I’ve now officially started working on I’m Not Your Hero, but did you know that this story was an idea that’s been stewing in my head for the past 17 years?
I’m Not Your Hero (as it’s now known as) started life back when I was in university. I was doing a class about interactive digital media, and one of the class projects was to conceptualize and pitch a game.
This was 2002. Back then, I was playing the newly released Neverwinter Nights. Teen movies like American Pie, Can’t Hardly Wait, and the parody Not Another Teen Movie were all the rage. My post-teen bookshelf was full of Dragonlance and Battletech novels. I myself was still a student, transitioning from teenhood to whatever is next.
I thought the most awesome thing to do would be to merge high fantasy with teen movie coming-of-age cliches. How cool would it be to have students greet each other with “Well met!” and address the popular kids as “My liege”?
So I went off to put together a pitch for 7-teen, a high school RPG where you have to unite the 5 great houses of the school (completely mirroring the political dynamics of Battletech) against a demon cult. Because RPGs always have to pit you against a growing evil.
My focus was on the politics of the school. I thought a highly stylized and unrealistic depiction of a hierarchical student body split into 5 doctrinal groups vying for power would be really cool.
Thus, you’ll have the set up for a loner kid who has to balance the pressures of adolescence, schoolwork, and politics.
My concept was a non-combat RPG where the health bar was replaced with a self-esteem bar, money was used to buy clothes and comics to improve your mood meter, and the main gameplay was interacting with NPCs to forge or break friendships.
I pitched the project to my lecturer, and I remember I did pretty well for this class.
But that was 2002. Since then, this idea has just been sitting in my head. I didn’t think it was feasible to actually try to make it into a game by myself. And I didn’t know what else to do with it.
Until recently, when I came across RPG Maker and its sister software VN Maker. With these tools available, the prospect to make a game by myself using my existing skills (and new skills that I can realistically pick up) suddenly became feasible. I could do this!
It’ll take time. It’ll be hard. But I’ve been doing nothing for 17 years, and this game inside me is ready to burst out!