Canberra's Dimitri Adoniou wanted something more from in game relationships with non player characters.
The fact that all character progression was at the hands or influence of the main player character just didn't feel real and that's what inspired the creation of LoveSick Darlings.
“I decided to make this game specifically because of my frustrations and questions about how video games handle relationships as a whole," said Adoniou.
"Games like Mass Effect and Fire Emblem have so much emphasis on relationships but they never give characters who aren't the player character agency in those relationships.”
LoveSick Darlings is set it in Australian high school, and draws influence from Adoniou's own personal experiences and that of his friends and peers at a small suburban high school.
"It's about grounding it in those authentic suburban experiences, at one point the characters have a party and have a long conversation about a Woolies mudcake, and it's just putting those little things in there because I don't want to have the dialogue be like "crikey' and "mate" all the time because that wasn't my experience."
“It’s a game about relationships and growing relationships and how player choices can affect characters in diverse ways. So if you’re into stories and getting to know character, that's what LoveSick Darlings is all about.”
The project which been successfully funded on Kickstarter is the first game for Adoniou who comes from a writing background.
“I was just looking for writing projects around the place, mostly working in screen writing professionally and I was talking to some friends and they were telling me that visual novels are quite easy to develop and even someone like me with a non programming or game development background could bring my script writing skills into it.”
“[LoveSick Darlings] originally was very much a side project that I was doing for fun, but after a positive reception when I uploaded it online I shifted my priorities and thought I want to make this the best it can be and get it out there.”
The project has just reached its first stretch goal and will featuring partial voice acting by Australian voice actors Aimee Smith, Emily Goeman, Sarah Kennedy and Alec Shea who play Maisy, Jayda, Steph and Syd respectively.
You can play a demo of the game on Itch by clicking the link below, or check out the crowdfunding campaign which finishes on the 2nd of January and is scheduled for a late 2020 release. LoveSick Darlings on Kickstarter.