Zodiac•Axis: A Fantasy-Fusion Visual Novel

Created by Studio Theophilus

Determine your fate and experience a tale that fuses suspense, romance, and Asian-inspired supernatural elements.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Important poll — Sprite + CG artstyle
about 2 months ago – Sat, Dec 01, 2018 at 12:34:16 AM

Hi all! November is chugging along steadily, but I had an important question that supersedes our normal update.

I've recently been debating whether I should redraw the sprites' faces / heads, since there's some discrepancy between the sprites and the beautiful CGs by Valee.

For example, here's Leaf's sprite:

And here's a CG character render by Valee:

There's a fairly notable discrepancy in the facial structure + rendering, which may be jarring to readers.

One of the reasons why I'm considering this option is because Valee's style is actually closer to what I originally wanted Zodiac to be. At the time, I didn't have the skill to draw that style, but I've gained a lot of experience this year.

Why won't this be a problem in the future? There's two main reasons why this decision should be made now and won't be a problem in the future:

  • I've gotten better and faster at drawing. Before Zodiac, I barely drew. I've grown a lot this year and gathered a lot of experience. Drawing used to feel like pulling teeth, and now I do it in my free time for fun.
  • Valee is Zodiac's long-term CG artist. Barring life emergencies or unforeseen complications, we won't have further problems with style synchronization because Valee's joined for long-term as the primary CG artist.

So we won't get caught in an endless cycle of let's-redraw-everything-to-make-it-better; it's best to make the decision now.

The Pros

The primary pro is that redrawing the sprites will match with the CGs, creating least discrepancy. I would also only be redrawing the heads, since the body proportions/clothes rendering is close enough to not be distracting.

And also my personal satisfaction at seeing the VN look much prettier / consistent.

It would be a bummer to release the product and then immediately start working towards a visual update because the sprites + CGs don't match

The Cons

The primary con: time and delays.

Counting expressions, there are a whopping 1400+ sprites in the current build. While not all of them would need to be redrawn, this task would add a few months to the work.

Vote here - Straw Poll

It's important to make this decision now before I start drawing the sprites for Halt's Story + Zax's Story + True Route, as it may end up saving time in the long run.

I've made a quick Straw Poll, so if you can head over and vote, I'd really appreciate it! 

If you have further feedback, also feel free to leave a comment or ping me on Twitter.

Thanks for your support and your time!
— Luna Chai

October Update: Revving up for Leaf's route!
3 months ago – Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 11:51:53 PM

Hi all!

There's not a lot to say, except that after taking a rest this month, Leaf's route is now heading into production! In the meantime, there's a few sneak peaks of art that the team has been producing.

BG preview from wrothsloth
BG preview from wrothsloth
BG preview from wrothsloth
BG preview from wrothsloth
Chara sketch from Luna Chai
Chara sketch from Luna Chai
CG preview from Valee
CG preview from Valee
CG preview from Valee
CG preview from Valee

In general, I will be sharing less teasers and previews for this upcoming route because there's some key spoilers, as opposed to Beckett's route, which was fairly straightforward. Regardless, I hope that you'll all enjoy the route once it's released!

Kickstarter has been finicky with notifying me about messages and comments recently, so if you have any questions, feel free to ping us on Twitter or live chat on our site.

Thank you for your support, and I hope to share exciting news soon!

— Luna Chai

Beckett's route is out!
4 months ago – Tue, Oct 02, 2018 at 08:00:54 PM

We've sent out an email with links and info for Beckett's route! If you're a beta access backer or store pledger and haven't received an email, please contact us immediately.

Thank you for all the support, and we hope you enjoy!

August Update: Beckett's route incoming!
5 months ago – Sun, Sep 02, 2018 at 12:46:43 AM

August was a busy month, but also really fun! Buckle in, because we’ve got a few news snippets for ya!

Alison Hart(e)? 

As it turns out, having a character with the name of “Alison Hart” next to a character named “Halt” is not such a stellar idea.

To improve legibility, we’re officially changing Alison’s surname to Harte, which should help distinguish it from Halt.

Voice acting! 

A few fun updates on the voice acting front! John van Doren is joining the Zodiac Axis team as the VO audio engineer. I’m so thankful to have him onboard! We also got the voice actors in for a smattering of special scenes to have full voices, and had some fun, too.

Itch.io demo release 

We released the demo on itch.io and got 100 downloads in one day! Thank you for the support!

Sticky notes 

To help motivate me through my part time job, I printed custom sticky notes. I decided to throw them up on the Studio Theophilus store if anyone happened to be interested! A mini Alison cheers you on through the day.

So, when will Beckett’s Route be released?! 

I want to be honest. I’m aiming for the latter days of September (September 27-30), but I can’t make a hard promise that Beckett’s route will hit those days.

Due to very recent circumstances, my family is likely to go through very heavy transition. I have no idea what the next month will hold in store for personal circumstances. While I’ll do my best to get Beckett’s Route out on time (because I really want you all to see it!), it heavily depends on the decisions my family makes. I’m sorry that it’s vague, but right now, it’s a confidential matter.

If I had to make a guess, it’s maybe 40% likely that the route will come out on time. The deadlines are all planned to hit that September 27 date, but worse comes to worse, I may have to push back a few weeks.

Thankfully, we have some fun previews for you! The artists have been working extremely hard, and the route is turning out gorgeous!

Thank you for all your patience and support! The next update will come when Beckett’s route is released :]

— Luna Chai

June Update — We Hakuoki now?
7 months ago – Sat, Jun 30, 2018 at 06:20:14 PM

 It's nearly July! Nearly AX! And we are working on Beckett's route at moment.

The hero routes take a slower pace than Common, focusing more on character conflict and internal development. Oh, yeah. I guess there's corny romance in there, too. Brace yourselves for the cringe, or the squeals, or some hybrid of both. Cringy squealing?

Did we just change eras?
Did we just change eras?
hahaha CLICHE.
hahaha CLICHE.
wip. WROTHSLOTH iS A LEGEND?? THIS IS GORGEOUS? and really hakuoki but shhh
wip. WROTHSLOTH iS A LEGEND?? THIS IS GORGEOUS? and really hakuoki but shhh

Charm update

Last update, I announced the official charms! For the backers who've redeemed their charms, I have an update: I've gotten news that the charms will be arriving this Monday from the production company. Once they arrive, I'll package and ship them out.

For domestic (United States) backers, your charms should arrive within 2 weeks. International backers, your charms should arrive within 1 month, though depending on where you live, they could also arrive sooner.

Please contact me if your charms do not arrive by the July update next month.

Backerkit update

I've gotten some messages from Backerkit backers ($1 pledgers) asking when the surveys will come. I'm super sorry for not mentioning the process!

The way Backerkit works, when you send out the surveys, you have to send them all at once. Then once the user fills them out, they are completely locked down. That's why surveys are usually sent right before all the rewards are ready to be shipped—if they're locked down too far ahead of time, then the backer can't change their information.

Because of this system, I won't be sending out Backerkit surveys until the game is ready to release. Which means surveys won't be sent for at least one year, if not two.

So, if you're a backer who wants to upgrade your pledge, please contact me and I will invite you to your individual survey.

That's all for this month! Thank you so much for your support!
— Luna Chai