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Visual Novel / Beyond Eden

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Victorian gentlemen, and how. Characters 

"Does the Fall await beyond Eden? Or..."

Beyond Eden is a Ren'Py-based BL visual novel, the inagural game of Korean developers Studio Pieplus, released in Korean in 2016 and English in 2017.

Nearing the end of the Victorian era, 26-year-old Alex Wake returns to Ashgrove Manor, where he'd spent years of his childhood, as a guest - with a thoroughly planned vengeance for a grievous wrong. Welcomed by the Edenics and their servants, he sets about his plot to unravel the family from within and "destroy everything inside that house". But even while Alex's vengeance progresses, as he is forced to understand and confront the targets of his hatred, he becomes increasingly troubled by the lingering hope of redemption.

Although the story is told primarily via male-male character relationships, including both sexual ones and strictly platonic/familial ones, romance is not the main focus. Beyond Eden explores subjects including dysfunctional familial relationships, abuse, and Victorian social divisions and mores. It has been compared to The Count of Monte Cristo in theme and structure.


A follow-up/spinoff, Beyond Eden: Dear Edward, was announced in 2018, with the release date as "some time in 2019".

Tropes found in Beyond Eden include:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • The Baron in his youth was both abusive and neglectful, breaking Joshua's leg in a fit of rage badly enough to give him a permanent limp, scarring Alex, and otherwise ignoring his children unless they assisted him in hunting. In the present, he has downgraded to "only" being neglectful.
    • Josephine Edenic also ignored the raising of her children to seek excitement in London, and on returning the two things she does are castigate Joshua for things out of his control (and Edward's fault), and try to poison Jeremy. Even before then, the tension in the relationship between her and her children could have been cut with a knife.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: Alex considers every Edenic, even the ones who were 1-2 years old at the time, to be responsible for Beth's death. Whether or not they were at all involved, they were guilty because they continued to live at Ashgrove, enjoying the "benefits" of nobility without trying to change their family's ways.
    • He also accuses Morris of this, as Morris had been the only adult who could have counseled the Baron to care for Beth more, and possibly prevent her from dying. The fact that Morris appeared to have done nothing (Alex would not have known as a child, either way) is a significant part of Alex's grudge against a man he otherwise considered a friend.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Alex carries out his revenge against both Oscar and Joshua by giving each one of these, backed by the threat of seizing Ashgrove from them for debt repayment.
    • Alex will amortize the debt against Ashgrove if Oscar can prove that even half of the Edenics are fundamentally good people - and punish Oscar by forcing him to let Alex "have his way with him" each time an Edenic proves themselves to be evil. Unfortunately for Oscar; Edward, the Baron, and Josephine all show themselves incorrigible in short order.
    • Alex promises Joshua he will halve the debt against Ashgrove if Joshua does three "favors" of Alex's choosing. The favors themselves are calculated to force Joshua to experience the worst fears and emotions he had avoided feeling for years, and Alex also forces him into bed to "commemorate" their pact.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Both played straight and subverted by various characters.
    • The Baron, Josephine, and Edward to a lesser extent are straight examples; each cares little for others, may be abusive or violent, and pursues their own pleasure above almost all else.
    • Oscar, Jeremy, and Laurence are subversions. Oscar himself is described by Alex as being the ideal example of nobility, holding authority while being completely aware of the responsibilities and requirements of his station.
  • Arranged Marriage: One between Catherine Hawke and either Oscar or Joshua Edenic, depending on whose route it is. No one involved has any illusions of love.

  • Artistic License – History: Mostly averted; the devs did a lot of research on Victorian Britain and the exact time period the game takes place in (including the failure of the Panama Canal project), so as to set the world and character relationships convincingly.
    • However, one hilarious example was explicitly called out by the devs themselves in the devblog. The fashion for mens' underwear in that time period was for either underpants down to the ankles, or even one-pieces which covered the wearer from neck to ankle, reminiscent of a modern onesie with an opening at the rear for ease of defecation. The devs realized that depicting this garment in a BL game would've destroyed any sense of sex appeal of the characters, and opted to ignore the problem of underwear entirely.
  • Batman Gambit: Alex carries out several plans based solely on his understanding of his targets' personal foibles and weaknesses.
    • In Morris's route, he manipulates Morris into blaming himself for a drunken sexual encounter Alex had been responsible for, using the doctor's sense of responsibility and trusting nature against him - then uses it to blackmail Morris into not opposing Alex's revenge.
    • In Oscar's route, he forces Oscar to confront Edward's faults by simply letting Edward out late at night, which would eventually reveal his gambling habits and disregard for authority while no blame was traceable to Alex himself.
    • In Theodore's route, Alex goads the butler into acting on his repressed attraction to Alex, trapping him in a cycle of sex and guilt and making him easier for Alex to control.
    • In one of Laurence's bad ends, Alex reveals that he could easily convince Laurence's family that Laurence had engaged in a forbidden tryst with Oscar, using Laurence's previous financial assistance of Oscar against him. Unwilling to destroy his trust with his own family, Laurence has no choice but to allow Alex to continue his revenge.
  • Best Friend: Both played straight and subverted by Laurence to Alex. Laurence is the closest current person to Alex; he is also someone Alex only considers a friend because he doesn't pry about anything in Alex's personal life and can be kept at a comfortable distance. Given this belief, Alex assumes Laurence only came to Ashgrove out of boredom; Laurence does his damndest to prove Alex wrong in his own route.
  • Best Served Cold: Alex Wake leaves Ashgrove around age 13, only returning 13 years later; he has been considering his vengeance roughly the entire time, but only gained enough power and status to enact it by his mid-20s.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Every good ending, for varying degrees of "bitter" and "sweet". In most routes, Alex has hurt at least one person, sometimes badly: these endings thus deal with the fallout of his actions and the possibility of atonement.
    • Oscar finally convinces Alex his regret is genuine and that forgiveness is possible, after Alex had all but broken him psychologically and shown him the ugly undercurrents within the family he loved. Their future is uncertain, but they share a piano duet willingly for the first time in years.
    • Joshua will never have his father's approval in the way he longed for, and will always be dogged by his injury, but has finally gained independence from Ashgrove and can seek his own life with Alex and learn how to find happiness.
    • Jeremy lost his family home, was told the ugly truth about his parentage, and was nearly poisoned by his "adoptive" mother, but succeeded in turning Alex back from destruction and helping him acknowledge that Beth might still have desired goodness instead of vengeance.
    • Morris was nonconsensually assaulted by Alex twice and had to face his own weakness in not being able to protect the Edenics, Beth, or even Alex himself. However, his forgiveness and sincerity to Alex finally convinced Alex to set aside revenge and try to live well, with Morris's help.
    • Laurence revealed Beth's human foibles and her love for the Baron, throwing Alex's entire life goal of vengeance into question, but will stay by Alex's side to help him learn to enjoy life again.
    • Theodore enabled Alex's full vengeance and cruelty against the Edenics. Although he swears loyalty to Alex by the end, Alex doesn't trust him at all and has already made plans to be rid of him once he outlives his usefulness.
  • Broken Bird: Joshua is a rare male example of this trope. He appears mature, well-spoken, and can be authoritative in Oscar's absence, but all of it stems from a deeply broken childhood and apathy borne from past trauma.
  • The Charmer: Laurence is a genuinely friendly, charming, and humorous young man who lends a breath of fresh air to any scene he appears in. He also apparently had to leave London in a hurry due to bedding a woman (or several) with angry guardians. His description in the official art book suggests he has incredible stamina in indulging in "merriments".
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Technically true for every romance interest except Laurence, as Alex had initially known and befriended Oscar, Joshua, Theodore, and Morris when he was 12. Of course, the intervening years ended up changing a lot of those relationships.
  • Children Are Innocent: Jeremy, as the youngest cast member in the present day (he is 14, but everyone else is much older), is the most angelic and kind of the cast with an almost naive trust in humanity.
    • At a more meta level, most of the evil in the story is perpetuated by adults. Although Oscar and Alex's conflict began when they were children, it was initially a complete misunderstanding resulting from the Baron's abuse.
  • Delirious Misidentification: After drinking too much while considering his impending divorce, Morris dreams of his wife while mistaking Alex for her, and tries to initiate sex with "her". Alex is only momentarily startled before he takes the opportunity and runs with it, creating a situation in which Morris would blame himself, which could be used to Alex's advantage.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Alex will use outright rape and blackmail to progress his plans, but never against Jeremy. He also makes an effort to keep those unaffiliated with the Edenics out of the way of his revenge until they choose to oppose him.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: It's ambiguous whether every one of Alex's targets is bi or gay (unlikely, but not impossible), or if Alex is just so attractive and skillful that he can cause arousal in them regardless, on top of everything he does to hurt them.
  • Fatal Flaw: Exploiting this in impressively cruel ways for each of his targets makes up a large part of Alex's revenge.
    • Oscar's staunch sense of responsibility and devotion to his family causes him to try to take on everything himself, even when it starts to break him due to Alex's machinations.
    • Joshua trained himself to essentially desire and expect nothing so as to avoid disappointment and pain, but can't avoid still caring for animals - which Alex can either allow or exploit to cause immense suffering.
    • Jeremy's innocence and naivete causes him pain once Alex peels off the veneer of respectability his parents tried to maintain.
    • Morris's difficulty taking action is twisted back on him when Alex prevents him from doing anything in a situation he might actually have been able to change.
    • Theodore is incredibly competent and controlled until something causes his control to snap; after being on the receiving end of this once, Alex decides to make use of it.
    • Laurence was not one of Alex's original targets, but in one bad route, Alex was able to use Laurence's devotion to his own family to prevent him from helping the Edenics.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Oscar, the dutiful first son responsible for running all of Ashgrove and managing the family's fortunes, and Edward, the wild third son who was expelled from school for an unknown incident and seems content to spend his days gambling and practicing shooting. Their conflicts are manipulated and exploited by Alex in multiple routes.
  • Good Is Not Dumb:
    • Morris is portrayed by Alex's internal narration as weak, ineffectual, and only concerned with his own job security, and his seeming willingness to remain in denial of Alex's revenge - despite Alex telling him to his face - didn't help this impression. In reality, Morris was secretly working against Alex's plans while also trying to find a way to save Alex from his own vengeful obsession. These conflicting desires meant he couldn't easily stand up to Alex until the very end.
    • Jeremy is innocent, kind, and naive, but neither stupid nor in denial; even after going through enough by the end of his route to depress anyone, he is able to acknowledge his own previous naivete, promise to face his family's troubles face-on, and even convince Alex to believe in him.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Alex and Oscar, though the usual trope is played with. Black-haired Alex appears the picture of jovial cordiality on the surface (while being intensely emotionally driven and having the very definition of a dark past), while Oscar, who is blond, is stoic and self-controlled to the point of having difficulty expressing his feelings, but also friendly and genuine when he can open up.
  • I Gave My Word: After accepting Alex's "bargain" for amortizing the debt on Ashgrove, Oscar forces himself through each of Alex's punishments entirely because of this.
  • Likes Older Men: Alex explicitly tells Morris this twice during his route. While it could've been taken as flattery or reassurance, Alex's backstory shows he was no stranger to seeking out older men for flings during college.
  • The Lost Lenore: Beth is revealed to be this for the Baron, despite Alex's assumption that the Baron had never truly cared for her. Alex has a lot of trouble admitting this, but it's patently obvious in almost any interaction the Baron has with Jeremy, or anything involving Beth's memory.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Alex Wake is a great example of this in a visual novel protagonist. His entire role in the story is to force the Edenics into conflict with each other, using primarily his knowledge of their flaws and faults.
  • The Mole: Theodore had been biding his time to support Alex against the Edenics for nearly as long as Alex had plotted revenge. No one including Alex himself was aware of this.
  • Morality Pet: Jeremy to Alex; while acting as a good uncle, Alex ends up forgetting - for half of Jeremy's route - that he was supposed to be taking revenge on the Edenics.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Baron, after Beth's suicide. Although regret didn't change his entire personality, he became the loving father to Jeremy that he'd never been to any other of his sons.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Morris reveals that this was part of why he continued to believe in Alex despite everything Alex did to hurt him: he'd felt guilty for not being able to protect Alex and Beth for the last 13 years, so on seeing a chance to help Alex away from his path of destruction, he couldn't ignore it.
    • In his good end, Jeremy becomes this to Alex by willingly accepting Alex as his kin, and reminding him of the kindness and joy that Beth once embodied, thus giving Alex someone to protect once again.
    • On some level, Alex's return to Ashgrove is this for almost everyone who had cared about him 13 years ago.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Alex only cares about staying alive for the sake of revenge, and otherwise has a frankly alarming disregard for his own well-being. He dies in three routes, as follows:
    • In one, he explicitly stated he had expected to be murdered at some point; he just hadn't thought it would be so soon.
    • In another, he happily goaded his killer into shooting him.
    • In the last, even while he lay dying of poison, his thoughts were only of pity for his poisoner's suicidal approach; he sounded almost indignant that his poisoner didn't "do the smart thing" and get away scot-free for killing him.
  • Not If I Enjoyed It Rationalization: Inverted from the usual. Alex has no illusions about his use of rape to intimidate Morris, but Morris is so confused by having enjoyed the experience that he begins to wonder whether Alex had feelings for him (and whether he himself reciprocated them). Alex takes full advantage of this. Thankfully, he eventually develops genuine respect and affection for Morris by the good end, and Morris is willing to forgive Alex's past actions and become his paramour.
  • The Patriarch: A villainous example in the Baron. Oscar, having taken up his father's responsibilities in the present day, tries to be a heroic version of this, but doesn't know how to handle Edward's rebellion against his well-meaning guidance.
  • Parental Neglect: The Baron's neglect of his children and responsibilities is the source of a significant amount of each of the Edenics' trauma.
    • Oscar, as the eldest son, had to take on almost all the responsibility of watching over his brothers and the household, which led to friction between him and his brothers (who are not that much younger than him).
    • Joshua's seeking of his father's approval became nearly pathological, as after his injury and loss of his horse (at his father's hands) he had little else to strive towards, but the Baron never cared to acknowledge him, treating him as instead "something he had broken".
    • Edward grew up with little supervision, except by Oscar, and developed a wild streak and rebellious bent.
    • Averted by Jeremy. The Baron doted on him like he did none of the rest of his children, and as a result Jeremy grew up loved, emotionally resilient, and genuinely kind - in contrast to all of his brothers' emotional troubles.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Or at least hurts many, many people.
    • Alex and Oscar's grudges against each other began from Joshua's injury, and although the Baron was responsible Oscar ended up blaming Alex for provoking him, not realizing Alex had also been injured. Alex, in turn, couldn't easily defend himself when the one to blame was Oscar's own father.
    • Later, after Beth's death and Alex had left Ashgrove, Alex repeatedly sent back Oscar's letters unread. This led to Oscar thinking Alex only wished to forget everything, while Alex remained unaware of Oscar's honest desire to atone for his actions - leading to the building up of his resentment and eventual vengeance.
    • Beth and Alex's distance grew due to both of their difficulty approaching each other after a point; Alex thought Beth's troubles would be too grown up for her to want his help, and Beth was afraid she had changed too much and was no longer someone Alex wanted to speak to.
  • Psycho Supporter: Theodore is possibly the only other person in favor of Alex's revenge. He's also prone to snapping if his assistance is rejected, more murder-happy than Alex, and his fanatical "support" manages to go so far that it ruins Alex's plans for revenge in several endings.
  • Really Gets Around: This is Victorian Britain, so female promiscuity is scandalous at best. However, Catherine Hawke's brand of it is treated a lot more sympathetically than Josephine Edenic's by both the narration and in-story.
    • Catherine is known to "kiss as often as she greets others", and had apparently slept with both Alex and Laurence before the events of the game. However, she is also intelligent and witty, showing concern for the Edenics during Josephine's poison attempts, and her sexuality reads as an expression of her independence and desire to not be tied to a man.
    • In contrast, Josephine Edenic's incautious affairs and preference for younger men led to rumors which damaged her family's reputation. She even effectively propositions Alex, who she once knew as a child and who is currently a guest in her own home; even Oscar couldn't deny how morally corrupt she had been in doing so.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Morris in both the past and present, as the only grown-up that child Alex considered respectable and could go to for advice and friendship. Oscar in the present, as the one in charge of the Edenic household; he tries his best to guide his brothers, and is still willing to give Alex the benefit of the doubt despite knowing Alex's grudge.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Alex's grievance for the death of his sister is technically against the Baron and Oscar only. However, Alex explicitly wants to inflict on them the same pain of losing their family that he had once suffered, and thus he targets the entire Edenic family.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Every adult male, because this is Victorian Britain. Possibly averted by Morris, who is called out in the text as being haphazard about his attire, but since the only thing his sprite is missing is a carefully done tie, it doesn't really register to modern viewers.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Morris, after a consensual encounter, with a pipe.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Alex to Jeremy, in the worst ending of Jeremy's route, in order to satisfy his own conviction that everyone with Edenic blood could be driven to violence and become irredeemable.
  • Taking You with Me: Closer to "taking me with you". In Morris's bad route, he fatally poisons both Alex and himself; Alex to stop him from hurting the Edenics further, and himself because he couldn't live with killing Alex.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Alex Wake is noticeably darker-skinned than the rest of the cast, raven-haired, and according to the official artbook, taller than everyone. He's also incredibly good looking for a protagonist.
  • Tell Me About My Mother: After Josephine Edenic drops the bombshell of Jeremy's parentage on him, Alex shows a rare moment of compassion by comforting Jeremy with stories of his birth mother.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Alex Wake himself. At one point in Theodore's route, Theodore ends up tying Alex down and assaulting him in a fit of fury. Alex considered it exciting that a servant was treating him so roughly, and went on to goad Theodore to do it more often as a way to control Theodore's actions.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Exactly what happened to Alex and Beth that inspired his fury against the Edenics is told only through flashbacks to his childhood, interspersed throughout each character's route.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Absolutely necessary for several of the good endings to be possible. The best example is possibly Morris, who forgave Alex for sexually assaulting him twice and was still willing to dedicate himself to helping Alex.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid:
    • Joshua was a caring, protective young boy before his father broke his leg in a fit of rage and caused the death of a horse he cared for like family, leading to him growing up apathetic and unwilling to feel.
    • Theodore was once a shy, myopic boy who tagged along as almost-equals with the Edenics and Alex. The events that happened afterwards caused him to cling to a singleminded promise while growing up resenting his lower social status, turning him into the competent, literate, and repressed-to-the-point-of-breaking butler he is in the present.
    • Alex as a child had a strong sense of justice and was willing to stand up to adults for the sake of his friends and family, no matter the cost to himself. This part of his personality did not change as he grew; instead, it came to drive his all-consuming desire for vengeance.
    • In Morris's good end, he reveals he'd once respected Alex for having more moral backbone than he himself did, and that he still held out hope for Alex to remember that side of himself.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Laurence warns Alex that this is what would become of him even if he were to succeed in everything he plots. He's proven right at the conclusion of one of his bad endings.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Alex with most of the targets of his revenge.
    • Oscar and Alex were closest during their childhood, being similar in age; then Oscar went away to boarding school and came back seemingly determined to be a snobby aristocrat, including blaming Alex for Joshua's injury and insulting Beth. He gets better almost immediately as a result of Beth's death, but Alex is unable to accept his overtures due to multiple miscommunications, and their relationship becomes almost irreversibly broken.
    • Alex used to consider Joshua almost as a younger brother, complete with sibling protectiveness. After Alex ran afoul of the Baron for Joshua's sake, and Joshua was badly injured defending him, neither knew how to communicate with the other, and Alex's affection for Joshua eventually became twisted by his overall hatred against the Edenics.
    • Theodore had once been playmates with both the Edenic children and Alex, but after the series of events that ended with Alex leaving Ashgrove, he was simply left behind to continue being a servant. Though he pushed himself to become literate and competent enough to become the Edenics' butler, he remained separated from everyone by status.
    • Morris and Alex's break only happened after Alex's return, once Alex revealed his desire for vengeance and Morris tried to protect the Edenics (arousing Alex's ire, because Morris hadn't seemed so willing to protect Beth ten years ago). Despite hurting and blackmailing Morris to force him into compliance, Alex feels some regret at having lost a friend with whom he could chat over drinks.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Baron, to his own children.

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