Mr. Tired Media was a bold risk for Ryan Phillips and Nick Doerr. The duo were mainstays at NIS America for years, with Doerr serving as the company’s Localization Editor and Phillips serving as the Marketing Director (although he practically had his hand in every area of the localization studio during his tenure). Over a year ago, the two made the sudden announcement that they were departing NISA to found their own development studio, Mr. Tired Media.
Their first project has been kept under wraps to the public during that time, but today we can finally reveal that they’ve indeed been hard at work at said game since practically their first day at their new company. After secretly following their progress throughout the past year, Mr. Tired has today announced that their first game will be “Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~.”
Undead Darlings is a hybrid visual novel dungeon crawling RPG that tells the tale of Reginald “Reggie” Happenstahnce, who just so happens to be the son of the scientist who created the cure for the zombie plague. As his luck would have it, he is told all this by a wild cast of girls who didn’t quite finish turning into brainless zombies. Their bodies may be dead, but their hearts are still human. They want him to succeed in his quest to deliver the cure somewhere it can be mass-produced and dosed out properly, so they will venture into dangerous territory in an effort to protect him from getting infected–under the condition that he act as their loot donkey and carry all their things.
Players can ogre through post-apocalyptic dungeons and fight in the most-revered classic JRPG style of turn-based combat in this romantic horror-comedy or learn more about the undead girls traveling with Reggie based on choices made during the visual novel-style segments.
Note that while the title of this article (and likely most every other piece of coverage) refers to the game as a JRPG, in reality it’s simply an RPG and that is perhaps its strongest suit. After all, Mr Tired is a company founded by two Caucasian Americans and the game is not a localization but a homegrown original story. As such, instead of having the cliché tropes and fanservice (although fear not, there is plenty of sexy time abound) JRPGs are known for, Undead Darlings is instead a game made by Americans for Americans in the style of JRPGs, and as such is able to better tackle relevant themes and offer an original experience.
In fact, to see just how original this hybrid is, one only needs look at the enemy design in the game. Phillips and Doerr were kind enough to share some exclusive images with Hardcore Gamer and provide some background.
“Last summer, Nick and I began brainstorming some enemy ideas for the RPG portion of Undead Darlings ~no cure for love~,” said Phillips. “Armed with a Wacom tablet, I began to mock up our ‘not-so-orthodox’ RPG enemy bestiary. I liked to picture what would happen if people just went back to work post-zombification, and that was one of my motifs for the design. Some of the enemies began to look less human and more… bizzaro. After chatting about it, however, if the main protagonists are going to be able to use magic, we felt it was better to follow suit and let our imaginations run buck-wild. In the end, my drawings were pure garbage (smh), but we definitely got some laughs out of them. That’s when we handed them over to our enemy artist—who is a Seattle Indie himself—and that’s how they all came to be in their current incarnations. There are more enemy designs yet to come, so we are definitely excited to see those come to life, too.”
And as for the main characters? “We’re not doing the Japanese things where everybody is an untouched virgin,” said Doerr. Emily, for instance, not only has propensity towards hot dogs and milkshakes, but also dated a rock star and has plenty of negative things to say about the relationship throughout the game.
We were able to check out the latest build of the game and it’s very cool to see how it’s all coming together. The dungeon crawling/Visual Novel hybrid functions similarly to the original Danganronpa in the sense that the game moves from first person free roaming movement in gameplay to locked 2D visual novel perspective to the story. Of course, that’s where the comparisons to that series end as the movement parts in Undead Darlings won’t simply be to get from point A to point B, but will be where the bulk of the game takes place. In addition, battles will take place in a completely different turn based format that recalls classic RPGs. Suffice it to say, Undead Darlings won’t skimp on content and is said to be at least twenty hours long.
Set for May 2016, Undead Darlings ~no cure for love ~ is guaranteed a PC release and will likely receive a PS4 and PS Vita (the game has been approved by Sony and is ready to go) release as well depending on the success of the Kickstarter (which by the way has just launched and features plenty of juicy rewards).
Check out the first screenshots, debut trailer and artwork below: