Lunaris Games is an indie studio based in the UK that creates heavily narrative driven games. With a diverse team, and equally diverse characters, you’ll be sure to find an immersive and enthralling world to spend a few hours in. Lunaris Games is currently working on a few projects including, When the Night Comes: The Revamp, Call me Under, and Errant Kingdom. You can download all of their available games on Itch.io or Steam.
We sat down with the director and Co-Founder of Lunaris Games, Kris Wise, to talk about their journey developing games and what fans of their work can look forward to in the future.
Lunaris Games was founded in 2018. What inspired you to begin making games?
There were just three of us to begin with, myself and two artists, and we’d been playing a few VN’s and honestly just wanted to have a go at making our own. We really wanted to see more of ourselves in the characters in these games, and while it began as a hobby project when we launched our blog and then released the first chapter of When The Night Comes (back in October 2018), we saw that there were a lot of other people out there who wanted what we were putting out. It all kind of spiraled from there and here we are!
What is it like working with a team of creatives as opposed to by oneself?
I definitely don’t miss the days when there were just three of us, and having a team of such incredible talent on our side is truly an honor. We started expanding in early 2019 as soon as we were able to, starting with my amazing co-writer Khanh, and then we picked up a handful of incredible artists who are still with us to this day. We’re very much a close-knit team, we get on incredibly well, and ultimately the best thing about us is that we respect each other and all want the same thing, which is to make queer games. We recently also hired an amazing bunch of writers to join us on our fourth project so I’m incredibly excited to continue expanding and to put out more ambitious content.
What has been the most rewarding part of developing games?
Watching people enjoy our games and fall in love with our characters is definitely the most rewarding, especially when people can see themselves in our cast or relate to parts of their stories.
Lunaris Games has had a few successful Kickstarters under their belts. Can you tell us a bit about what goes into prepping a KS specifically for VNs? What would you tell indie devs who are interested in launching their own crowdfunding campaigns?
I have a background in Marketing so I definitely had a bit of an advantage heading into our first Kickstarter, but really nothing can truly prepare you for the stress of any campaign when you’re making something you’re really passionate about. I would say to prepare as far in advance as you can and make sure you have plenty of fresh content to keep people interested for the length of the campaign. Building a following beforehand is also super important, I think, so especially if you’re a new studio try and get your social sites up and running a few months in advance to build some momentum and to find people who believe in you and what you’re putting out. I’ve seen so many diverse indie games made by diverse teams get funded over the last two years so I think there’s definitely a huge desire for these games right now.
Do you have any advice to share with people who are already developing VNs, or may want to start developing VNs?
Don’t rush and get a good team behind you that you trust. Teamwork really does make the dream work, so if you find people you can communicate with and work well with, I feel like that’s the ultimate starting point. There’s a lot of pressure on indie developers these days, especially where we’re so easily accessible. Don’t let the pressure get to you, be kind to yourself, and just make something you genuinely care about. People can sense when something is earnest.
You’re currently reworking an old game-When the Night Comes. What inspired the revamp? What things are you adding/changing?
We started making When The Night Comes with little to no money, and we released it over the course of a year for free. We also had no knowledge of how to make a VN! The game is so well-loved by our supporters and ourselves, so we really just wanted to revisit it and see where we could improve it using the knowledge we now have after making more titles. We haven’t made any huge changes to the story apart from generally just tidying it up, because it’s safe to say our writing has changed and improved over the last three years. We’ve given it an overall polish with new UI, updated artwork, codex entries etc. We also hope to release it on consoles towards the end of the year or leading into 2022.
Do you have any information you’d like to share with our readers about upcoming projects?
This year has been rough for everyone, so we’ve definitely had a hard time sticking to our initial development schedules, but that’s okay! We’re super hard at work on finishing up Errant Kingdom, and we’re also of course making Call Me Under. Call Me Under is such an exciting project to work on and we really, really can’t wait for people to play it. It’s coming together so beautifully and the CMU team are absolutely killing it. We’ve also been teasing something we’ll be working on in 2022, a visual novel x rogue-lite hybrid called In The Blood, which will have our first set protagonists, Dracula, and a host of gorgeous queer characters (mostly vampires). It’s a pretty ambitious project for us so it’s definitely a long way off, but we have some mini-projects we’ll probably work on once this year’s titles are done and dusted, so please look forward to Lunaris Games content in 2022!