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Self-censorship is imposed (at least in my case) due to some moral obligation, or perhaps feelings of insecurity. Of course, in many cases it could be an effort, of the artist's own volition, to comply with regulations per age ratings (with regard to movies and/or video games) in order to maximize profit. But the self-censorship I'll be discussing today deals more with personal insecurity.

Beginning with E1, Romeo originally sported a much more flamboyant design that may or may not have influenced the character of Troy in the same game. Ondine was also originally male, so... you can see where that might have led. A remnant of the male Ondine may have been preserved in the background character of Sir Celius, who barely has a place in the plot at all. Pica was initially male, as well.

Near the end of the game, in the initial version of E1 that I released, Leonardo states to Luminaya, "I don't feel like a grown man... I don't feel like I ever grew up." Before it was released, however, the word "grown" wasn't there, and, realizing the alternative connotations, I quickly shoved it in. In the recent update that cleans up the text a little, I removed it because I wanted to represent the original intent as faithfully as possible. I was simply putting myself into my work.


Back to Troy, he did have a semblance of redemption, but only in death, where we see that he was damaged goods, a bright and shining soul that had been tragically corrupted by Emperor Fiyara's abuse. But in the name of moral obligation, he could only obtain this clarity in death. The series is rife with such characters and themes, perhaps most prominently in E3 (which currently exists only in writing). E3 was very, very special to me because, in writing the story and characters, I pulled no punches, letting out everything that's within me with liberal generosity.


At one point, Nevena and Dia were to get married in the ending, and that was that. As I began to ponder the reality of the game's inevitable creation, I rewrote it so that in the end, Nevena sacrifices herself for Dia and literally plummets to Hell. I eventually realized how much that sucks, and changed it back. Then I got the idea to build the story around multiple outcomes, just in case some might be averse. As another example, I went to great, painstaking lengths to reverently portray Nalin's loving relationship with Erin in E1. But it couldn't last forever, and of course, Erin then falls upon a man's shoulders (Boaz). Now Boaz is a pretty cool guy, one of my best-written characters if I may say so, so it's not too egregious.

Skipping forward, from its inception, E5 included characters like Cleo and Wald. There was also a butch character originally; she was axed not due to self-censorship, but because I wasn't satisfied with her character arc, wishing to focus instead on my strengths. In any case, these stories truly gave meaning to E5's subtitle. Wald was a closet cross-dresser from the earliest stages of the plot, but over the years this diminished. Later on, I revisited the plot point and fleshed it out while searching myself. Again it left my mind as I struggled internally, and at one point, I seriously considered deleting all documentation on the matter. Thank goodness, I didn't, and instead poured more of myself into it than ever. I'm glad I did.

In E2, I felt compelled to shoehorn some dirty jokes because, as I wrote in my coming out essay, I was trying so hard to be something I wasn't, and it sorely showed. I was overcompensating for my apparent lack of "masculinity" or "machismo" that I felt the pathetic need to prove how edgy I was (but really wasn't). Thankfully, when I came to terms with myself, this burden was also lifted. I had nothing more to prove. I am what I am, and it shows in my work. It always has, and I'm happy about that now. But as these musings attest, it wasn't always that way.

In closing, I hope this has provided a little insight into my creative process, and revealed just how toxic the concept of self-denial is. It doesn't only affect you, it affects the way you treat other people, the way you see the world itself. By exploring these integral themes of psychology and processing the associated emotions, I was able to gain insight into what I had been dealing with, and ultimately heal from the distress I'd harbored for years. Another person's healing process may be quite different. Regardless, it's never good for you to suppress any part of yourself, especially your creative output. For many, myself included, it could be the only outlet you have.

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