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Visual Novel / Because We're Here

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One morning, everything changes for postwoman Elfriede Rauss: war is declared between her home country, Wesslinger, and Leyland. The cause is a dispute over a fertile parcel of a small neighboring land, Vermorel, also to be the site of the battlefield, but the politics are almost irrelevant. Having been called to come defend their country, the small town of Brachsburg raises up in joy, eager to do their part - but Elfriede, almost alone, is worried. Will this war really be the dashing, man-making affair her childhood friend assumes it will be? But if her gut is right, what awaits them are horrors beyond their understanding.

Because We're Here is a brutal Otome Game Visual Novel set in a World War I-inspired fictional land, about a young woman finding her way through the evils of war - and just maybe finding something to make living all worth it. Act I of four was released on July 19 2018, with Act II planned to be released in June 2019.


Because We're Here contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Actual Pacifist: Marius, who used to be a boxer, but who believes that political violence is somethine else entirely, and so took on a job as a stretcher-bearer. Elfriede notes that, as he has to enter No-Man's Land unarmed, he's probably braver than anyone. Compare Gottfried and Gerhardt, who also avoid active combat, but for less selfless reasons.
  • Character Development: Each of the three characters we meet before they sign up as soldiers - August, Wolf, and Eugen - have changed immeasurably when Elfriede finally manages to see them again six months later.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The first half drips with Dramatic Irony, in which characters openly celebrate at the prospect of joining the war, and even the good characters get involved with bullying a draft-dodger. More subtly, Elfriede doesn't blink when Marius says that the point of being a soldier is to protect women, nor does anyone when Gerhardt protests at being lumped in with the disabled.
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  • Dirty Coward: Gerhardt is seen by the townspeople as this for refusing to sign up. Elfriede however is much more sympathetic, even if his route isn't taken, and the narrative ultimately portrays his choice as entirely understandable.
  • Draft Dodging: Gerhardt, who evades service for reasons he refuses to explain (though he eventually admits it's partially because he's terrified of going to war). As happened in real life, he is abused by the rest of the town for refusing to step up, leading to him eventually becoming a shut-in. Gottfried also elects to become a war artist with the intention of avoiding battle by painting propaganda of the home front, only to be sent to paint in the trenches instead. As Elfriede points out and he admits, he probably would've been safer if he hadn't tried to pull a fast one.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Helmut, who was stricken with polio at a young age and so is too physically incapable to fight.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Before the beginning of the story, Wolf, a petty thief, punches his employer Eugen in the face. Eugen however insists that once they join up as soldiers together, they will become bonded under a single shared cause. August and Elfriede are more skeptical, but it actually does happen - when she reunites with them six months later, they have become something like friends. This doesn't apply to all soldiers, however - Walter is too unsettling and mean to get this benefit.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: By the end of Act I, by far the shortest act, not only has all optimism been completely sapped from the cast, an unexpected attack has left Eugen blinded, Wolf shell-shocked, and August, who had been portrayed to the letter as the main love interest, is dead.
  • First-Name Basis: Otto to the privates, despite being a Lance-Corporal, because he earned his rank mainly just because he outlived a bunch of people and so doesn't feel like a superior at all. Elfriede accidentally addresses Horst by his first name when they first meet, too - despite being even more unprepared for his rank, actually being the youngest in the cast, Horst attempts to create a more disciplined atmosphere and isn't particularly pleased. If Elfriede chooses to give August's brooch to him, she wil run through her head all of the many complicated and personal reasons why he is her best choice, before saying out loud that it's merely an apology for using his first name earlier.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Non-romantic example - Helmut is intensely jealous of everyone who is able to go fight in the war while he is left alone, manning a home guard that everyone knows is useless. Even when Elfriede tells him she will be becoming a field postman, it takes him a moment to bite back his jealousy and support her.
  • Home by Christmas: Referenced by name, of course. The story begins in July, with Elfriede's first trip into the trenches taking place six months later in January, but even as she admits they had been a bit optimistic with that earlier, she's still completely unprepared when told the war could go on for years.
  • Large Ham: Even after seeing the war for himself, Eugen has a tendency to speak in an unnecessarily dramatic way. August also gets in on this briefly in his excitement at the declaration of war.
  • Lovable Coward: Gottfried positions himself as this, openly wearing the title of coward. However, he's more dedicated to his job than he first lets on.
  • The Medic: Marius.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: It's never questioned even for a moment that Elfriede won't be able to fight. In fact, the reason why she is able to become a field postman is because her earlier male counterparts were eventually asked to become soldiers instead.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Walter believes that anybody who isn't fully determined to lay down their life for Wessling is a traitor. Wolf also shows stripes of this before the trenches, saying that fighting for a country is something he can understand.
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  • Nice Guy: Most notably August, but a number of guys also qualify.
  • Only Sane Man: Only Elfriede and Gerhardt were willing to question the glory of the war before it happned, although Eugen privately admitted some doubts beforehand.
  • Patient Childhood Love Interest: It's clear to everyone that August has been in love with Elfriede for ages but has never been able to make a move. When the war begins, he finds his motivation. Then he dies horribly. If you take his route, he dies while he and Elfriede are about to kiss.
  • Period Piece: Is essentially this for 1910s Europe, despite technically being set in a fictional world.
  • Propaganda Machine: Gottfried is hired to paint the war, and openly admits that he's encouraged to be inspiring more than accurate.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Horst, the son of a cabinet minister, was sent to war as a private precisely to avoid the appearance of this.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The bomb blast which results in August's death and Eugen's blindness causes this in Wolf. It's mentioned that many other soldiers have fared similarly, and that it isn't considered a reason to send them home.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: It's implied that Elfriede was ready to return August's feelings right before he died. May also occur depending on whose route the player chooses.
  • Story Branching: A typical trope for visual novels, with one big difference: The game explicitly tells you that taking a character's route will not change their role in the overall story. August, for example, dies whether you take his route or not.
  • Survivor Guilt: Elfriede decides to become a field postwoman partially as a form of penance for accidentally creating the circumstances in which August was killed, Eugen blinded, and Wolf struck with shell-shock.
  • The Stoic: Horst von Sankt most obviously, though most of the characters seem pulled in this direction as a result of the unending awfulness of their situation.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Wolf post shell shock.
  • The Unfettered: Out of the entire cast, Otto is the only one who isn't particularly bothered by the increadible loss of life surrounding him - in fact, as a Malthusian, he views the war as more like a necessary natural phenomena. As a result he treats his current actions as little different to when he shot his rifle for hunting, and is more easygoing by far than anyone else.
  • War Is Glorious: The view of a number of characters early on, particularly Eugen, who venerates his aristocratic family's wartime legacy. It doesn't last.
  • War Is Hell: The main theme.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Many of the characters were optimistic about the war, but none more than plucky young August, who saw it as the opportunity he needed to make himself a man worthy of Elfriede... to the extent that he was reluctant even to think about having to actually kill somebody. Dory, who doesn't appear in Act I, is also this way; his character title is 'Someone Else's August'.

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