Visual Novel An Octave Higher Is Getting A Prequel That Explores Madness

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Kidalang, the creators of visual novel An Octave Higher, have announced that they’re now working on a prequel to the game called A Small Fire at a Time.


It’s set in the same world of class struggle and industrial magic as An Octave Higher but takes place 22 years in the past. It’ll also be about half as long and, instead of letting class struggle push the plot forward, will deal with themes around madness and mental health.


Here’s the work-in-progress story description given:


In Overture, magic can cure all diseases, but not that of the mind. Society looks down on those whose illness is incurable by magic, and lunatics must stay in madhouses until they recover their sanity—if they ever do.

Thirteen-year-old Janis has been living in one such madhouse ever since she was abandoned by her parents for having the worst kind of madness known to man—worse than the depression that makes some people long for death, worse than the paranoia that makes its sufferers live in constant fear, worse than hallucinations and delusions—because in a city where everyone can use magic, Janis alone can’t.

Her disability makes Janis an easy target for bullying, but it never stops her from fighting back, even though she always loses. This catches the attention of Aiden Woolf, a powerful mage and police commander who is visiting the madhouse on an investigation.

In Woolf Janis finds a father figure, but can their fateful meeting cure Janis of her madness?


Kidalang says that it’s aiming to present mental health issues as accurately as possible and has been researching the topic to this end. “That said, even with all that research I won’t claim to know what it’s like to live as someone who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, and as with any fiction, a little dramatization is inevitable, so I apologize in advance if I get something wrong.” Kidalang writes. “Just remember that this is a story in which people shoot fire out of their hands.”

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Chris Priestman
Former Siliconera staff writer and fan of both games made in Japan and indie games.