When I first started telling people about Elysium Studios, I mentioned that we’re a cooperative that makes visual novels and online dating. After you get past explaining what a visual novel is, people wonder what the connection is. It has an air of sketchiness as a store that sells occult relics and frozen yogurt. You know, like in that one Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode.
Even though that problem is now mitigated by the fact that I call Elysium a “new media cooperative”, the fact remains that these two lines of business still seem a little strange. I mean, visual novels and online dating… what’s the connection?
The connection is in fulfilling our mission as a B-Corp: to improve the health and well-being of transgender people. While my personal goal for Elysium is that we expand out to all areas of new media, we have to start somewhere. Online dating and visual novels seem like the two areas where we can expand and achieve our mission.
Why Online Dating
Online dating, even in spite of FOSTA-SESTA, is still an early focus of our cooperative. Our goal is to create online dating services that are radically inclusive of gender variant and transgender people. However, we don’t want to create something that has limited appeal. To have the massive cultural effect we want, we must make a massively appealing product.
Initially, our goal was to create an online dating service first. Once that was launched, we would use the proceeds from that to fund our visual novels. However, FOSTA-SESTA certainly complicated things.
Rocks in my path? I keep them all. With them I shall build my castle.Nemo Nox
So while it’s not insurmountable, FOSTA-SESTA certainly complicated things. To the point where we’re delaying the release of our online dating platform until we can sort out the details.
Why Visual Novels
Which leads us to my next point… why visual novels? Visual novels give us an opportunity to tell an immersive story with a message. It allows us to make that story accessible to a larger audience and communicate values. But when doing that, we have a solemn obligation to do so in a way that is subtle.
The single thing all women need in the world is inspiration, and inspiration comes from storytelling.Zainab Salbi
Our first visual novel, My First Castellan, is currently in production and I’m excited about it’s release next year. However, it’s going to be the first in a long road map of visual novels that we’re continuing to develop. In fact, My First Castellan is the first in an extended universe that we’re developing.