Behind the curtain and under the sheets with Haven

Posted by on 02.10.21

A modern romance in a JRPG

I played tons of RPGs when I was a kid and a teenager. Video games at the time were designed for people my age. The writing was simple, naive. The relationships between characters were simplistic as well. Romance, especially, was treated in a very childish way. Even if the characters were adults or young adults, they were acting like children who have never had a romantic relationship before. The core of the game was never about love, it was about getting stronger, defeating a powerful enemy and saving the world.

Secret of ManaImage from the game Secret of Mana, still a great game despite not being “modern”

The romance was a side story. A “love interest” as we sometimes say. there was very little to feed on the romance side. The boy (most of the time it was a male lead) met a girl and eventually, at the end of the story, they kinda were in love (we knew because they hugged in a cutscene).

Lunar 2

Lunar: Eternal Blue, one of the best JRPG from the 90s

Growing up, I got really thirsty for seeing more of that side of the story. What happens in between the quests? What do characters do when they don’t explore dungeons or buy shinier swords? Can I look behind the curtain and see what happens in my group of heroes when they stop at the inn?

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV camping sequences

That’s a part I really liked in Final Fantasy XV, when they stopped to camp, in a high standing camping tent, with transat chairs and luxury barbeque. It was a story about friendship and you could actually witness it. That’s also what makes the Persona series so unique: it’s not only a JRPG and a dungeon crawler, it’s a social sim. You get to see your characters at school, in their families, in their hobbies and jobs. And they date. You see the bonds between the characters develop, should it be love or friendship.

Persona 5Persona 5 social bonding and dating gameplay

But even in Persona games, it’s still about flirting, about the early days of a relationship. You can eventually date one of your teammates, but that’s the endgame. It got me really interested: what if we saw a real relationship. What happens when they are a couple, a real one. Not an “anime character” one. What if we described a lasting relationship in a video game?

Haven is trying to do exactly that. Tell you a thrilling story of runaway lovers in space, fighting to stay together. There’s action, mystery, exploration and combat. But you get to see behind the curtain. You see them in their intimacy. The dialogs are written in a modern, relatable way. The RPG gameplay is paced with slices of their life while they try to settle in a deserted planet. You get to see them eating, playing games, chatting about their life, doing chores, getting a haircut, fighting or having fun.


And obviously, as an established couple, they have sex. It’s part of their life, it’s neither a taboo or a big deal (most of the time in games it’s either absent or a memorable first time). In Haven they tease each other, they joke about it. It’s healthy, fun, tender. You don’t “see them making love” because it’s not the point, that would be going too far in their intimacy, but it’s definitely not a taboo.

Haven sexuality

I really loved playing these games when I was a child and I’m still very fond of love stories in Final Fantasy or Persona games, but I’m happy we could come up with something unique, a tone that was missing in the video game landscape. We have received a fantastic response from players about how genuine Yu and Kay’s relationship feels and how it makes them relatable. We hope this will keep on growing with PS4 and Switch’s versions that just launched and inspire more games to deal with love and sex more healthily and honestly. If you wish to discover more about Haven you can read our previous blog posts about Haven’s inspirations,  making a relaxing experience by designing simplicity, the co-op and the gameplay or it’s beautiful opening.

Peace & Love & Video Games everyone!

Haven – Updates and Patch notes

Posted by on 12.10.20

A big thank you to everyone who’s playing Haven, we are receiving your fantastic feedback about the game and it’s heartwarming. We also enjoyed your first cosplays and fan-arts!
We will list here the patches and updates we are bringing to Haven for your reference.
We appreciate your help reporting those issues and your patience as we fix them.

Patch note – Update Nintendo Switch February 24th 2021

The update is available on Nintendo Switch. The update is mandatory.

Version: 1.0.204

Bug fixes:

  • Optimize memory usage to prevent some crashes when loading levels
  • Fix a crash when waiting too long in the Nest
  • Fix a softlock when losing against the Hornets
  • Fix audio on the islet Bename
  • Fix not being able to delete a game slot right after copying it

Patch note – Regular update December 15th 2020

The update is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, One and Windows, Steam and GOG.

Version: 1.0.165


Feature addition and improvement:

  • Automatic backup save before ending: a save is created for those of you who will want to go back and explore the game before the end. For players who have finished the game already, when loading your epilogue save, a backup save will be created before the take off, giving you a change to revisit.
  • Camera axis: Option to invert the camera in the Nest.
  • Accessibility: Option to disable camera wobble.

Bug fixes:

  • Blocking bug at the big door on Lonako: Some cases where the big door would not open. Running the update should fix the issue for users currently having the problem in their saved game.
  • Turkish regional settings issue: When playing with regional settings set to Turkish, some menu UI localization would not show up properly and actor voices were missing.
  • Gloves upgrade: Fixed a bug where Yu says she has enough hyper rust to upgrade the gloves, although this upgrade is not accessible yet.
  • Trophy minor fix: fixed the trophy set name and the description of the trophy Perfect Timing
  • Combat soft lock: fixed a bug where the game characters would become unresponsive after using a Help in combat. 
  • Misc bug fixes including screenshake option fix, credits update, title screen visual update.

Xbox Series, One and Windows

Feature addition and improvement:

  • Automatic backup save before ending: a save is created for those of you who will want to go back and explore the game before the end. For players who have finished the game already, when loading your epilogue save, a backup save will be created before the take off, giving you a change to revisit.
  • Camera axis: Option to invert the camera in the Nest. 
  • Accessibility: Option to disable camera wobble. 

Bug fixes:

  • Blocking bug at the big door on Lonako: Some cases where the big door would not open. Running the update should fix the issue for users currently having the problem in their saved game.
  • Gloves upgrade: Fixed a bug where Yu says she has enough hyper rust to upgrade the gloves, although this upgrade is not accessible yet.
  • Combat soft lock: fixed a bug where the game characters would become unresponsive after using a Help in combat. 
  • Misc bug fixes including screenshake option fix, credits update, title screen visual update and interaction fix on the opening movie.

And additional feature additions and fixes for Windows : 

Feature addition and improvement:

  • Co-op with Keyboard & Mouse and one controller: Ability to play co-op with Keyboard & Mouse + one controller (local co-op).
  • Wide screen resolutions improvements: Display options now gives the choices of resolution wider than 16/9 for ultrawide monitor support. Fix for the main menu that was getting out of the screen on very wide resolutions.
  • UI: Ability to choose what button prompts are displayed

Bug fixes:

  • Roaming stutter: Prevent some stutter that could happen routinely every 10-20 seconds while roaming.
  • Turkish regional settings issue: When playing with Windows regional settings set to Turkish, some menu UI localization would not show up properly and actor voices were missing.
  • Thai regional settings issue: When playing with Windows regional settings set to Thai, the game would crash on startup.

Steam, GoG

Feature addition and improvement

  • Automatic backup save before ending: a save is created for those of you who will want to go back and explore the game before the end. For players who have finished the game already, when loading your epilogue save, a backup save will be created before the take off, giving you a change to revisit.
  • Co-op with Keyboard & Mouse and one controller: Ability to play co-op with Keyboard & Mouse + one controller (local and remote play).
  • Accessibility: Option to disable camera wobble.
  • UI: Ability to choose what button prompts are displayed

Bug fixes

  • Gloves upgrade: Fixed a bug where Yu says she has enough hyper rust to upgrade the gloves, although this upgrade is not accessible yet.
  • Combat soft lock: fixed a bug where the game characters would become unresponsive after using a Help in combat.
  • Misc bug fixes

Patch note – Minor Patch December 9th 2020

Platforms: Steam, GoG

Version: 1.0.157

Bug fixes:

  • Turkish regional settings issue: When playing with Windows regional settings set to Turkish, some menu UI localization would not show up properly and actor voices were missing.
  • Blocking bug at the big door on Lonako: Some cases where the big door would not open. Running the update should fix the issue for users currently having the problem in their save game.
  • Unexpected behavior if you played the demo: Some users who previously played Haven demo could encounter a crash or unexpected behavior if they continue playing the game from a save from the demo.
  • Roaming stutter: Prevent some stutter that could happen routinely every 10-20 seconds while roaming.
  • Wide screens resolutions improvements: Display options now gives the choices of resolution wider than 16/9 for ultrawide monitor support and fix main menu out of the screen on very wide resolutions.


Haven – Apology

Posted by on 12.09.20




Note: This contains spoilers for the game Haven

It has been brought to our attention some aspects of Haven setting in relation to the character Erena and the Matchmaker are tone deaf to the reality the LGBTQ+ community is facing. 

To players who have felt hurt or unwelcome while playing our game: we’re sorry. This goes against our inclusive values as a team and the theme of the game, and we regret this.

Haven is a game about love and freedom. Our intentions have always been to advocate for freedom of love regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, class etc. Our two heroes being heterosexual, of different classes and ethnicity, we designed Erena to achieve a wider representation within our limited options. 

We realize we should have brought some clarifications earlier in the game:

  • We understand now that Erena can come off as the “villain” which reinforces stereotypes used against LGBTQ+ people. In our story arc Erena is not the adversarial force. She is doing what mums do: try to save the skin of her child. Being pragmatic, she tries to make her accept the rules – and we understand this also lacks sensitivity. In the extra content planned for the game, Erena becomes a very positive force fighting for freedom of love. 
  • We realize that The Matchmaker recalibration program brings up references to “conversion therapy”. The reasons why the Matchmaker exists cannot be unveiled at this stage, but they are not ideological and not about forcing people to a relation with a person of a specific gender. The Matchmaker choses couples independently of their gender and sexual orientation. Erena and her mate were matched together, Yu and Ozias were too. 

We are looking into ways to improve those aspects in the game and in any upcoming content, and we will strive to do better. 

Thank you for your support and understanding,


The Game Bakers


Haven FAQ

Posted by on 12.03.20

Note: Some questions containing spoilers are listed at the very bottom of the page.

Updates and Patch notes

We will be listing the patches on our dedicated blog post here.

Known issues

If you want to know about the bugs and issues and solutions for them, you can check the dedicated post on Steam forums.

What platforms is the game available on?

The game is available December 3rd on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and One (Game Pass), PC (Steam,, Microsoft Store…).
The Nintendo Switch and PS4 versions are due Q1 2021

Is there a physical release planned?

For now it’s digital only. We will explore collector editions in 2021.


What languages are supported?

Voices: English
Text: English, French, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Spanish.

How to play co-op?

The game is playable solo, but at any time a second player can join locally (couch co-op). Co-op online is not supported.
To start co-op, you just need to activate a second controller. On PC, you need two controllers to play co-op (Keyboard and mouse + one gamepad is not supported).

We have heard some players use Remote Play on Steam with good results to play together remotely. The experience can vary greatly according to the network setup and conditions of the two players. Our recommendation if you want to try it, is that the player with the best connection launches the game. It’s important to note that Remote Play simulate a local game, so two controllers are also needed to play co-op. We are looking at solutions to allow Keyboard & Mouse co-op.

We haven’t tested Play Together on PS5 yet as we could not get our hands on PS5 consoles haha. Let us know.

About the 18+ rating

The 18+ rating is mostly due to the age rating process, as a healthy representation of love does not fit into classic videogames age rating categories.

SEX: In our view, there is nothing shocking for a 16-year-old in the game, and very little sexuality. But it’s true that you dive into the intimacy of a couple, and that on some occasions, they talk about sex. Mostly in a funny manner. There is no full nudity or sex scene. You only see them before or after they have sex, like in mainstream Hollywood movies. They sometimes talk about sex, but in a light and evocative way. The goal of the game is not to make players horny, it’s to make they touched and happy.

VIOLENCE: There is not much violence in the game as the creatures are only « pacified » and return to their normal state after a fight.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL: On some occasions they will drink their own concoction – Applebrew! – and might try some food that could cause some side effect. This also explains the rating.

To sum it up: we understand the rating could have been confusing. We wish the game could have been rated 16+ but we felt it was safer to rate it 18+ to avoid any misunderstanding

On PS5, can I play with a DualShock4 (PS4 controller)

Unfortunately no. That’s a Sony limitation.
The DualShock4 only works on PS5 with PS4 games. However, if you bought Haven on PS5 you’ll be able to download Haven PS4 (when it releases early 2021) for free. And then, you can play the PS4 version on PS5 with a DualShock4.

Good to know

  • Drifting (taking short turns) makes navigation MUCH smoother. When you need a strong change of direction, it’s smoother to hold the left trigger and turn, rather than stop and replace the camera.
  • Eventually, there’s a map in the game, it’s just not unlocked from the start.
  • There is a feature to speed up dialogs or auto play combat. It’s mapped on Q / L1 / LB. It’s completely optional and mostly useful for replaying / completion.
  • You can use medkits and cures only in a safe place (nest or camp). But later in the game you can use balms anywhere outdoor (combat or exploration).
  • It is possible to invert controls.
  • The game is 10-12 hours long if you don’t explore everything.
  • Saving happens during loading screens, so if you want to save « manually », just enter or exit an islet or the Nest.
  • Save files on PC are located on C:/users//AppData/LocalLow/TheGameBakers


You can find wallpapers of the game over here.

How to report a problem

On Steam you can head to the Community Hub and post in the forums HERE.

The Game Bakers Discord is also a good place for information:

If you play on console or another platform, you can also reach to 

We will keep the known issues up to date on this website.

Thank you!


Where is the last part to repair the Nest?

After you reach the volcano on Wakiri, if you go back to the Nest, Yu will highlight all the interesting locations on the map. If you don’t have any highlighted location but still miss a part, maybe you didn’t open a bridge? Look at the blue lines on the map, these are un-open flow arcs. The Left Wing is on Wakime, south of Wakiri.

Where is the hyper rust?

One is on Lonako and one on Nekatai (you need to fly a flow thread to reach the area). There are two other hyper rust chunks: one you need to beat the lorudo on Wakiri and several other islets. The other is when Oink gets rusted again on Guyame, after you scratch him a number of times.

Yu and Kay Voice Actors Reveal & Interview!

Posted by on 11.26.20

Hello everyone,

7 days to go before launch! I can tell you the bakery is buzzing here! We’ll have ample time to tell you more about the game after launch, but there was something that we really wanted to share, as so many of you have asked: who are the amazing actors behind Yu and Kay! It’s time to reveal them…

While casting for Yu and Kay we were looking for actors that would excel at conveying subtle emotions, every day life feelings, and be at ease with intimacy and humour. Those are challenging roles for actors as they require solid performer skills but also enough personal experience to recreate the texture of a relationship with authenticity.
Working in London with the team at SIDE, we were very lucky to meet :

Janine Harouni and Chris Lew Kum Hoi!

The two actors recorded the 80 000 words of dialogue together in the SIDE studio in London in 2019 and 2020, reenacting the scenes together to achieve as much complicity and authenticity as possible.

Before to meet Yu & Kay in a few days, here is a short interview of the actors behind them!

Can you introduce yourself? Can you tell us about you and your career?

Janine: I’m originally from New York but I’ve been living in the UK for the last 8 years. I’ve been lucky enough to voice parts in some really fantastic games and I’ve done small roles in fun films and TV series. Next year I’m going to be a series regular in a new sitcom called ‘Buffering’ on ITV2 next which I’m really excited about. But mostly I’m excited for comedy clubs to open up again so I can get back to doing stand up. I did my debut show last Edinburgh which got nominated for the Best Newcomer award. Which was a very lovely thing to happen and means I no longer have to do gigs in the basements of grimy pubs. I now do gigs on the ground floor of grimy pubs. So things are moving up in a very literal sense.

Chris: Not quite sure where to start. I originally trained in a drama school in the South of England and upon graduation left to work in the theatre and gradually building up into screen work – proud to say I’m part of the Dr Who universe. By chance, I stumbled into the voice over world. I was doing a theatre workshop and a friend asked me whether I did voice-over. I lied and told him I had done a few before and he suggested me for a videogame audition. I ended up getting the job and a hop, skip and a jump into the future and here I am doing Haven – a project which I’m very proud of working on.

At the very beginning when you started working on Haven, what did you expect? Did you expect that kind of game? That kind of dialogs?

Chris: From the first readthrough, I was taken by how naturally the script settled in the mouth – it had a simplicity that I hadn’t experienced before and that’s exciting. The words could go in so many directions. I didn’t really know what Haven was going to be but knew that there was a beating soul that needed to be let out into the videogame universe.

Janine: I’m not sure what I was expecting. I had never worked on a game for that long and I had never done VO with another actor in the booth with me. It was amazing to get to spend that much time working on something. I really felt like I knew both our characters inside and out by the end of our recording. And it was incredible to get to work on such a rich and dynamic story. I just feel very lucky to be part of such a fantastic game!

Haven has a very special setting as it is heavily focused on two characters, a couple in love. How did that make the recording different from another game?

Janine: Lots of times when you work on a game you only record your lines. Sometimes you read with the director but lots of time you just record your side of the dialogue with very little context. Working on Haven was brilliant because I got to be in the booth with Chris. Which means we were able to react to each other and be in the moment. That’s something you rarely get to do when recording games. It made everything feel much more intimate and real. Working with Chris and our brilliant director Damien Goodwin, was a dream – I really felt I was in safe hands and learned so much from both of them.

Chris: So different! In most other videogames, you are in a booth by yourself and rarely do you get to hear what the other actors have created – you have to kind of guess and the director does their best to read in the plethora of other characters (sometimes to a hilarious extent). But with Haven, I got to work with the lovely Janine in the booth. This had a huge positive impact on both our performances. Aside from Janine just being fantastic, there’s a chemistry that the characters had to have that you just can’t recreate without having both people in the room together. It always made the recording sessions exciting – you don’t know what your partner is going to throw at you.

Would you say you can relate to that couple, or to your character?

Chris: Kay I hold close to my heart. He’s desparate to be cool but can never get it quite right. He’s vulnerable and sensitive and a perfect match for Yu. She has a fire that keeps him in check and he has a jokey manner that pokes holes in Yu’s armour. I think that’s why they work so well. My partner and I share the same sort of relationship – we’re so different in our tastes etc. But it’s that different perspective that gives both the resistance we need and the freedom to be ourselves. I also definitely have Kay living in me – we’re both kind of in awe of the world whilst bumbling through it completely lost. Might as well enjoy the ride whilst on it eh?

Janine: My real life partner is a lot like Kay actually – more cautious and analytical than I am. I’m more like Yu, a jump-into-things-now-and-figure-them-out-later kinda person. Which can be fun, but can also lead to some VERY weird nights out.

Can you share a funny or memorable moment that happened during the recordings?

Chris: The one that springs to mind are the « R » rated scenes. Performing it was hilarious because I went for it and knew that everyone around me was going to feel awkward. At the end of it, there was a pause, and Janine just said, « is it hot in here? » that for me was the best praise ever. That and Muffin and Cupcake! Can’t forget the joy they brought.

Push-Up The Volume!

Posted by on 11.09.20

Hello everyone,

You’ve seen the news: Haven has a release date! It will launch on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox One on December 3. As good news comes in pair, we are delighted to announce that the physical edition (vinyl and CD) of the Haven soundtrack is available for pre-order now 😍

Haven’s Original Soundtrack is composed by French electro musician DANGER (whose work was already featured in Furi). Today, we are thrilled to announce we cooked with G4F Records two physical editions: a double vinyl album and a CD digipack. The digital version of the soundtrack will be available December 3rd on BandcampSteam, YouTube, and all music streaming platforms.

The pre-orders of the physical editions start now!

Pre-order bonus items are offered: copies signed by Danger (for the first 100 pre-orders) and an art print from the game. Shipment of both editions is scheduled for late January 2021.

The vinyl edition is inspired by the colourful watercolours of the game intro movie by Yukio Takatsu (Japanese animator and director). The album includes two vinyl records (180 g), yellow and red, in a “pastel grain” textured gatefold cover.  The double CD edition is a 6-panel digipack and includes an 8-page booklet.

In the Haven original soundtrack, DANGER returns to his electro synthwave music style, adding more positive and colourful vibes to it, as well as elements of Vaporwave and Funky music, mixed with a new orchestral dimension.

If you can’t wait, the first single “ 04:42 Still Free” is still available on SteamSpotify and other platforms. What are you waiting for? Push the volume up and enjoy the music! 😜🎧

Hold hands in solo or couch co-op with Haven

Posted by on 10.28.20

Play the two heroes at the same time, alone or with a special someone.

In Haven, you play as two lovers who gave up everything and escaped to a lost planet to be together. It’s a romantic RPG about love and freedom, but a strong characteristic of the game is that you play two characters at the same time: Yu and Kay. It’s first and foremost a solo game, in which you play these two characters, but with such a duo for main characters, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to make it also a couch co-op experience. In this blogpost, I’ll dive in details about the co-op experience for the first time.

Haven can be enjoyed solo, it’s designed for that. But at any time in the game, another player can join by simply taking another gamepad and pressing a button. The UI will show that co-op has started, it’s completely seamless.

Here, the UI shows another player just joined and triggered the co-op play.

An important part of the gameplay makes Yu and Kay explore the deserted planet gliding over the grass, collecting flow and food, and cleaning the rust in search for resources and new paths (learn more about the gameplay in our previous blog post). While gliding, one player is leading, and the other is following. The character that is following has the freedom to roam around the lead one. Each time you stop, you can exchange the lead, and “take the wheel” like it’s your turn to drive.

However, the following player is not just a co-pilot. They can control what we call a “flowblob”, a circle of flow on the ground that they can project around them to interact with the world as they glide. They can use the flowblob to clean the rust or gather resources. The lead character chooses where to go and the following character helps clean the area.

The flowblob can also be used to slow down a creature that’s chasing you:

In solo combat, the game pad is split in half. You use the dpad to load Kay’s actions and the buttons for Yu’s. In co-op, each player controls their character. The players have to combine their actions.

For instance one can be shielding while the other prepares an attack.

You can exploit temporary weaknesses by having a player stun a creature, while the other prepares an attack that will make critical damage. Or you can synchronize two similar actions on each character to make powerful duo attacks.

Last but not least, if one of your hero is down, the other one can help them stand up again.

While it’s common to see co-op mechanics for action gameplay, it’s much more unusual to see them intertwined in the storytelling. Narration-wise, when the characters talk, the player regularly has dialog choices to make, which sometimes have an impact on the game. When playing co-op, both players have to agree and validate the same dialog choice to progress. From what we’ve seen, it’s very engaging and creates heated discussions between the players on the couch.

We wanted to make a game that can be enjoyed by everyone: solo for a deep immersion with Yu and Kay, or co-op with a friend or a romantic partner. As you read this we are adding the finishing touches to the game. Haven will release December 3rd 2020 on PS5 and early 2021 on PS4.

Haven will be available on December 3

Posted by on 10.28.20

Hello everyone,

That’s it, we have a release date!!! We’re so pleased to tell you that Haven will be available on December 3rd 2020 on PC (Steam, & Microsoft Store), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We can’t wait for you to share Yu & Kay’s adventure! The PC version will be available at launch on Steam, GoG and Windows store. And yes, we also hard at work on our Nintendo Switch and PS4 versions, slated to launch Q1 2021.

We are also happy to share with you a brand new story trailer « Can love conquer all? » Watch it below:


The trailer has subtitles in English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish.

Also check those new screenshots from the game:

36 days left before the launch of Haven! We can tell you we are counting the days too!
Looking forward to having you play the game,

The team at Game Bakers

Interview with Pierre Corbinais, Haven’s writer

Posted by on 10.22.20

Pierre Corbinais has been writing for and about games for a decade now and he is the writer of Haven. He’s mostly known for Bury Me My Love, a reality-inspired fiction about love and exile, and ‘Til Cows tear us apart, a two-cowgirls’ road-movie in space but also created a lot of other small games during various game jams. Haven is the biggest project he worked on so far (and he can’t wait for you to play it).

What’s your opinion about romance in video games? What is good and bad, from your point of view?

My main opinion about romance in video games is that we don’t see enough of it, and when you think about it, it’s actually a bit baffling. Romances are everywhere except in video games: I don’t know about the other countries, but in France, every year without fail, the best selling novels are love stories. Turn on a mainstream radio and there’s a fairly good chance that a love song will be playing. And romance (whether it is comedy or drama) had always been one of the strongest film genres: While released more than 20 years ago, Titanic still is the third highest grossing film of all times (#1 in France!), how crazy is that? Everything points to think that people LOVE romances, but a bunch of exceptions aside, we don’t have romance in games, at best we have flirting (in dating sims or RPGs). Why is that? There is this idea floating around that video games are mostly played by men and that men aren’t into romance, but I think both these assumptions are untrue. To me, the main reason why there is so few romances in game is that we, game creators, still don’t really know how to make them. It’s “easy” to make a game where you shoot people (“If bullet collides with enemy then enemy = dead”, but how do you program a game about falling in love? Being in love? Falling out of love? Everything must be rethought, reinvented. That’s a tough job, and a lot of work, but what a great challenge!

Where would you like to see the genre go? What kind of romance story or style would you like to see in a video game?

I would like it to go in every directions, form-wise and content-wise. There are so many different love stories to tell, and so many ways to interact with them to invent. Just try to imagine how every video game genre could be twisted to become a love story: What is a First Person Romance? What is a relationship management game? A heart racing game? A love puzzle?
And we’re not even talking about the new genres that might emerge.
As for the content, there is a subreddit called r/relationships where people share relationships stories (romantic or not) to get advice from the community. I love browsing through the posts there. They are sometimes funny, sometimes grave, sometimes relatable, sometimes just plain weird… I think these posts tell a lot about what being human is, about what loving is, and I’d like every single one of them to be turned into a video game.

Haven has quite a modern treatment in terms of dialogs, compared to traditional RPGs. Was it difficult to come up with that? How do people react to that style?

Haven’s dialogue style came up pretty naturally. While you can find some epicness in the game, I felt it was more about the little things, the daily life, and I needed the dialogues to reflect that. Yu and Kay shouldn’t talk like badass-and-somehow-also-super-witty heroes, they should talk like us, with our hesitations, verbal tics, cursing… I’m really into alternative comics that tell “slice of life” stories (Hernandez brothers’ Love & Rockets, Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, Vanyda’s The Building Opposite to cite a few), I probably draw this style of writing from there.
I didn’t get the chance to see a lot of people playing the game so far so I’m yet not sure how people will react to that style, but the team and voice-actors seemed to like it! The very first dialogue I wrote to try out that style and see if it fitted the game ended up becoming Haven’s first scene.

There’s also a lot of humour in the game. Do you think it’s a way to make the players have fun or to make them get attached to the characters?

Yes, people usually enjoy to laugh and smile, so why not allow that? But humor is also a useful tool for Haven’s narrative structure. In Haven there are a lot of dialogue scenes that aren’t there to make the story advance toward an ending. They’re just slices of life meant to create attachment to the characters, chill moments spent in the Nest. How can you satisfyingly end such scenes that don’t really lead anywhere plot-wise? There aren’t that many solutions: You can end it with something cute, something deep, or something funny. Juggling with the three is the best way to keep the player surprised, and thus entertained.

Do you have a special process for writing dialogs? What’s your one advice for writing dialogs?

Writing is a very weird and personal thing, the more I talk with other writers the more I realise there aren’t two writing processes alike. Some people will tell you that you need to precisely know where your dialogue is going beforehand, me, I tend to just go with the flow and let the characters decide for themselves. Most of the time, when I start writing a dialogue scene, I have no idea how it’s gonna end. This is a terrible thing to do when you work in movies for example, because movies only lasts 90mn and you don’t have one minute to spare. But I think it works pretty well with video games, especially when you want your dialogues to branch in different directions: not having an ending in mind is a great way to allow the emergence of multiple ones.
As for the advice I will give this very simple one: whenever you’re stuck in your writing, drop your pen (or keyboard, or typewriter) and go outside. Walk. Sit in a park. Have a coffee (and don’t forget your notebook in case the inspiration comes back). Breaks aren’t a waste of time, sitting in front of an empty page is.

Finally, everyone wants to know. Are you more a Yu or Kay person?

I put a lot of myself in both characters, Kay got my poor sense of humour and Yu my terrible sense of direction, but I’m probably more a Kay person overall. Yet, when playing the game, I mostly play Yu. Go figure.


Fugitive lovers in space

Posted by on 10.22.20

I like to pitch Haven as “Romeo and Juliet, but they survived and escaped to a deserted planet to live together.” But that doesn’t say much about the gameplay. So I would like to share more about your experience as you play the game — what you actually get to do.

The game experience in Haven is created by the intersection of three systems:

  1. Exploration through gliding
  2. Combat
  3. Preparing for your next expedition in the Nest

The story is told during these three types of gameplay sequences. But let’s dive a little deeper in these systems.

Gliding over the tall grass

In a Japanese RPG, what we call “traversal gameplay” is usually pretty simple. You just move your character without any challenge, until you start a fight or reach your destination. With Haven, we wanted to reinforce the feeling of being a couple, even during exploration. We wanted to make it feel relaxing, beautiful and fun. Going down a ski slope with a friend can really feel like that. Gliding over the tall grass is Haven’s version of skiing together.

In order to explore the planet, you follow “Flow threads” that will fill your boots and gauntlets with Flow, the natural energy that powers pretty much everything in their world. It’s also used to get rid of the Rust, the red crust that corrupts the planet and creatures. Gather Flow, clean the Rust and discover resources: food or medicinal plants, materials for combat or to repair the Nest (your spaceship/home), or even souvenirs and items for your home.

Following a Flow thread is usually as chill as going down a simple ski slope, but sometimes you can find more difficult ones that will require to drift, and anticipate tight turns.

Exploration by gliding will also open up new “bridges” that connect one floating fragment to another, and allow you to reach new areas.

Combat and pacify rusted creatures

While exploring the fragments of the planet, you might encounter aggressive creatures and have to fight them. Combat is, again, thought of as a couple’s experience. It’s pretty much necessary to coordinate Yu and Kay’s attacks, or have them protect each other.

Combat happens in real-time, but you charge orders by holding buttons. Sometimes you have to react quickly to shield yourself, sometimes you have to time an attack performed by both characters, and sometimes it’s better to chain attacks, one weakening the creature and the other dealing the heavy damage.

That combat system is thought to make you want to optimize your chain of actions so that everything flows, a bit like in a rhythm game. When you’ve found the right pace, it feels very satisfying to chain actions one after the other, minimizing the hits taken and maximising the damage to the rusted creatures.

At the end of the fight, the creatures are “pacified,” meaning they are cleaned from the rust and they go back to a peaceful state.

Cuddle and prepare for your next expedition

Eventually, you need to go back to your ship to either heal yourself, cook some tasty meals or bring back the stuff you found. The ship is called The Nest for a good reason: it’s a place for nesting.

In the Nest you can craft different things: cures for improving your health, combat capsules that’ll prove helpful against the rusted creatures, and of course you can cook delicious meals.

As the characters have meals, they are not hungry anymore (when they are hungry they complain and are less efficient in combat). But most importantly, cooking and having meals together is the time for bonding. Cooking, sharing a good meal and taking a little break is when they grow, as characters and as a couple. It develops their relationship, and leads to levelling up.

In Haven, you won’t gain that many experience points in combat, you gain more by just spending good time together. That really makes Haven different, as it’s usually skipped in RPGs. You never see your heroes in their intimity. In Haven, you do.


Be with them at all times

The story is a key element in Haven’s game experience. Are they going to settle quietly on that deserted planet? Will the Apiary find them and come to separate them?

But the pace of the story comes from that intertwined game experience of gliding together to explore the valleys of planet Source, fighting and pacifying creatures and coming back home for resting, cocooning and preparing the next expedition. All in all, Haven’s game experience is about living with Yu and Kay, every minute of their adventurous daily life.

We’re hard at work to finish the game and we will soon be able to let you know when you can play Haven, so stay posted!