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Somnova Studios Dev Interviews: Kuroe Interview

Hello everyone, hope you’re all doing well and oh boy do we have a special blog post for you today. As promised, we have an interview with Kuroe, the writer for Natalya’s route who was kind enough to take the time to be interviewed.

Regarding how people find out about Missing Stars, it's incredibly common that people hear about it in some way because of Katawa Shoujo. Would you say that was the case for you? What lead you to joining the Missing Stars team?

It was indeed my gateway! KS was such a unique experience so I wanted more after that. I binged through fanfics and other stuff (Sisterhood being an obvious one) and delved for more of that KS goodness until I stumbled on the TV Tropes page for Missing Stars. I saw that it was still in development, so being an impatient bastard I thought "If they aren't releasing it soon, I need to help do it myself.” So I applied as an artist. Now I'm writing the Natalya route. 

So you say you applied to be an artist for Somnova but ended up being Natalya's writer. How the hell did that happen? 

At the time I sent Morthiasik some samples of my art, but with Morth's exacting quality standards he politely shot my application down, but at the very least they let me draw the Halloween art (which is why I've made it a point to draw a piece for the occasion for each year afterward). The good(?) thing was that around the time I appeared on the Discord the previous Nat writer just quit, so voila! There's suddenly an opening for a writer position. The old Katja writer and Swampie immediately got in touch with me and offered the position, most likely because they wanted a quick replacement and I was the only one nagging them for a post on the team. I'm really hoping I don't mess up because that's some massive trust to put in someone who just sent in an amateurish story and equally amateurish art pieces. However, I'm really thankful to be able to work with the MS writers, I've really learned a lot from them throughout the years. I can't believe it's nearly 3 years!

Trust me when I say you're doing a great job so far and there is no shortage of resources for help when you're struggling 

Thanks! That's one of the good things with the other Somnova peeps!

So prior to being Natalya's writer, how much experience with writing did you have? How did you react when you were asked to write her route?

Before Natalya, all my writing experience is from my work as an editor for our school publication. I was Editor-in-Chief for our school paper in elementary and high school and now Managing Editor at uni. I also won some regional and national level writing contests at home. However, a whole route with presumably over a million words is a completely different beast. As to my reaction, it was a mixture of excitement and fear. I'm tackling a medium I've never used before, a genre I've never worked with before. The sheer scale is mind-boggling tbh. But I love the story world, I love what it aims to be, I love the characters in it so I was really pumped and am still highly motivated.
I guess the biggest challenge is that English is my second language and I may screw up with some of the linguistic nuances since I didn't grow up familiar with the cultural context surrounding it.

What impact has Somnova, and separately writing, have on your life?

I think I'd like to separate my life so far between two parts, which is pre- and post-Somnova. Just before taking up art and writing again for MS, I was in one of my life's darkest bits, and I really didn't know what to do with my skills and life in general. However, after joining Somnova I was able to get back the passion I lost and grew more confident in my art, even though I've still got a long way to go. When Morth first gave critique on my art I took some time to digest his feedback and pushed myself to work on my weaker points so my art was able to evolve even just a little. If you look at my art before and after October 2016 you may be able to see a drastic difference. 

Now, with Missing Stars Act 1 around the corner (Halp) How excited for that are you? What are you most looking forward to showing off?

I'm as excited as any other team member! I want to see how people will react to the story, and what choices they will make. I have a lot of stuff that I want to show off to them, like the scene where you can kick Irene off the roof
Art is awesome, the music is awesome, my route is (hopefully) decent, there's no shortage of stuff I'd like to talk about if I had the liberty!

If you had to pick one thing for fans to take away from Missing Stars, what would that be?

That Natalya is best girl and all other opinions are wrong. Just kidding. Obviously I don't want to make a grand statement about stuff like breaking new ground in mental health advocacy or raising awareness. In the end this is just a simple visual novel game. However, what I do want them to know is that we all have a role to play in that greater struggle. Even now there's still a Bosworth-sized stigma on mental disorders and the people that live with them, and in removing that we need to do everything in our power in our own way. Even if it's just a fun little VN, if we are able to make them realize that much, then all the years we spent on this game will be so, so worth it.

And finally…….Why all the hate with Best Girl Irene? 

Because Irene is a dumb dumb shit gremlin who is not cute