dilemma to deal with.
Siliconera spoke with the developers of Beyond Eden (which is out now on Steam) about the challenges of making that kind of complex relationship, and how they navigated making hate, but also fall for, its love interests.
Beyond Eden mixes feelings of love and revenge through its story. Why have players deal with these two very different emotions?
Nayoung Kim, Director of Beyond Eden – Actually, I think it is fairly common to feel both love and resentment against one person—especially if he or she is a family member or an old friend. That person may have some good in them, but also carry unbearable flaws. You may usually get along with them, yet sometimes you can get sick of them. If you choose to love them regardless, you stay with them despite such flaws and old scores. If your hatred is greater, then you will drift apart one way or another.
Alex, the playable character, is the latter case when he arrives at the mansion of his old acquaintances. He wants revenge, but at certain moments he finds himself recalling fond memories of his targets, and even feels sympathy and affection towards them. Should Alex overcome his past wounds and choose to love, or relieve all his anger and grief by taking revenge? The players will experience both emotions as they follow Alex’s story and eventually choose a path.
What thoughts go into creating the various men for the player to care for? How do you decide on what makes a good love interest?
I believe a good love interest character makes the players ask why he does the things he does. It should make them want to learn more about the character and pursue his route. Thus,a love interest character must be well-rounded and multidimensional. They must have surprising aspects that betray their first impression, as well as certain flaws. And,of course, they must also have personal strengths and virtues, as well as the charms befitting a love interest.
Lastly, a romantic game for adults should not leave out sexual elements. Each love interest in Beyond Eden is unique, responding differently to sexual situations and creating various sexual chemistry with the player character.
What drew you to the Victorian era for your story? Why does it feel right to tell it during this historical time?
Everybody in our team loves historical fiction. For Beyond Eden, we chose the Victorian era to emphasize on the eroticism seeping out from taboo and repression. I believed that the austere, disciplined social atmosphere of the Victorian era was perfect for such a theme.
And since Beyond Eden is also a story about uncovering dark secrets, we needed to set the stage in a place shut out from the outside world—a place where a unique and powerful hierarchy persists. Naturally, an English nobleman’s estate and the strict social hierarchy of the era provided the perfect setting. Not to mention the wonderful visual appeal of the late Victorian era. The rigid collars, ties, and the dazzling dresses with exaggerated bustles are the best!
With seventeen different endings, how hard is it to create a story that can go in so many different directions?
Various conclusions spring up as I spin out each character’s story. A lot of characters in Beyond Eden have tragic potential, so it was easy to write tragic endings. On the other hand, romantic endings were extremely difficult to write because Alex had to feel enough affection for someone to forgo his long-planned revenge. The most arduous task was to emphasize the affection between Alex and the love interest while steering the narrative towards the romantic ending.
How do you decide what decisions the player can make to change where the story is going? How do you pick a moment to give player control of where things are going?
The most crucial branching moments—when the player makes the one choice that divides a romantic ending and a bad ending—are the profoundly dramatic moments in the story where the characters’ are highly emotional and the stakes are set high.
The minor branches are placed at moments where somebody else may find insignificant, yet is psychologically important for the particular character. If the player had carefully observed the character so far, they will know which words and actions (Alex’s choices) could hurt or encourage him. After all, the accumulation of such small moments is what changes relationships.