While the cyberpunk theme has been explored many times in the past in various visual novels. I don’t think any recent entries in the genre have done it with the presentation of the Radi Art developed Synergia. Over its three-year development cycle, Radi Art has created a unique cast of characters who we can’t wait to learn more about.
Recently, the game launched on Kickstarter to assist the game’s final months of development as well as support console ports of the game. There’s also a free demo available, which we gave our impressions on.
However, if this isn’t enough for you, we had the opportunity to interview developer Radi Art to learn more about the world of Synergia, its characters, and its development.
Azario Lopez: Let’s first talk about Radi Art, how did you find yourself taking on this project and what led you to want to put everything into telling this story?
Radi Art: I’ve always been a big fan of Cyberpunk, with Ghost in The Shell and Blade Runner being two of my favorite franchises. With Synergia I wanted to create my own contribution to the genre so I decided to start with a laid-back approach rather than a pure action story. I thought it was fun to imagine what a person’s day-to-day life would be like in a dystopian world, and how such a twisted place could affect innate things like love.
AL: What have you worked on in the past that led you to want to be a visual novel developer?
RA: It was a natural evolution. Before Synergia I’d tried to create several comics but this didn’t work out as they lack movement and music. I jumped to motion-comics, which are very similar to Visual Novels, and created 20 minutes long video about a fantasy story called Qualia-which you can find on youtube by the way. The reason why I finally decided to work on Visual Novels was that they had an extra layer of flexibility that motion-comics lacked that allowed me to further the immersion, and that’s when I started working on Synergia.
AL: Synergia has many different themes that the description of the game eludes too such as loneliness, corruption, and a disconnect between humans. Where does the main character, Cila, fall into all this and what makes her the right character to follow through this story?
RA: To this day Cila is still my favorite character from Synergia, I’ll try to explain why without going into spoilers. At first glance, Cila is a character that seems to be the fruit of pure corporate interest. Born of an artificial womb, she is intelligent, independent, strong, never gets sick, barely gets old and she has no attachment to anything. The minutes you start playing the demo of the game it quickly becomes clear that this is not true and that Cila is flawed. She has hit bottom, which makes her a failed product in the eyes of the state, but also means she is a human being like any other. This dualism makes her journey and her transformations throughout the game especially complex, which I love.
AL: Can you describe the relationship between Cila and Mara?
RA: It’s a difficult relationship and it’s also the central point around which the whole game revolves. Cila has many forced and learned biases against androids and Mara is there to break them all one by one. Mara is more open-minded but also very naive and has a lot to learn from Cila’s negativity. In the end, they turn out to be a very charming duo.
AL: What is the inspiration behind the art and character designs?
RA: The main inspiration for Synergia’s art were the covers and thumbnails of ”Synthwave” albums and music videos; and the art based on the 80’s such as the movies “Drive” and “Kung Fury”, or the games “FarCry 3: Blood Dragon” and “Hotline Miami“. Eventually, all of this got mixed up with my own style.
For the characters, however, I decided to go for something much simpler and tried not to make them stand out too much, especially their clothes. They still have some distinctive touches, mostly the secondary characters, but it was important that there was a contrast between them and the world around them. I made this decision to make it clear that the people who inhabit the dystopian city of Synergia are merely that, people, and they still worry about not looking too ridiculous- well, most of them.
AL: You recently launched the game on Kickstarter, what has that experience been like for you?
RA: Fantastic! It taught me that there are many people out there interested in Synergia and what I do. It’s really a big boost to my motivation after so many years in the dark.
AL: Even though the game has yuri themes, this is still considered an all-ages title. Did you ever consider making adult content for the game?
RA: I’d love to try it from an artistic point of view, for sure. I’ve considered it many times, and in fact, it’s something I’ve set out to do in the future. While this adult content didn’t fit Synergia because it was a slightly more light-hearted story compared to what I usually write, some of my future stories will certainly contain adult scenes. That said, these scenes will always be at the service of the plot and not the other way around, I will not include them if I feel they aren’t necessary or don’t fit.
AL: Synergia has been in development for three years, and the visual novel community in the west has had a lot of changes during that time, has the trends and popular titles released in the west during the game’s development had an effect on the game itself or do you find that you stuck pretty close to the original plan? What has kept you motivated for that long to finish the game?
RA: The Synergia I wrote 3 years ago is practically the same as the one people played in the demo a few weeks ago. The game has undergone changes, but these have been done mainly with the aim of improving its quality and not adapting to changes in the trends of the genre.
My main motivation has been to create the game I wanted to make when I first wrote the script. Even if it was initially written to be a comic, this resulted in a very cinematic experience that is also full of unique scenes and characters that required a lot of work to be done. That said, many of the reasons why Synergia has been in development for so many years have been external, so I’ve never been stuck in development, just short on time. Luckily, this cycle is coming to an end.
AL: With Synergia introducing such a unique cast of characters in a just as unique world, do you feel like you have more stories to tell based on the cast?
RA: No doubt about it! The proof of that is ”Sunrise”, the extra chapter we are trying to fund with our Kickstarter campaign. On top of that, I already have a lot of ideas for stories that happen before and after the events of Synergia in which many familiar characters appear. The good thing about Synergia’s universe is that it’s vast and deep so it gives me room to create an endless number of very different stories. That said, I will probably take a break from it after the release of Synergia and explore other universes.
AL: Do you have a particular favorite character that isn’t Cila or Mara? What makes them special?
RA: There are a lot of characters in Synergia that I like so it’s hard to choose, especially without making spoilers. I can’t talk about my favorite one so I’ll talk about my second favorite. I’m especially fond of Yoko’s cronies, especially a girl named Red. It’s not that she stands out for being the strongest or smartest, but her bravery that approaches stupidity and loyalty to Yoko has always seemed admirable to me.
AL: Is there anything you’d like to tell fans who are looking forward to Synergia or even those interested in the title?
RA: I will tell them that after this long wait we are closer than ever to launching the game. I just ask for some patience and support, although I think they are already giving us more than enough. I promise the final result will not disappoint you in any way and that this is just the beginning. Synergia will be followed by many other great stories.
Thank you to publisher Top Hat Studios for assisting with the interview.
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