[Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

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Rastagong
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[Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#1 Post by Rastagong » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:31 pm


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An epistolary fairy-tale mystery



>>> Download it for free on itch.io <<<



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Mirabelle and Célia have always loved inventing stories, and acting on stage too.
They used to entertain their friends by running story nights for them, in the woods near their village. Not anymore, though.

Three months have past since the incident which shattered their friendship,
and Mirabelle has begun a new life far away, in a bustling city by the sea.

One day, Mirabelle receives a letter from Martin, another friend of hers:
This is none of my concern, surely, but I fear I must ask...
Has Célia written to you yet?
If I may hazard a guess —she has not at all, has she?
I do not believe that she has spent a very pleasant summer, but I would like to believe that very soon,
life will turn out all the better for her.
If you ever find the time, do not hesitate to write to her.


Could this mark the beginning of a renewed friendship? Perhaps.
But not all secrets can be told truthfully, even to one's closest friend.


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Sylvan Disappearance is a mystery visual novel with an epistolary component.
In the course of the story, you follow Mirabelle's life in a seaside city, and read the correspondence she receives from her friends Martin and Célia.

Besides the mystery, the story features:
  • Psychological and folk horror
  • Strange, persistent dreams
  • Light yuri romance
  • Mysterious woods
  • A pseudo-historical setting

Among other influences, it was inspired by Emily Carroll's horror comics, the Dream Pop music genre,
tabletop role-playing, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Daphne du Maurier's Monte Verità and the seaside city from Kiki's Delivery Service.

The story is about 53 000 words long.
It should require between 4 and 5 hours of reading depending on your speed.
There are no choices, though you may read some of the letters that Mirabelle receives in the order you wish.


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Writing, Programming & Design: myself
Character Art: Hyanide
Further Credits are available in the Credits menu inside the game!

This was initially supposed to be a summer solstice release, because the first scene of the story is set on the summer solstice.
However, I ended up uploading the finished build only at seven in the morning on the 22nd of June…
It was truly just sunrise when I I finally hit published the page.
So I'm cheating a bit and saying that Sylvan Disappearance has been released on the night between June 21 and June 22, ahaha.
A late midsummer mystery, if you will.


I hope the story is enjoyable enough!
I'd be really happy to hear your thoughts, for those of you who end up reading it!
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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iron_mask
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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#2 Post by iron_mask » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:56 pm

I usually prefer VNs in which the reader is given some choices, but your story is really good! It was a bit anachronistic, but I don't care that much for historical accuracy :P

The epistolary form is a very interesting narrative device. It is perfect for conveying the alienation of the main character being away from home and having no other information than what her friends are willing to tell her. The moment when various characters' stories contradict each other was suitably unsettling. I was genuinely creeped out near the end of the story. I felt the characterization for Mirabelle and Celia was excellent, capturing the differences in their personalities. The backgrounds and their progression were really nice, too. Thanks a lot for this game!

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philip
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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#3 Post by philip » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:00 pm

@Rastagong-

Just noticed a new post to this thread; when I came to look at it, I realized that I had downloaded this story and played through it when it was released back in June. I also realized that while I thought it was excellently done . . . in all respects . . . I had neglected leave a post to let you know how much I had enjoyed it. My apologies, and congratulations for a job very well done!!!

philip
"One who has never made a mistake has never attempted anything!"
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and
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"Finish what you start"

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Rastagong
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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#4 Post by Rastagong » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:55 pm

iron_mask wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:56 pm
I usually prefer VNs in which the reader is given some choices, but your story is really good! It was a bit anachronistic, but I don't care that much for historical accuracy :P

The epistolary form is a very interesting narrative device. It is perfect for conveying the alienation of the main character being away from home and having no other information than what her friends are willing to tell her. The moment when various characters' stories contradict each other was suitably unsettling. I was genuinely creeped out near the end of the story. I felt the characterization for Mirabelle and Celia was excellent, capturing the differences in their personalities. The backgrounds and their progression were really nice, too. Thanks a lot for this game!
Thank you so much for this kind review!
I'm glad the epistolary framing worked well enough to tell this story, and to characterise Mirabelle and Célia!

And yes, I realise there are a number of anachronisms in terms of style, ideas and social roles. I didn't really intend to make an explicitly historical setting, but I still wanted to roughly approach a certain period to provide context.
I'll be mindful of this aspect in the future! Either by making historical context even less discernable, or perhaps by actually doing research.


philip wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:00 pm
I had neglected leave a post to let you know how much I had enjoyed it.
You did comment, actually!
It's only that you replied in the Works in Progress thread, while the current thread is in the Completed Games section. But thanks a lot for the comment, once more!
(And don't worry about it, I myself get confused all the time when searching for specific games or comments which may both be in Works in Progress and in Completed Games.)
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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