Character Routes

Behind the Themes: Character Routes

Posted:April 28, 2024
Character Routes

Hello there!

Welcome back for the second issue of Behind the Scenes Themes. This week we're talking about character routes. There are two points I would like to make about how I thematically conceived of the character routes in HERO.

Akimori Residence

Firstly, many visual novels have character routes, where the story splits at some point based on the choices made by the player and follows a path typically focusing on building a relationship with one of the central characters. HERO is no different.

Character routes can cause the story to unfold in wildly different ways, or they can stick largely to the central plot. For HERO, I opted for the latter. The overall thrust of the story and the main events are the same no matter of which of the seven character routes the player chooses to follow. Where the differences come into play is in the small details. Rather than seeing the character routes as different branches, I conceived of them all as a singular 'trunk', albeit one that is thick and allows for lots of variation within itself.

Fukumatsu Residence

Secondly, as far as the routes themselves are concerned, rather than make the events vary significantly, I opted to focus on how the style of relationships could differ.

Each character route centers its focus on one of the seven 'heroines', as is the parlance, but how that relationship unfolds is wildly different from person to person. While several of them do develop in a romantic direction, others do not. The type of relationships include friendship, camaraderie, and the upperclassmen-underclassmen (senpai-kouhai) dynamic. Each route is therefore unique not in the events of the story, but in how the central relationship grows in response to said events.

Hirayama Residence

That's all for now. Next time we'll be back with the basics of another of HERO's underlying themes.