Over the course of his year's training, Ven learns the ways of warfare, from hacking into nearly impenetrable computer networks and grueling combat to the art of manipulating people and expert familiarity with a range of firearms. Ven is also forced to compete in deadly challenges called Colosseums where the knowledge and wits of students are tested in increasingly insane scenarios. As he grapples to survive, Ven will meet many people. He'll make allies and enemies, and perhaps even find someone to stand by his side as he attempts to figure out who he is and how he ended up at the Finishing School.
The Finishing School
The Finishing School is an institution that operates under the auspices of a Czarist-Russia inspired country in a world where tech is much more advanced than magic (which is largely hidden from public knowledge). The Finishing School purchases criminals from around the world and brings them to their facility in the northern Russianesque taiga for 12 months of intensive training. In order to keep their students in line, the Finishing School seals up their memories with a combination of magic and science.
The Finishing School forces their students to participate in grueling tests of physical and mental acuity as they advance through their studies. Early colosseums are often less-deadly, but the difficulty of the games ramps up sharply after the first three months of training. By six months, usually about half of the students have died from challenges endured in the Colosseum and even less than that will usually make it to graduation.
Challenges in the colosseum follow closely to scenarios called Scripts. Each script is identified by number, and the objectives for a script of a certain number are always the same. Cadets who have been at the Finishing School have been recording the script numbers and objectives as well as notes that have been passed down for years. It’s almost unheard of that a colosseum happens that the cadets don’t have notes on already. Scripts are given a difficulty ranking from 1-5. At the beginning of a colosseum, every participant gets a notification on their smartwatches informing them of the victory conditions. These conditions can be the same for everyone, or based on teams or individuals depending on the script.
Despite going up to level 5, there are no documented records of any level 5 colosseums, only rumors.
"The Wolf" is a title bestowed upon the most excellent student at the Finishing School. He excels in all the various forms of instruction at the academy and shows a special acumen for his focus. The Wolf is a title that doesn’t change lightly. Often the only way the title changes is by the death or graduation of the previous Wolf. If by death, then for the title to be awarded, the new Wolf will have had to either kill the previous Wolf or in some manner spectacularly succeed at whatever the previous Wolf had failed at. Because of the ambiguity of what spectacular success might actually entail, the title is often passed on via the school's form of lupicide. The Wolf is set apart by the stitching on his uniform, an LED inset that turns a neon red upon reception of the title. Regular students' stitching is acid green.
- Early-Branching Story Routes: The game will branch early depending on whose route you are on and veer wildly into different stories.
- Unlockable True Ending: While any of the routes are valid (for in-game reasons), by attaining the good end for each of the six romance characters and the no romance ending (which is not the same as the bad endings for any of the romance characters) the player can unlock the true ending.
- Hacking Minigame: Throughout the game, the player is presented with opportunities to play a hacking game. Sometimes these games are story-centric and unlock important narrative content for story progression, and other times it allows them to unlock entries in the encyclopedia or data caches that contain story background information.
- Encyclopedia: In-game encyclopedia that can be unlocked through story-centric choices and optionally through the hacking mini-game. The encyclopedia will contain world-building information including information on different countries, current and past political figures, and world events and disasters.
- School Directory: Available in the in-game menu will also be a list of characters with notes that Ven has discovered about them. These sections will grow as he learns more about them.
- Free Time Sessions: "Free time" sessions occur within the story where the player gets to pick where Ven goes, what he does, and who he sees. This will help to pad specific stats if a player is trying to get a certain ending.
- Bonus Chapters: By completing chapters and obtaining certain endings, the player unlocks bonus chapters that go into the back stories of some of the minor characters. These episodes need to be unlocked by hacking them. The opportunity to hack them opens up once they've been unlocked in the story.
- Ending List and Flow Chart Functionality: Once a player has obtained a Good End, the flowchart and ending lists will unlock, allowing the player to skip to specific story branches as replay parts.
- CG Gallery
Routes and Endings
There will be seven main routes, one for each of the six romance options, and one for where the main character chooses not to pursue a relationship with anyone. The routes are divided into three passive routes (Ven is pursued by three of the romantic options) and three active routes (Ven must pursue the other three romance options). Each route has a Bad, Okay, and Good Ending. Additionally, there are a number of Bad Ends scattered through the game at various points, some being immediate Bad Endings and some being less obvious.
Ven [Protagonist] : Class 46
Ven is a quiet and reserved young man who looks to be in his late 20s. He is private and hidden, and has trouble describing his feelings to people. He suffers from intense anxiety by being at the Finishing School. He feels strongly that he doesn’t belong there and rejects his place there. The feeling of not belonging on an existential level causes him great anxiety. He uses a tuning fork to relax.
Arco [Love Interest] : Class 46
Arco is the first person that Ven meets at the Finishing School and becomes very close with him. Arco is deeply motivated to escape the Finishing School and return to his previous life, which, despite not remembering, he holds very dear to himself. Arco is a natural leader who assembles a group of other students in their class to plot their escape. When those around him lose faith in their pursuits, he is the first person to lend a kind word. He is decisive, moral, and can be controlling at times. Arco can become passive-aggressive at what he views to be people making mistakes because he has such a strong sense of moral righteousness. Arco is a sociable man who has a hard time hiding his emotions. He appears to be in his mid-to-late 20s.
Dane / The Wolf [Love Interest] : Class 45
Dane is "The Wolf" of the Finishing School. In order to win the title, he completed the challenge that killed the last Wolf. Dane is one class ahead Ven and has more familiarity with the school. When Dane catches Ven sneaking out at night, an offense that is punishable by death, he rescues him from danger instead of turning him in. Dane is a serious and quiet man who looks to be in his late twenties. Dane is someone who likes solving puzzles and figuring things out. A part of his attraction to Ven is figuring out what Ven is up to. Dane can at times become depressed over his situation because he has a hard time reconciling his respect for authority with what he's being trained to do.
Ford [Love Interest] : Class 45
Ford is a class ahead of Ven and develops a fixation on the new student. While Ford is outgoing and social, there's something unnerving about the way he appears around Ven when Ven least expects it. Ford looks at Ven with a deep, piercing gaze that lingers too long for Ven's comfort, but Ford has also saved Ven from quite a few messy situations. As Ven and Ford spend more time together, they quickly grow a familiarity that Ven has trouble developing with many of the other students at the Finishing School. Ford is attracted to strange things and tangents. He is impulsive, energetic, and some might go as far as to say he's dangerous. Ford looks to be in his earliest 30s. Because of the intense relationship he has with Ven, Ford can become paranoid about other people who he deems as a threat to the relationship he has with Ven.
Lennox [Love Interest] : Class 44
Lennox is an older student at the Finishing School, not just in terms of being two classes ahead of Ven, but also because of his age of an apparent mid 30's. He has an intensely, forcefully quiet demeanor, and is incredibly intuitive about people. A private, individualistic person, he values solitude and doesn't like crowds. Lennox displays an incredible level of intellectual acceptance to the lot he's been given with appearing at the Finishing School. While there's an emotional rejection to the role he must play, he embraces the misfortune in a positive way and differentiates himself from the work he one day will be doing by focusing on the long-term good he can do. Lennox has spent a long time dissociating himself from the situation he's in and as a result, he pulls away quickly when he senses he might get hurt.
Set [Love Interest] : Class 45
Set is a formidable upperclassman whose close-combat skills are a wonder to behold. Looking to be in his late twenties, Set is snarky to a fault if he even bothers to acknowledge anyone at all. When Ven first spars with him in his close-combat sessions, Set assists Ven in learning the ropes and will check in occasionally to see how he's doing. At other times, Set will completely ignore Ven as if he weren't there at all. Set is incredibly secretive and often isn't present at meals or larger inter-class functions. Eventually when Ven's curiosity is piqued, he sets out to find where Set is sneaking off to because he wants to know where someone can even go to disappear in the constantly-monitored Finishing School. Set's usual 180-degree behavior comes across as very bipolar to Ven.
Ion [Love Interest] : Class 44
Ion excels in showing people who's boss. As someone who takes to his new life like a fish takes to water, Ion is assertive and outspoken about his skills and more than willing to prove he's better than everyone else. He's deeply frustrated that Dane was declared the new Wolf after his predecessor's death, believing that the only reason he wasn't chosen was because he wasn't in the Colosseum at the time. Plotting ways to become the Wolf is one of his favorite pastimes. He's built a small gang out of some of the more rough-and-tumble of the cadets and is generally someone everyone avoids. Despite being in the same class as Lennox and being roughly the same age of mid-thirties, they couldn't get along less. Ion has a sadistic streak that can exhibit itself as affectionate or downright dangerous depending on how he feels about you.
Elias [Side Character] : Class 46
One of Ven's classmates, Elias is a man in his early-twenties who looks even younger and seems like an unlikely candidate for a school of assassins and mercenaries. He's inducted into Arco's group of attempted escapees and Ven feels a certain brotherly protectiveness for him.
Uriel [Side Character] : Class 46
Uriel is a pacifist who attempts to navigate the Finishing School with an increasingly shaky grip on his moral high ground. He sees everything from a human angle and wants to not just escape the Finishing School, but put an end to it as well. He's a part of Arco and Ven's group of cohorts.
Vitaly [Side Character] : Class 46
A frail, feminine man who quickly falls behind the others in terms of his Finishing School classes. For some reason, he remains at the institute and is not often included in Colosseums. He displays a preternatural ability to know someone's true intentions and even their actions just moments before they can act on them. He gravitates toward Ven and Arco and wants to leave the school as well. In a relationship with Roscoe.
Roscoe [Side Character] : Class 46
A classmate of Ven's, Roscoe is brash and assertive of his opinions. He's a risk taker and rule breaker who delights in the new opportunities the Finishing School offers him. He dislikes Ven and Arco for what he sees as self-righteousness. Despite that, he's deeply protective of Vitaly, whom he is in a relationship with. He falls into Ion's gang but doesn't actively antagonize Ven for Vitaly's sake.
Cash [Side Character] : Class 44
A member of Ion's gang and Ion's closest friend at the Finishing School. People-oriented and fun-loving, Cash is good at getting others to have fun. He's often the foil to Ion's more audacious plans and is usually the only person who can calm him down when he gets angry. Doesn't have any feelings about Ven or the Finishing School one way or another, but will usually do whatever for the laughs.
Samson [Side Character] : Class 45
A member of Ion's gang. Was once close to Dane, and dislikes how Ion is targeting Dane despite the fact that they no longer communicate with each other. Despite his friends, he's actually a very idealistic person, interested in serving humanity. He sees the Finishing School as a way to make the world a better place by doing what normal people can't or won't do.
Durant [Side Character] : Class 45
A friend of Dane's. Warm-hearted and popular, Durant tries to make sure everyone has the support they need at the Finishing School. He values religion and became a religious practitioner despite having no memory of his previous affiliations. Is one of the few cadets that uses the on-campus church.
Questions for me
- When? I want to have a working demo of the 1st arc complete with art and music ready to share by Feb 2, 2017. [[UPDATE: Obviously, this date has come and gone. KTW is still in progress, but has been back-burner'd for a bit.]]
- System? I'm developing in Ren'Py so it should be available on Mac, Windows, and Linux. The Mac version will definitely be the most tested, since that's my personal platform, but I'm working to make it happen on all three.
- Cost? Because of the scale of the project and the level of polish I want to put into it, I want this to be a commercial project. Cost will be determined when it's ready to ship.
- Can you actually do this? As you can tell just by the list of characters, this is an ambitious project. However, it's a project I've been working on for a few years and a number of changes in my life have precipitated a stronger desire to finally bring it to life. While I don't know if I can stick to this schedule, I'm going to try my best.
Questions for you
- What piques your interest?
- What makes you yawn or roll your eyes?
- Who sounds interesting?
- Who sounds dull?
- What are you hoping this will be?
- What are you hoping this will not be?
- What are your gut reactions?