1) What is "Sam in New York"?
"Sam in New York" is a free-to-play visual novel (including story-integrated mini-games such as dungeons, battles, and card games) for mobile phones set in the bustling metropolis of New York City during the 1920s.
You play Sam "Ramey" Abramov, a rambunctious young man torn between his parents' desire for him to be a professional and his own love for the stage.
By turns hilarious, heart-wrenching and haunting, "Sam in New York" gives you the chance to write (and re-write) his story, identity, and relationships.
There are at least 3 endings to this story and 3 major love interests you can choose from.
We plan for "Sam in New York" to be released in late 2020 (as of December 2019), but this is in no way a definitive release date.
2) Who or What is Fortunus Games?
Fortunus Games is a small independent game developer located primarily in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but with connections worldwide, particularly in the Far East.
We aim to make thought-provoking interactive games, particularly visual novels. Our visual novels will be released as iPhone and Android apps.
Our current project is "Sam in New York," a visual novel taking place in 1920s New York.
3) Where did you get the inspiration to create "Sam in New York"?
We at Fortunus Games have always been interested in the story-telling methods of visual novels, experimental games (such as Journey and Dear Esther) and role-playing games (such as Valkyrie Profile). In late 2018, we decided that we wanted to try to create a visual novel. Many of us had wanted to create visual novels since high school, but never had the fortitude nor the time to finish them.
"Now that we are all adults," we thought, "We should give creating visual novels a shot again and see if we are successful this time around."
Another source of inspiration has been slice-of-life Japanese manga such as Oyasumi Punpun and Dead Dead Demon's De De De De Destruction, in which character interactions rather than external forces drive the story forward. This story-telling technique often makes characters more memorable and relatable, particularly in a game like "Sam in New York," where every choice (made by you, the player) can radically alter the story and/or Sam's relationship with his parents, peers, friends, and enemies.
4) What has been the most challenging part of creating "Sam in New York"?
Founder: I would say the most challenging part has been the creation of art assets and the storyline itself, rather than any of the coding. We use Ren'py and there are so many Ren'py tutorials out there, so it is actually not that difficult to learn how to code the scenes we want to create.
The problem with creating art assets is what looks good in February, for instance, may not look so good to us in December due to our tastes and expectations changing as the story and characters develop. As such, we sometimes have to go back and re-create assets from scratch, which can be quite frustrating!
Similarly, our tastes and expectations re: the storyline have changed since the beginning of 2019, when we embarked on this project. The characters and themes have tripled in complexity since we started thinking about them in January. Accordingly, there is a lot of stuff we need to fix in our existing script, as well as a lot of scenarios we have not even begun to start brainstorming about!