A downloadable game

== Summary ==

The members of a university Detection Club find themselves entangled in a series of murders. Follow Detective Butler through the eyes of his sidekick Gilligan as the two set out to find the culprit. Can they unravel the truth before the serial killer claims another victim?

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== The Story ==

Mystery. Romance. Adventure.

Three years after the events of the Maiden Voyage Murder, Gilligan Golder was suddenly thrust into the role of CEO at his late father's life insurance company, G.G. Inc. At the same time, Gilligan has been attending classes at the prestigious Diamond University, again only because of his late father's influence. 

His company's investors have great expectations for what he will become after graduation. But poor old Gilligan struggles to maintain a decent work-life balance. He used writing to process the trauma of his father's death, and eventually grew to enjoy the hobby. Now he spends most of class writing stories for Butler to solve instead of taking lecture notes.

Speaking of Butler, he works for Gilligan's company as a life insurance fraud investigator. The work is a bit too dull for him, but it pays well enough. He derives more pleasure from solving the mysteries that Gilligan writes for him. 

One day, Gilligan and Butler learn about a Detection Club at the university. Both intrigued, they decide to go there and become members themselves.

At the same time, a series of murders have been taking place on the Diamond University campus. Young college-age women are found dead, always with the heart ripped out from a gaping wound. None of the hearts have been found, evidently stolen from the girls by the killer. Thus, the killer has been nicknamed "The King of Hearts."

Tensions have grown on campus as the female students fear becoming the next victim, and the male students fear being falsely accused as the killer. In the midst of all this, Gilligan falls in love with one of the girls, but lacks the confidence to pursue her.

Eventually, a new victim is discovered: a member of the Detection Club.

And the prime suspect? Detective Butler.

Gilligan refuses to believe it. With Butler as the brains and Gilligan doing the legwork, they work together to pursue the truth and catch the true killer.

The other members of the Detection Club all have secrets they want to remain hidden. Will Gilligan come to regret the truth he ends up discovering?

What are the consequences of telling comforting lies over the harsh truth? 

And what are the consequences of believing them?

== Characters ==

More details will be added to this section in the coming weeks!

== Gameplay ==

You might encounter choices to personalize your experience, but they won't change the story. In other words, in this game your choices don't matter.

The only gameplay is within your own mind as you try and solve the mysteries yourself. You'll be provided  with Case Notes and Lecture Notes to help you keep track of the characters and other important information. 

While we've tried incorporating more complex game mechanics in previous builds, it simply detracts from the story and makes everything needlessly complicated and confusing. We've since focused our efforts solely on making the best story possible.

The game will not only feature Detective Butler solving the serial killings, but also along the way he will be forced to solve several smaller murder mysteries. We hope you enjoy solving all of them!

== Features ==

  • Estimated 100,000 to 200,000 words of reading in the final game
  • One big murder mystery, and at least 5 smaller murder mysteries to solve
  • Case Notes and Lecture Notes to help solve each mystery
  • 50+ characters across 20+ locations
  • A compelling narrative focused on more than just the mystery

Please look forward to a first demo coming soon.

The first demo will include the first chapter, which introduces you to the major characters in the game, and sets up a few mysteries for you to solve.

== Development Status ==

This game has been in the making since 2013, and although we've had to take breaks on and off due to life circumstances, I've never stopped thinking about it. 

The premise of a serial killer on a college campus was formed in late 2013, but the core details didn't emerge until a year later. Looking back at my notes from 2013 right now, it's shocking how many details of the final story were  there from the very beginning. 

In 2017 we scrapped nearly 40,000 words of the first draft and in 2018 we scrapped another 40,000 of the second draft. It just wasn't coming together the way I had envisioned it, and rather than put out something that even we didn't like, I decided to put it on hold. In the meantime, we re-released the first game on Steam and added DLC.

There were many low points when I considered whether I should just let the project fade away into obscurity, but then all my work really would have been for nothing.

By the end of 2022, those real-life factors had been resolved, and with a new burst of motivation I was able to complete a new outline of the story from the ground-up which fixes all of the problems we had with the earlier drafts. It also incorporates almost all the ideas I've come up with from 2013 to 2022. 

So essentially this really is a game 10 years in development. I am now extremely proud of this third draft, and it will absolutely be the final one. Had I actually finished the game any sooner, I can say with absolute certainty it would be missing many core elements which would have made it a significantly worse game. Be glad I didn't rush this one!

Over the years, I've witnessed a lot of promising visual novel projects either end up in development hell or get canceled altogether. It's a shame that the things which motivated me to put out the first game back in 2013 haven't changed much, but they have once again motivated me to continue this project and see things through to the end.

I can't promise any kind of a release date, but you'll want to look forward to a demo of the first chapter, followed by another demo featuring several chapters of the game sometime after that. There's still a lot of work to be done, but with a typing speed of 500 words per hour, you can do the math on how long it might take me to write and code the whole thing.

Please follow us on this itch.io page or on our mailing list to be notified of a demo and any crowdfunding campaigns!

Thank you to everyone for your patience and continued support!

-- Kinjo Goldbar

Development log