Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
* Protag is a thief in a low fantasy genre adventurer group. They have to be subtle about their intentions, and they need dexterity in order to survive traps.
* Protag is the medic on a modern day team. They need survival and teamwork skills.
* Protag is a brave member of a paranormal investigation squad. They might not like facing the unknown, but they can outwit / defeat foes. (The first things can come to mind are the Scooby-Doo team and the '80s Ghostbusters.)
An interesting angle for an otome game: "The protagonist starts as the first girl of a male action team, and then avoids becoming a territorial smurfette." At some point in the story, another girl joins the group. However, the protag decides not to become jealous or hostile of her. She believes that the group will survive if they can be friends, or perhaps friendly rivals.
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Basically its a conflict between 2 time-traveler teams. First one prevents the time from being altered and believes what will happen is bound to happen. The second group (and the one with the protagonists) are committed to change certain events from the story so great tragedies and wars would be avoided. The first part of the story will narrate that conflict... however, a bigger menace appears and both sides needs to join to defend time (time-eaters? I don't really know)
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1. You are a girl who dates cute girls who all represent different kinds of lolita fashion
2. You are a girl who dates cute girls who are all based off of important philosophers
3. You are a girl who dates cute girls who all represent different genres of fiction
And on and on like that.
Maybe when I'm done making games with actual substance I'll create an imprint called sappho+ or honey+ or something that releases nothing but stupid gimmicky yuri games. It'll be like retirement, but better.
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"Is stat-building beneficial?" Give the protagonist at least a few statistics (intelligence, art, strength, social skills...) and then let the player shape the protag through stat-building. This will determine what sort of person the protagonist will be. Now... is this a good thing? Maybe it is, if the protag is using their time to become a more complete, refined person. Or maybe it isn't, if the protagonist *only* intends to attract a love interest by becoming smarter or more artistic.
I think it's good to consider whether your story stands on the "entertainment versus educational" spectrum. There are many published works of fiction which exist in the middle ground between escapist fun and a stark reflection on events. There are also many examples of stories which convey a message, while making the world relatively entertaining, and not downbeat all the time.
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There's Asphyxia which kind of does this. In case you're interested in reading something like this
I came up with the following:
Maybe include some choices which lead to one of these endings: you ally with your friend, they get caught by the police, they kill you, you survive the attempted murder but they manage to flee.You befriend a classmate in college (or high school, or a co-worker) who is very nice and calm. The first time you go to their house you notice they are collecting a lot of dolls. They tell you they are making them themselves. It turns out they kill people to get their hair (and maybe clothes or eyelashes) to make the dolls. When they notice you know more than you should, they attempt to kill you too.
* The characters are isolated in an emergency situation. But wait, they have mobile phones! However, their batteries are running low. They can only justify calling two or three times. Also, after a few hours, the batteries will run out of power.
* The protagonist has a supernatural power, but it has a major drawback. Such as a magician who can use a fireball spell, but it only works once per day. Their ability recharges after several hours of sleep.
* The antagonist knows what they're doing, and won't just wait for the heroes to show up. Like Ozymandias from Watchmen, they can say that their plan was activated thirty-five minutes ago, and they aren't bluffing.
* The protagonist has only a few hours or days in which they interact with people. For instance, they meet someone during a vacation or summer camp, and know that they'll part ways rather soon. Of course they can talk afterwards. However, they want to become friends with a person, and their time meeting face-to-face is limited.
* Reading about the recent OJLVN Making Lovers reminded me of things which I like. One of them is a male protagonist whose friends and family want him to find a significant other soon. Another thing which I don't often see in boy x girl stories is a short common route -- quickly transitioning from "several characters meeting each other" to "two characters committing to their relationship." (Incidentally, it sounds like this VN provides justifications for why the heroines are single.)
One possibility: even though the dollmaker is doing horrible things, they have a motivation which makes sense. (They believe that magic will let them revive a dead family member, but they need fifty sacrifices.) When the protagonist learns about the dollmaker's motive, they can choose to side with them, or continue to oppose them.
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