Prepare for an adorable and fluff take on the Yaoi and Boys Love (BL) Visual Novel genre with "Selfish Cupid". This gem, designed by ChaniMK, is capturing Yaoi fans' hearts. We have an exclusive interview all about the making of "Selfish Cupid" and hope to see more simplistic and lighthearted Yaoi visual novels in the future.
Could you tell us a little more about the Boys Love Visual Novels you create?
Most of the BL stories I make are light-hearted fluff. Sometimes, they are more focused on comedy and friendship rather than romance. I lived and grew up in a conservative Asian country, so I like creating worlds where no one bats an eye at queer folks and they are treated normally.
What inspired you to focus on creating SFW Boys Love content?
One of the earliest works I made was BL and people seemed to like it. Gradually, BL sort of became my branding. I'd like to deviate and make boyxgirl stories, but realistically, I think it'll be hard for me to find an audience since it's a saturated genre.
We'd love to hear about the different games you've made. Could you share a few titles? What's been your favorite so far?
Every Summer Holiday and Odd Guy Meets Odd Farmers are my favorites. Every Summer Holiday is a slice-of-life story where the MC experiences childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. It's about going to a small town and bonding with the townsfolk. There are two older boys who treat the MC like a younger brother, but their feelings gradually develop into something romantic as the years pass. Odd Guy Meets Odd Farmers is about a shut-in gamer who was forced by his mom to work on a farm to stop his video game addiction. There, he meets three farmers with quirky personalities. As he spends time with them, he realizes that life on a farm isn't so bad. Even though this story is a BL, it focuses more on comedy and friendship. Selfish Cupid also became one of my favorites.
Moving on to "Selfish Cupid", what sparked the idea for this game?
I thought it'd be funny to make a game where the MC has a huge crush on someone, but he grows devastated when he finds out that his crush's soulmate is someone else. I thought it'd be even funnier if the MC could romance his crush's soulmate instead.
Can you elaborate on the main premise of "Selfish Cupid"?
Ten (The MC) has the ability to see other people's soulmates after he was chosen to be the cupid's vessel. He is tasked to help bring couples together. But there is just one problem... Ten couldn't care less about other people's relationships. He only cares about his own love life.
What kind of challenges will players face when they're trying to romance characters?
As the cupid's vessel, the MC can choose whether to help the love interests end up with their soulmates or keep them single. The love interests won't be available to romance once they are dating someone else. Certain love interests are only available to confess to if other characters are in a relationship.
How can players go about romancing their desired character in "Selfish Cupid"?
By joining the clubs they're in and hanging out with them after class. Inviting them on a date during the weekend helps too. But the main goal is to prevent them from ending up with their soulmates if the player wants to romance them.
Are there multiple routes or endings in "Selfish Cupid"?
There's a romantic ending for each love interest. There is also an ending where the MC doesn't get the opportunity to confess to anyone so he stays forever alone.
Can you tell us a bit about the characters players can romance in the game? What are their personalities like?
Luan is the MC's one-sided crush. Luan appears gentle and friendly. People tend to view him as a pushover since he's very kind. There's always a smile on his face, but sometimes, it doesn't feel genuine. Kido is the MC's one-sided rival. The MC's insecure feelings cause him to hate Kido for being close to Luan. He doesn't understand why the MC hates him. He's just a chill guy who wants to be friends with the MC. Cy is the MC's best friend. He cares about the MC and can be clingy toward him. He comes across as a flirty dude. Sometimes, it's hard to tell when Cy's joking or being serious. The last love interest is an ordinary student. There's nothing to say about him. He's just an average dude.
What aspects of "Selfish Cupid" do you think make it stand out in the Boys Love genre?
I think it'd be pretty fun to play cupid and have the choice to make the love interests date their soulmates or the MC.
Do you have any personal favorite moments or elements in "Selfish Cupid"?
I love the petty moments where the MC feels jealous whenever his crush and his rival are together. The MC is a jerk in the beginning, so I like to watch him grow to be a decent human being.
How do you approach the balance between romance and humor in "Selfish Cupid"?
There's humor in the beginning, but not so much during the end when the vibe is more romantic.
Can you share a bit about the response you've received on social media about "Selfish Cupid"?
Some said that they're excited to prevent the love interests from ending up with their soulmates. While others said that they feel bad about snatching the love interests away from their soulmates.
Are there any particular game mechanics in "Selfish Cupid" that you're particularly proud of?
If the MC hangs out with the love interests often, he'll receive their phone numbers. During the weekend, the MC can call them and invite them on a date. They'll either like or hate the date spots, so the player needs to choose carefully.
How do you ensure your Boys Love content stays SFW and accessible to a wide range of players?
I like wholesome fluff filled with hugs and head pats. There's never a point where I wanted the characters to smash. I just like thinking about jokes and happy stuff rather than lewd things.
Could you share a bit about your process in developing games like "Selfish Cupid"?
First I let the plot settle in my head for a week or two. This is to make sure that I won't abandon the project and stick to finishing the story. Then I start with the character designs. Once I know what they look like, I write down the story. After the script is done, I pass it to my editor to look through it. While I wait for the editor, I work on drawing the BGs, CGs, and UI. If there's time, I also work on making the soundtracks. By the time I finish the assets and the editor passes the fixed script back to me, I'll then put the game together.
Have any other games or media influenced your creation of "Selfish Cupid"?
I like how in the old Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, the love interests end up marrying each other if the player didn't pursue them. I was also influenced by the map mechanics in Persona.
Do you have plans for any future games in the Boys Love genre?
I definitely plan to make more light-hearted fluff.
What advice would you give to players who are new to "Selfish Cupid" or to the Boys Love genre in general?
I just want people to have fun. These light-hearted stories are an escape from reality for me, so I hope I can make people laugh and smile as well.
Lastly, is there anything else you'd like players to know about "Selfish Cupid" or your other games?
I usually make MCs who are tsunderes, but Selfish Cupid has an MC who is a selfish jerk so it's pretty refreshing.
That concludes our exciting exploration into the creation of "Selfish Cupid" and the creative mind of ChaniMK. "Selfish Cupid" proves a fact that the simplicity of heartwarming, engaging narratives holds a distinct charm, effectively carving a niche within the broader BL gaming genre.