Frail Hearts

Frail Hearts: a mix of a JRPG and a visual novel about self-acceptance made by a non-binary person

Frail Hearts: Versicorae Domlion is a mystical mix between a JRPG and a visual novel telling a story about 4 troubled souls placed in the dark city of Gris. Being completely different people, they have to understand and accept themselves to find inner freedom.

Frail Hearts is made by an Italian indie developer Kristian Sinzar Hafner who has chosen to use she/her as pronouns and refer to herself as Fiore (it. — a flower). She is 30 years old and lives in Bolzano, Italy. Fiore has a degree in etching and graphic arts and finds goth aesthetic and its influences, such as romanticism and the scripts from the 19th century era, wholly fascinating. The game was born as a small school project while she was studying as a concept designer.

Frail Hearts heavily focuses on love and acceptance, but does so in a fairly gloomy setting full of terrible creatures which the player will face while exploring Gris. This is how the experience of toxic relationships with relatives and society influenced the imagination of the Creator.

“From a positive point of view, I was able to meet many different kinds of people and visit as many places all over the world as possible. This helped me a lot in understanding others, appreciating different cultures and realizing that life is not made of white or black only” — says Fiore — “Beyond hardships, this context made me aware of my needs and that, outside of that world, I could find my place to be”.

The story of the game is about evolution. A story of broken people forced to turn into something new, for better or for worse. It seems like all that comes around they live in constant dread brought to their lives by the impossibility to change the inner prison they live in. Because one of them avoids facing the world, the second doesn’t want to see what surrounds him, the third one doesn’t want to grow up, and the last one keeps running away from herself. They are unable to change. And the main protagonist, Alexis, which Fiore associates herself with, is the only entity able to make them face their inner demons… in his own way. He is a kind of “necessary evil”.

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Please meet the cast of misfits starring in this drama.

One of the characters in the game is Michael O’Glory, a gangster who lived a difficult life on the outskirts of the city. He is trapped between a common toxic masculine attitude and love for Gabriel, his only friend and family. He tries to reject his feelings because of his inability to accept them. But at the beginning of the story, Gabriel dies and that creates some irreplaceable void in his heart. After such a terrible loss he starts to search for something that could ease that suffering. This is how his spiritual transformation begins.

“The game provides me with the possibility to change the world in which i live,” — says Fiore — “Frail Hearts is the path I’ve found in order to exit from the reality I don’t fit in, just like a bird escaping from a golden cage. While its development was hurtful, it helped me (and I hope others as well) to endure the last two years… to realize what could come after the pandemic. I really wish it will become the starting point for more stories to tell and worlds to create”.

Other characters like Anne and Arthur are both heterosexual, but they show a certian difficulty in sharing feelings and becoming aware of others’ needs. Also, they have supportive families, not a common trait for many. Nun Cathrine, on the other side, faithfully believes in God and loves all people – despite going through the horrors of the war.

The game makes the players think that their attitude would never change during their story but, depending on the two different endings in the game, the player will also determine what outcome they will face. Personal growth is the key to the characters’ adventures, and sooner or later they will be able and ready to make their choices.

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