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Can love bloom on the debate stage?
You are Mori America, a Japanese transfer student entering Grand Old Academy, a prestigious private high school in the United States. You arrive just in time to watch the first round of the debate club championship, the most anticipated and important event of the school year. As you start to befriend seven of the debaters, you realize that there may be more to them than what they show on the stage… and that they’re all eligible bachelors.
As the field of competitors narrows, the tension rises and conflicts begin to boil over. Loyalties will be tested, friendships shattered, and alliances dissolved. But throughout the chaos, one thing remains steadfast as a constant beacon of hope: teen romance.
Grand Old Academy is a Japanese-style visual novel/dating sim inspired by contemporary American politics. Its tone is satirical, but lighthearted: it is a story about romance, friendship, and competition, not actual political issues. The only major difference from other visual novels is that all of the actors in this story happen to be politicians. Think “Hatoful Boyfriend,” but instead of pigeons, it’s Republicans.
The final game will be completely free! But first, we need to raise money to pay for the assets. That's where this Kickstarter comes in.
-7 romanceable characters
-25 unique endings (3 for each character, 3 secret ends, 1 true end)
-beautiful sprite and background art
-20 pieces of fully illustrated CG art
-a humorous and topical script
-gameflow optimized for repeat playthroughs
It’s you! Mori America is a new transfer student from Japan, just trying to fit in and make friends at Grand Old Academy. She starts out shy and worried what others will think of her, but once she succeeds in her struggle to overcome her anxiety, she reveals just how strong-willed and compassionate she is. Unbeknownst to her, her first day at the school coincides with the first round of the debate club championships. Depending on the choices she makes, she might even engage one lucky debate club member in the greatest debate of all: love.
Megyn is your bubbly and mercurial roommate. She’s almost always cheerful and optimistic, but she can flash to anger or indignation and back at the drop of a hat. Megyn is one of the moderators of the school debates, and she takes them extremely seriously. The way she sees it, Donald has made a mockery of this year’s debates, and she has a real bone to pick with him.
Jeb is caring and generous, quick to open himself up to other people, but also quick to be hurt by them, making him an easy target for bullies. He comes from a prominent family with a long history at the Academy, and the pressure of living up to their reputation weighs on him. Jeb has many acquaintances, but few close friends other than Marco, his protégée and closest confidant. While he may be a bit oblivious and bumbling, he has a kind heart.
Ben is a pre-med student who is warm and gentle above all else. He speaks slowly and softly, and always seems like he’s on the verge of falling asleep. Ben is deeply religious, and sees almost everything through the prism of his faith, which gives him strength, but also leaves him with blind spots. His mild-mannered nature makes him seem out of place on the debate stage, especially in this year of extreme personalities.
Marco is the heartthrob of the Academy. He has a dazzling smile, perfect hair, and a witty quip prepared for every situation. He’s young, popular, and ambitious. If anything, Marco is too perfect. If you dig underneath the memorized soundbites and smiles, there’s not much substance there. Dig even further, though, and you’ll find an earnest person who wants to make a difference, and who thinks that the only way to do that is by faking this glittery personality.
Rand is quiet and serious, bordering on dour. He’s a nerd who takes his studies seriously (well, even more seriously than he takes everything else), and he doesn’t have many friends. Rand is a very private person, and doesn’t reveal much about himself without significant prying. Those who look through the Academy yearbooks may find that his father was also a debate club member back in the day, although Rand doesn’t volunteer this information. Despite Rand’s usually reserved nature, he’s passionate about politics, and this intensity shines through when he has an attentive audience.
There’s something innately creepy and offputting about Ted. Nobody else at the Academy seems to like him, probably for good reason. Ted comes across as slimy and deceitful; he’ll try to win your sympathy by acting pathetic one moment, and then double cross you the next moment if it’ll benefit him. Whenever he tries to smile, it almost looks more like he’s grimacing in pain. It seems like he’s hiding something, deep, deep inside himself. Is it a heart of gold, or a terrible secret?
John is blandness incarnate. He’s utterly forgettable, average in the worst way. The very definition of “literally who?”. His persona is folksy and congenial: lots of dad jokes, and phrases like “golly,” “shucks,” and “gee whiz.” But rumor has it that this might just be an act that he’s putting on to charm the debate audience. The only real reason people vote for him in the debates is if they absolutely can’t stand anyone else on the stage.
Donald is a mystery. Nobody can figure out whether he’s a fool, or a mastermind disguising himself as a fool. Many of the students seem drawn to him, but just as many are repulsed by him. He’s almost a force of nature more than a person. How much of Donald’s debate persona is an act, and how much is genuine? Does he really want to win, or is this all just a game to him? Is he brilliant? A fraud? Or a brilliant fraud?
Grand Old Academy is being produced by a collaboration of ten talented and experienced artists. Collectively, we span five countries in three continents, and have worked on dozens of visual novels. Full credits and bios are included in the demo game, but below are some samples from the primary artists and musicians:
Adyrn is a character artist who specializes in visual novels. Some previous projects include A Wild Catgirl Appears, This World Unknown, and Undead Lily.
Badriel is a background artist for visual novels. Previous projects include Knifepoint Horror, Coming Out on Top, Asagao Academy, Sakura Spirit, and many more.
CGs: Redd Art
Redd is a CG, sprite, and background artist. They have worked on several visual novels, including titles by Michaela Law and HentaiWriter.
Calypso is a musician with 4 years of experience in composing music, and has written well over 100 songs for visual novels. Previous titles worked on include Reflections: Dreams and Reality, Starlight, and Candlelight.
Alyx is a self-taught pianist with 7 years of experience who specializes in visual novels. He has previously worked on projects including Empty Horizons, Caramel Mokaccino, and The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns.
Video and Intro Animation: Third Anchor Productions
Third Anchor Productions is a creative video company specializing in music video, corporate, kickstarter, and comedy shorts.
New stretch goals will be added if necessary!
$2350 for sprites (17.5%)
$3000 for backgrounds (22%)
$4200 for cgs (31%)
$1000 for music (7.5%)
$500 for writing and programming (4%)
$1100 for rewards (8%)
$1350 for fees (10%)
Risks and challenges
While our art and music team is made out of visual novel veterans, this is the first vn for our writer and programmer. With that in mind, our planned release date may be a bit optimistic.
Also, while making a game that is influenced by real-life events, there's always the risk that something may go awry in real life which would necessitate changes to the script. If anything too major happens, it could delay the final product while tweaks are made.
- (29 days)