Telenovelas can be divisive: you either love them, hate them, or love to hate them, but one thing’s for certain: they’re memorable. That’s why we chose telenovelas as a starting concept for a game.
We’ve worked on other Visual Novels in the past, but most of them covered classic themes: school love, medieval fantasy, sci fi, etc. And there are others “Visual Novel Dating Sims” that focus more on the comedy aspect of the genre, such a Dream Daddy, Hatoful Boyfriend or I Love You Coronel Sanders (very big names that could be considered pseudo parodies.) Even Doki Doki Literature Club subverted expectations by pretending to be a cute VN. So, we took into account how players like comedy and humor in their VNs, while also exploiting and taking advantage of our cultural backgrounds (we’re from Mexico, so we know our telenovelas.)
The main thing about presenting one’s culture, is that it’s usually done in a respectful way or for educational purposes. We wanted to give it our own twist and have a little fun (somewhat similar to what Guacamelee did! -fun fact: the art director from that game is from our city!-), other great example is Mulaka, which managed to present its cultural roots in a fantastic and epic way.
So we thought, “what does people around the globe know about Mexico?” and our immediate answer was: “Aztecs, Mayans, Lucha Libre, Tacos, Día de los Muertos, Mariachis and Telenovelas.”
And among those concepts, we identified a clear winner. Latin Telenovelas are a hit everywhere in the world, and this genre lends itself to a lot of silly drama, suspense and absurd lamp shading humor. We could add all the slaps, love triangles, psycho villains, and family betrayals we wanted.
We watched a lot of episodes from epic telenovelas and classic characters, such as Rubí, Pasión de Gavilanes, Yo Soy Betty la Fea, Cuna de Lobos and everything by Thalía.
One main thing we needed to make sure is that the audience understood that we’re in on the joke and that this is a parody. We use unnecessary dramatic descriptions, ridiculous long names, and over the top situations and reactions.
But that’s not all. We wanted to add another layer to the narrative. When Reality Shows were in vogue (remember those dark times?), it was fairly common for people to vote for their favorite characters, and that would affect the outcome of the episodes. Characters disappear, or return from the dead, for example. Even big decisions such as who does the protagonist marry at the end could be chosen by the audience (telenovelas often recorded alternate endings to accommodate for the results.) We even thought of silly little details, like adding gossips about the actor’s private lives, and commercials from sponsors that take place during the story, with obvious and tasteless product placement.
So we mixed those ideas together and in Destino Indomable you’re not actually playing a telenovela, but actors playing one. This means that we can have all the crazy situations of a classic telenovela, a comedy VN and a fake Reality Show affected by the choices of the player!
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