With another year in the books, we’d like to once again wish everyone a happy New Year from us here at Studio Élan. Even compared to past years, this one really flew by.
We started it off having just released Please Be Happy, and beginning work for Summer at the Edge of the Universe. In March, we launched our Kickstarter campaign to produce physical copies of our games and artbooks, which we shipped out later in the year in July. In June, we sponsored OffKai Expo, where we had a booth and panel along with Virtuality Project. A couple months later, we released the final episode of National Park Girls, marking the end of a multi-year development period. Only a couple weeks after that, we were back with 2023’s Élan Festival, where we announced some new merch and… announcements. We ended off the month of October with the release of Twofold, another game that’s been in development for a long, long time. Now, we’re here! Phew.
Thinking back, it’s kind of insane just how much we managed to accomplish in 2023. Everyone worked really hard on everything, and the results speak for themselves. We couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve done. Of course, 2024 is looking to be just as busy, if not more. If all goes well, we’ll be releasing at least one game this year – maybe even more than one. You can look forward to more news on Our Home, My Keeper, as well as Lock & Key: A Magical Girl Mystery. We’ll be holding a Kickstarter campaign for the latter of those two sometime this year.
Of course, our next big, big project will be Summer at the Edge of the Universe, the solarpunk visual novel. After first announcing this one back in early 2020, we had to put it on the shelf for a while in order to work on Please Be Happy and some other stuff. But now, we’re finally here and working on it, and it’s already shaping up to be something special.
Although that’s true for every game we make, this one is already something different. It’s our biggest game to date, in terms of concept and scope. There are three different routes, and each one will have a variety of different planets to explore and unique characters to meet. After doing a lot of slice-of-life and modern fantasy stories, it’s refreshing to be working on something truly out there and different.
That’s why we’re really excited to publicly share the demo of the game with you all today! It can be downloaded from Steam or itch.io. It’s roughly as long as the Please Be Happy demo was – about 18,000 words, or 2-4 hours of playtime depending on your reading speed. We’ve been refining this demo with feedback from our Patreon members and streamers over the past couple months, and we think you’re all gonna love this one too. Check out the breathtaking new key visual by the game’s character artist adirosa.
Just like with the PBH demo, there’s a link at the end to a survey where you can leave us your thoughts on what you played. We read every single one, and can’t wait to see what you think.
Those aren’t the only games we have in the works, too. At basically all times, we have an unannounced project or two in our back pockets, just waiting to be shared. To start off this year, we’re going to be offering our Patreon members an exclusive glimpse into one of these new worlds…
Join our Patreon at the “Demo Access” (※ USD $15) tier or higher to access a demo for a new game — you can find out more about it (including the title of the game!) here.
Finally, at the end of this beginning, we’d like to finish this post with some messages from our team. Thank you for another year of your support of us and what we do. We’re grateful for each and every one of you, and can’t wait for you all to see what comes next.
Looking back on something at the very end makes time feel like it flew by so fast, even if in the moment it didn’t. We had a lot of “firsts” this year, our most notable probably the Kickstarter for physical copies of our games. We were confident (albeit still nervous) that it would hit the goal but we were blown away by how much it shot past the initial goal. Physical merch is a dream for any creative. I say it every year, but really, we could not be doing what we love without your support. Everyone at Élan is passionate about yuri & queer games, but passion only takes you so far—you consistently showing up and validating what we make is what allows us to keep moving forward. If you see art you enjoy, let the creator know it. Your voice is more impactful than you’ll ever realize. We have a lot more planned for 2024 and I hope you’ll all enjoy it! Plenty more cute girls to meet and fall for – Arimia
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Another year has passed… Every year it feels like I’m running nonstop, looking only ahead at each new thing on my to-do list, and this year was no different. I lived through 2021 and 2022 with a constant stream of ‘when PBH is finished and out, when PBH is finished and out’ and at the end of last year, we finally released PBH. Somehow despite not having a PBH to release, it was still so busy and there’s yet still so much left I want to do. Congratulations to Syon and the NPG development team for the completion of the National Park Girls series. Congratulations to the staff of Twofold, and especially Caps and Theo for the release of Twofold. It’s been an honor to watch such monumental and important chapters of my friends’ lives come to a close, and I’m excited for what comes next.
I’ve been endlessly proud of my friends this year, and maybe this year I can be a little proud of myself too. I’ll keep working hard, and I hope you all love what we’ve got in store. Thank you and see you again next year! – adi
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I swear I was just writing the 2022 retrospective a few days ago. Time truly is an inescapable black hole. With the completion of National Park Girl’s six year production, and Twofold’s eleven year production, this is a fact I’ve had to reckon with more and more. So many chapters of my life coming to a close, and with them, new uncertainties abounding. Not for long, though. The great thing about this job is that there’s always something right over yonder, thank Melanie. Summer is the next big push, the next summit. We’re all firmly on that hike now. But between now and then, there’s going to be other peaks I’m excited to reach. The Highway Blossoms light novel, for one. Plus all the things we have in our back pocket that we haven’t announced yet. All of this combined points to 2024 being our busiest year yet, and every day that promise inches ever forward. – Syon
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Another year in the books, huh? Time sure does fly. 2023 was an especially difficult year for me for several reasons, including major surgery that took me out of the game for a while. But I’m back now and ready to keep up our wonderful work!
Speaking of wonderful work, I am SO PROUD of the Twofold and National Park Girls teams for releasing their long-awaited games so the whole world can enjoy them!!! Mazel tov to everyone involved!
This year we also announced Lock and Key’s rebirth! Our magical journey is being rebuilt with new art, new design, new scenes, and new choices. Please look forward to our kickstarter in 2024!
To all my fellow Élan members: thank you. I couldn’t have gotten through this year without your support. And of course, thank you to everyone out there who played and enjoyed our games this year! 2024 will bring you even more wonderful yuri, so stay tuned!
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2023 was a year of milestones. My first full year officially under Élan (though no matter how much time passes, I’ll always have to copy/paste the “É”) also marked the release of two projects I’d been involved with for a long time: National Park Girls, which I had been involved with for six years, and of course Twofold, which had been pretty much the center of my life for eleven. Looking into the horizon, there’s already a fair amount on my plate, though at times I still find myself feeling sort of aimless with long-standing constants in my life now in the rear-view mirror. With so many exciting things starting to form from everyone here, I’m optimistic that feeling will be easy to shake off. I hope to see you there. – caps
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2023 was my first year officially as part of Studio Élan, and so much has happened here in just the one year — not just for myself, but for everyone.
The full release of Twofold went gold 2 months ago after multiple years of hard work from everyone on the development team, and the final episode of National Park Girls was released 3 months ago, concluding the story that was started all the way back in 2019. Congratulations to everyone involved on each title for achieving these significant milestones!
As for me, I worked on Please Be Happy, Highway Blossoms, Heart of the Woods, Summer at the Edge of the Universe, as well as many more things that are coming up behind the scenes. From things like making major overhaul updates, to mastering and shipping physical PC releases, and even working on the PS5/PS4/Switch releases for Heart of the Woods, 2023 was a very eventful year. It’s an honour for me to be able to work with and help out all the amazing people here at Élan.
Looking to 2024, there’s a lot coming up that I’m excited about — please look forward to it!
As always, thank you all for supporting Studio Élan!
〜 Karen/あけみ (akemin_dayo)
(※ Also, here’s an Akemi Tech Tip™ for all you macOS users reading this: You can type the É in Élan by pressing Alt-E, then typing E!)
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I think I can safely say that 2023 was one of the best years of my life. While the lows were very low, the highs were enough to make them practically irrelevant. Every year that I get to keep working on these games with this team is such a joy. I really couldn’t ask for any more. I also think I’m more excited than ever with what we have coming up in 2024 and beyond, especially Samayuni. I’m optimistic in a way I didn’t know I still could be, after doing this for almost a decade. I’m happy to be wrong sometimes. Meeting people at OffKai Expo who had heard of us and were excited to meet us was insane. Thanks to everyone who’s played one of our games this year, or talked about us or watched a stream. Please keep following us – I know that it’ll be worth it. – Josh
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Wait, 2023’s ALREADY OVER? It felt like it just started! In all seriousness though… Wow, what a year! I was fortunate enough to see the release of two incredible games at Studio Élan: the finale of National Park Girls, and the long-awaited Twofold… Both of these titles had an impressive amount of love and care poured into them, and I’m happy that the whole world can now experience these beautiful stories. (By the way, I cried a lot over Twofold – it hits like a sack of bricks!) As one of the social media managers, I learned a lot of things this year with the Élan team. This was especially true in the last quarter of 2023, where I made mountains of TikToks in short periods of time. I feel like I’ve done a ton of strength training – but for video editing instead of my muscles! I hope I can continue to put these skills to good use next year… for the sake of our yuri nation… Now, I’m very excited to see what 2024 has for us over the horizon. Big surprises are waiting… and of course, more girls kissing! Yuri forever… – Mado