Behind the Games – Interview with Mikomi Kisomi

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, I’m back with another Behind the Games post!

For those of you just joining the party,  Behind the Games is a new segment where I interview the folks ‘behind the games’ I review. The series is meant to act as a complement to the reviews I write, giving you guys a chance to get to know the developers that spend so much time carefully crafting the games you enjoy. For each interview I send the Devs five questions (and one random bonus question), to kind of flesh out who they are, while also getting a bit of insight into their inspirations for their games. It’s completely voluntary and meant to be a fun way to get you guys acquainted with content creators.

Last time around I spoke with Angela He, the creator of the psychological thriller VN, I Woke Up Next To You Again, so if you missed that, I definitely recommend checking that post out too! This time around, I had the chance to chat with Mikomi Kisomi, the creator of the mystery/modern fantasy/josei VN That Which Binds Us!

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Mikomi debuted back in 2014 with the yuri game Crossed Paths: Connected Worlds for the Ludum Dare Game Jam and she has not slowed down since putting out several games in her almost 4 year career. She is an avid fan of visual novels and hopes to bring her own unique perspectives on the genre into the games she creates. In addition to her immersive stories, Miko’s games also feature LGBT characters, with many of her titles falling under the yuri game demographic. She is a developer that is constantly growing and adapting her style, so each of her games is a testament to her hard work and dedication! So, without further ado, let’s turn things over to Miko…

Could you tell me a bit about yourself? What do you do when you aren’t making games? (Interests, hobbies, etc)

A: Well… my name is Mikomi Kisomi, and I’ve been drawing for about 8 years and deving for about 4. Nowadays I really don’t have much time outside of school (I’m a college student) and dev, so when I’m not preoccupied with those I’m usually playing games… or talking about VN dev with friends and in Discord… yeah, pretty much my whole life is game dev!  I really like talking to other developers and watching Let’s Plays of random games, but yeah… lots of gaming!

What sparked your interest in developing visual novels? Is this something you’d like to do for a living or is it mostly a hobby?

A: My interest in VNs started from watching certain Let’s Plays in about 2014. Before then, I was sure making comics was the way for me to go to tell the stories I wanted to, but while watching a LP of Ib and The Crooked Man, I realized game development was the perfect way to share my stories with my art. I started doing research, found Ren’Py, and entered a few game jams- and years later, here we are! It started off as a hobby but I quickly realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life, so I’ve been working my way up ever since.

How would you describe your style? Do you typically create games with a specific audience in mind or do you try and create works that appeal to a more general audience?

A: Nowadays, I usually try to make games that I’d play- when I was younger, I would jump on any simple idea I had, regardless if I would like it in the long run, which led to a lot of non-weekend projects being left in the dust. Now I really only work on/write modern fantasy games, and most of my future ones deal with common themes such as royalty, doppelgangers, magic, etc. It might not be the “safest” route to go as a business but I feel my work shines best when I’m fully enthralled to put the story out there.

What was your inspiration for That Which Bind Us? Did you draw inspiration from your own experiences or was this a wholly original concept?

A: The main inspiration for TWBU was pretty simple- you have the red string of fate concept and you have a magic knife. I like writing things that deal with memories, and one day I thought, “what if there was a knife that could erase memories?”. The game started off as a small, very short RPG for the IGMC game jam (aka the RPG Maker game jam) but afterwards I put my other games on hiatus to finish it- I extended it by nearly 4x and ported it to Ren’Py where I was better able to make it a pure VN.

Visual novels are becoming increasingly more popular within the larger gaming community with a lot of popular and well known gaming sites and content creators producing more content related to independent games and developers. How do you feel this shift has effected independent developers such as yourself? Does this increase in popularity make it easier for developers to find foothold for their works?

A: I really like the increase of visual novels in the West, both as a consumer and developer, to be honest. While games such as DDLC have made it harder to say “visual novel” or “dating sim” without some questionable looks in some places, the overall increase in public awareness of VNs makes it easier to talk and share them. We’re still at a point where it’s better to market VNs with gameplay as something like “story-heavy RPG” but I believe in the next decade or so we’ll see the VN niche grow significantly in the West- after all, the English indie VN scene was basically non-existent a decade ago.

*Bonus*Q: If you were a heroine in an otome game, what type of heroine do you think you’d be? 

A: Oh gosh, this is the hardest question of them all  I’d probably be the workaholic who’d fall for a guy who’s able to show me there’s more out there than what I think.

Where to find them

I can’t thank Miko enough for agreeing to do this short Q&A with me, she is a delight, her passion for visual novels and her dedication to creating thought provoking games makes her a joy to chat with! She currently has plans to revisit her first game Crossed Paths: Connected Worlds, so be on the lookout for that in the near future!

Below are some links to Miko’s social media and game related pages/sites. I strongly suggest subscribing to her pages and checking out her content, she is a phenomenal artist and she is a joy to chat with!

Thank you for reading and supporting Blerdy Otome!

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