Interview: BTS-Inspired Visual Novel Creators, Aeon Dream Studios
Calling all ARMYs! Have you heard about the upcoming BTS-inspired visual novel? In case you missed it when its first demo launched back in March 2017, Aeon Dream Studios, the indie team behind the title, has released a full, updated demo for To The Edge of the Sky! Though not slated for release until Spring 2018, you can download and play the full demo for free.
The Kraze had the opportunity to catch up with the Aeon Dream Studios team for an interview about their first K-Pop-inspired project. Check out part one of our interview below.
Q: Tell us a bit about your company, Aeon Dream Studios. Do you have any other projects going on?
Ajané J.K. Celestin (CEO): We’re three people at the core, meaning three people are only really officially in Aeon Dream Studios. We’re all in different countries with different native languages, but we work really well together. We have one other project to finish, and one that we’ve already finished but hasn’t been released yet. Mystic Destinies: Echoes is a spin-off of our first game that we are developing and releasing ahead of To the Edge of the Sky and is an urban fantasy.
Q: How did your company start? What would you like to work towards in the future?
Ajané: Back in 2015, Egle and I were both really into romance visual novels, and we met through that on Tumblr. Later, we started writing together and I said, “How about we try making a visual novel?” So, without really knowing what we were doing or what we were getting into, we went to Kickstarter and began Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons, which we developed over the course of two years. We didn’t get paid for most of that time either, so it’s been a difficult road.
For the future, my first thought is that I hope we can develop the full To the Edge of the Sky game. But we need our FundRazr campaign to be successful for that to happen. Beyond that, we have a big dream. Since Namjoon is also a creative writer and the one who seems to have the most involvement in BTS concepts, we thought it’d be great to get his input on the game’s story. Even if we just spoke 20 minutes on the phone, we thought that it’d make for a more authentic experience for ARMY. Other than that, what I’d like to work towards is becoming known as standard for English visual novels. My dream is that people will get excited when they hear about a new release from us, and know they can count on an amazing game.
Eglė Dilyte (Lead Creative Writer): How we started is actually a pretty fun story. As Ajané mentioned, she and I started writing together, though at the time it was only fanfiction. As we wrote more and more fanfiction and we discussed more of our ideas, we realized that we wanted to do something bigger than just fanfiction. We wanted to create a visual novel, but at first we didn’t have an artist so we settled for creating something like a visual novel with just writing. I remember we got so excited about working on something like that, we barely slept for a month straight just planning every little detail. The story itself involved host clubs, mafia, and a girl just trying her best to succeed so she doesn’t have to do something she doesn’t want.
We want to do so much in the future; there’s always ideas to be had and things to be made. There are many things we want to create and becoming an established developer would truly be a dream come true! Though it seems like a given for any kind of artist, but we want to continue to evolve and grow, both as artists and as people.
Marta Fernandes (Art Director): Having only joined ADS and the game development world two months ago, I feel like I still have a lot to learn. Personally I’m looking forward to growing alongside the rest of the team and becoming an Art Director they can be proud of as well as see our artwork evolve and all of the amazing visuals we’ll come up with in the future!
I hope we can be ambitious and keep aiming to give it our best and improve with every new release. Like Ajané mentioned, being an established developer within the genre would be a dream come true, we’ll work hard for it!
Q: How do you go about a project like this with a small staff?
Ajané: Really carefully, with contractors assisting us, and with a lot of hard work. We pretty much work seven days a week. Any small company will probably relate, but we also have several roles each, with me having the most variety of roles. One of mine is project management. If I don’t do my job well enough, then we won’t be able to complete the project. It’s really important that I always keep everyone moving. We heard that in the early days BigHit Entertainment staff had to appear in BTS’s music videos because of a lack of funding. We can relate! If a contractor fails at a job or we don’t have the funds, then we have to pick up the slack ourselves.
Eglė: With a lot of internal screaming. Okay, I’m kidding, half-kidding anyway. It takes a lot of hard work and determination, and a lot of stubbornness too. You have to be really stubborn to not give up when things get hard. We like to joke about being “ride or die” but it really is the truth. Besides that, we support each other a lot. Beyond just work, we consider ourselves to be sisters and if you saw any of our group chats, you’d see that most of it is just a lot of love, respect and support for each other.
Marta: With an open mind and great consideration and respect for our teammates. Things can get pretty busy and pretty stressful...pretty quickly! Since it’s mainly just the three of us, it’s important that we’re aware of our limitations and that we put ourselves in each other’s shoes whenever things get complicated. We have to be able to adapt to any kind of situation in order to ensure that at the end of the day, the work is done and everyone’s happy with it, so it’s important that we respect and help each other out as much as possible. Clear communication, support and encouragement reinforced by a “work hard, hang in, hold on” mentality, is how we do it.
Q: Are your team members into anything else in the K-Pop or K-Entertainment world? What are some favorites?
Ajané: I’d say my favorite genre with K-music is R&B, especially the underground artists and really, anyone who has a unique sound. The only other idol group I’m into other than BTS is GOT7, but my favorite K-artists are soloists like Eric Nam, HEIZE, Crush, Yerin Baek, and Zion T. I also love Day6—everything they release is great!
Eglė: I’m actually more into rock, so there’s not that many K-Pop groups that really get my attention. I absolutely love Day6; Ajané introduced me to them after seeing them at KCON. Besides that I love K-Dramas, but I haven’t really had the time to indulge lately. My favorite one is Faith! Out of the more recent ones I’ve been loving Goblin, though I still need to finish watching it.
Check back tomorrow for part two of the interview, where we get more details on To The Edge of the Sky and the team’s planning process! The team also released their fundraiser campaign just a few days ago, and they’ve already raised over $5,000! Various fundraising tiers are available (some with awesome perks like merch, custom artwork, and digital soundtracks), and every donation no matter how large or small will go towards making the full version of this game happen.
Banner image from Aeon Dream Studios, used with permission.