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Visual Novel / Lucid9

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Lucid9 is a freeware mystery Visual Novel developed by Fallen Snow Studios using Ren'Py. It is being released in three separate chapters and is currently a work in progress.

Yama Ishimoto is a cynical high school student who would like nothing more than to breeze through life without any drama. After a string of student disappearances in his home city of Isamu, however, Yama finds himself slowly dragged into a world of intrigue and danger.

The first chapter, Inciting Incident, was released on April 14th 2016, and consists of the entirety of the common route. The second chapter, which splits off into the different heroine routes and takes place 3 years after the events of Inciting Incident, is currently in development, but no release date has been announced as of yet. The third chapter, corresponding to a True Route, has also been planned for future release. In late December of 2019, the development team released the Lucid9 Heroine Prologues, which act as a teaser for the heroine routes and can only be accessed after Inciting Incident is complete.


A fully voiced version of Inciting Incident is also in development. It was originally planned for a 2017 release, but was delayed several times due to numerous difficulties in casting and resources. On January 19th 2021, a standalone build of the game patched with the voiceovers of Inciting Incident's first three days was made available for direct download. It is tentatively planned for the chapter's full voiceover to be patched to the Steam and versions of the game later in the year.

Heavy spoilers below, read at your own risk!


Provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Late into the game, we actually get a scene told from Rui's perspective (though Yama doesn't appear), shortly before she is kidnapped by the murderer. Later, all 4 heroine prologues play out like this (from the perspectives of Elizabeth, Airi, Akira, and Misaki.)
  • The Ace: Masato and Elizabeth are the top students in the school academically, and Masato is a track athlete on top of that.
  • Amusement Park: Yama and company manage to convince the good detective that there may be important clues at the amusement park. It's just an excuse to have a good time, of course.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Invoked by name in Shigure's trailer.
    "Yet, there is unfortunate credence to the saying "Be careful what you wish for"
  • Big Eater: In one scene in the lunch cafeteria, Airi eats both her own meal and Yahiko's meal after Yahiko comes over to try to flirt with her.
  • Bilingual Bonus: At one point, when Yama admits he's never heard of Patter, Misaki asks him if he's been living under a rock. Yama replies that technically, that is what his name would imply. This is because Yama's last name, Ishimoto, means "one who lives near a rock" in Japanese.
  • Bland-Name Product: Aikon phones are revered for their toughness, the main characters often eat at General Fried Chicken and dorm manager Mr. Ryouta nostalgically remembers his old iPear computer. The characters also use Patter as their primary social media platform, though Yama hasn't heard of it before the game takes place.
  • Bridal Carry: Early on, at one point Rui trips and sprains her ankle, so Yama ends up having to carry her bridal style on their way to school. However, she is then able to just walk into school without a problem—it turns out her ankle wasn't actually sprained, it was a plan of Akira's to matchmake Yama and Rui.
  • Cynicism Catalyst:
    • It turns out that Yama has become indifferent, cynical, and self-loathing because one of his best friends moved away and his sister died in a bus accident while protecting him.
    • Shigure is the way she is because the man she was betrothed to was murdered by someone Shigure herself thought was innocent of the crime the two had been investigating, and Shigure has blamed herself for her betrothed's death ever since because she and her betrothed didn't believe in each other.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Yama is haunted by his sister's death.
  • Downer Ending: After Yama and Rui had finally been rehabilitated, Rui and her family are murdered. If you have gotten close to any of the other girls, the common route leaves off on Yama finding their bodies. However, if you haven't, Yama will not receive encouragement to visit and confess to Rui, resulting in him finding out about her death by a phone call instead, and committing suicide by overdosing on pills.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Shoji jumps in front of a train a few days after his girlfriend is murdered.
    • Yama attempted this after Misaki moved away. At the end of the common route Yama will commit suicide if you haven't gotten close to anyone.
  • Episodic Game: A visual novel variant. The game is being released in three different "episodes", consisting of the common route, heroine routes, and true route respectively. However, due to new chapters acting as free updates to the base game, players will need to complete them in chronological order.
    • As a side effect, unlike common routes in most visual novels, which are fairly short and mainly used to introduce the player to the world and its characters, Inciting Incident has its own story arc relating to the overall plot and is significantly longer as a result, with the heroine routes and true routes expanding upon the overarching story already introduced in Inciting Incident.
  • Fashion Model: Misaki works as one, and it's a demanding enough job that the school is willing to let her leave class as long as she keeps her grades up. In one optional event, if Yama accepts a request from Misaki, Yama can make one of her modeling jobs much more successful by acting out a scene in which they're a couple.
  • Ferris Wheel Date Moment: When everyone is having fun at the amusement park and you get to choose different locations to visit, choosing the Ferris Wheel will result in Rui and Yama being paired up in the same Ferris Wheel car. Rui actually seems like she's going to confess, but Yama decides to horse around instead and they end up having fun pretending to fight aliens.
  • Genre Shift: Inciting Incident starts out largely as a light hearted high school Slice of Life Romantic Comedy with only a few dark moments. Past the halfway point however, it starts to transition to a Darker and Edgier murder mystery bordering on Psychological Horror. The narrative goes back to a more lighthearted tone after Yama's encounter with the killer, only to come crashing back down again when Yama's discovers that Rui and her parents have been murdered.
  • Guide Dang It!: Once the murderer's identity is revealed, any wrong choice will lead to an immediate or eventual bad end.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Yama and Masato became friends because Masato was more complex than Yama was expecting; when they first met, Masato was attempting to pester Yama into joining the track club, but Yama initially refused, thinking Masato was just your typical jock. Then Masato revealed that he was just as passionate about academics as he was about sports, causing Yama to reconsider his opinion of Masato.
    • Airi is usually taciturn and aloof, but choosing the Bot battling event at the amusement park reveals that Airi has an interest in playing with the robots, and she gets into a bot battle with a professional for a best-2-out-of-3-rounds match and Airi ultimately wins the match. You also learn during a karaoke event that Airi is an amazing singer.
    • Akira seems really "out there", and frequently imagines scenarios in her head. However, if Yama asks her about herself in one scene, he learns that Akira acts the way she does because she thinks people who are "different" are the ones who help others and change the world, so she acts as "different" as possible because she thinks that's how she'll make other people happy, although it may also be genuine as she continues to act different after that scene. Also, it later turns out that Akira knew Shoji before he killed himself, and blames herself for not doing anything to stop him, so Akira is able to give Yama some wise advice about needing to resolve conflicts right away. Yama is impressed that Akira has such a deep heart under her cheery exterior.
    • Elizabeth is later revealed to be the daughter of the Isamu Police Department's superintendent, which is how she was able to use a gun so efficiently while playing laser tag at the amusement park, and is also why she knows how to dress wounds.
    • Yahiko spends most of the game as a blissfully ignorant fool and playboy, much to the amusement and mockery of his friends, but as the game progresses it becomes apparent that this personality is a front, as he runs a club for troubled students, and has parents who don't pay much attention to him as demonstrated by the information digging game. Not to mention that the people close to him are getting killed off one by one, making it harder for him to front.
  • Imagine Spot: Early on, when Rui comes over and cooks for Yama, Yama briefly imagines what being married to Rui would be like, before chastising himself for having such a mental image. The next day, during Career Day, Yama imagines what being a doctor, teacher, or soldier would be like in turn, but none of his fantasy sequences turn out well for him.
  • Instant Fan Club: The high-achieving Elizabeth has fans who dote on her; at one point they even serve her tea because she said her throat was dry.
  • The Matchmaker: Akira tries to play matchmaker to Yama and Rui. However, it's all but stated in several scenes that she too has a crush on Yama.
  • Mock Millionaire: Elizabeth. She seems rich due to her demeanor, but this is a deliberate act on her part. Actually, her family is poor and she can only attend the school because she won an academic scholarship. In fact, this is actually why she and Yama are on bad terms; it turns out Yama once did no work on his half of a shared project, and came dangerously close to costing Elizabeth her scholarship, which is her livelihood. Though Yama reveals the reason he did no work is because that day, Elizabeth accidentally mentioned his dead sister.
  • Mr. Imagination: Female example, as Akira frequently imagines scenarios in her head that she then acts out. It turns out this is because she thinks this is how she'll make other people happy. Although it also appears to be genuine, as she continues to act different after she reveals that part to Yama.
  • Murder Makes You Crazy: During the eponymous incident Yama is forced by the murderer to bludgeon a student with a metal pipe. If you make any wrong choices, he kills her out of despair and becomes a sociopath as a result, proceeding to kill another student before turning on the murderer and killing them as well.
  • Mysterious Waif:
    • Subverted in Misaki's case; the scene that introduces her seems to set her up as one when she transfers to school, but she's actually a childhood friend of Yama's and she has a mischievous personality.
    • Played straight with Airi, who rarely speaks and has an aloof personality. In fact, at one point this actually causes Airi's classmates to suspect her of being behind the students disappearing. She's not, the culprit is someone completely different.
  • The Nicknamer: Akira typically calls Yama by abbreviations of military titles, such as "Sarge" (Sergeant), "Lieut" (Lieutenant), and "Cap" (Captain).
  • Noodle Incident: As Yama muses after the incident is over, we still don't really know why the culprit committed all these murders, as the culprit's answers are very vague. We know that the culprit despises modern skyscrapers since at least the pyramids and terra cotta army leave people in awe, the culprit sees himself as disciplining the world, he wants something from Yahiko Ikari's family, and the culprit compares himself to an Aztec god whose favor the city must earn by appeasing him with blood, but none of this really explains what his specific reason was for his crimes.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In the bad endings, Yama loses it and just kills the hostages, so the culprit claims that he and Yama aren't so different, and that Yama has the same taste for bloodshed and could use the culprit's help. But it turns out that they are indeed different, as Yama doesn't want bloodshed, he wants revenge, so he kills the culprit and then thinks about turning his rage onto the rest of humanity, because Yama wants to kill people out of hatred, not out of being an "artiste" like the culprit.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Yahiko and Misaki. Despite them just meeting each other on the second day of the game, they bond almost instantly over their mutual love for internet pop culture, technology, and Gover Mecher.
    • Another one forms between the lazy and cynical Yama and the motivated and hard-working Elizabeth over the course of the game. Despite initially being at odds with each other, it turns out that Elizabeth sees a lot of potential in Yama, and is mainly annoyed by his lack of motivation causing that potential to go to waste. Following Elizabeth revealing this to Yama, as well as the two revealing their Hidden Depths, their bickering becomes much more friendly and teasing like, to the point where Yama becomes comfortable enough to have a heart-to-heart with her about his feelings for Rui at the end of Inciting Incident.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Yama and Rui both survive the encounter with the murderer but are left with severe psychological scars and their involvement only causes them more suffering later on.
  • Red Herring: Throughout Inciting Incident, three different characters are falsely suspected of being the culprit, when the true murderer is someone else entirely
    • Airi is used as a scapegoat for the murders by her classmates due to her mysterious and aloof nature, but Yama quickly shoots this possibility down due to lack of concrete evidence.
    • Yama himself experiences memory lapses as a result of the trauma from his sister's death. He thinks he might be undergoing a split personality change and murdering people during these lapses, but he's ultimately able to prove himself wrong.
    • Yahiko is personally connected to the victims, and a lot of evidence points to him being the culprit. But it's not him either. In fact, it's revealed the true culprit was trying to break Yahiko emotionally by murdering classmates he's connected with, though besides wanting something from the Ikari family why he did this remains unanswered thus far.
  • The Reveal: Two of them, actually:
    • First, Yama finally manages to deduce the culprit's identity near the end of the game, and the culprit is Jirou Ryouta, the seemingly inconspicuous dorm manager, of all people.
    • Second, after the worst seems to be over, Natsuki pays a visit to Yama's apartment and tells him that while Ryouta was indeed the culprit, he wasn't really the one behind the whole plan, and in fact Ryouta was just a pawn.
  • Security Blanket: Akira's blanket has a name: Annette Diana Helenson XVII.
  • Serial Killer: Jirou Ryouta is responsible for the murders of at least four students as well as a number of unrelated killings.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The ending of Inciting Incident is this; notably, the player is the shaggy dog in this instance, making it a Deconstruction of the Multiple Endings sub-genre of visual novels. Since most players will play the game blind their first time, they're likely to get a bad ending where Rui dies either at the hands of an insane Yama or the psychotic Ryota. After realizing their error, the player will try and retry (and maybe use a guide) and finally choose all of the right choices and manage to escape with both Rui and Yama still alive. Things seem to return to normal until Yama is forced to move back in with his parents thanks to the danger he was recently in. He goes to Rui's house one more time to say goodbye and finally confess his feelings towards her. When he gets there? She's already dead; lying in a pool of her own blood. So much for a Good Ending.
  • Tabletop RPG: In Inciting Incident's good ending, the eight main heroes play one to celebrate Yama and Rui being discharged from the hospital with Airi as the Game Master, who puts the story into an English Steampunk setting. Courtesy of Yahiko, they play using specially designed Augmented Reality glasses as opposed to pen and paper.
  • The Lost Woods: Isamu forest is the site of the student murders excluding the fourth. In the past there were plans to cut down a sizable swath of it for urban development, but after a number of unnerving occurrences they were scrapped.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Masato really likes fried chicken, and in one early scene even starts a battle with Yahiko and Yama over who gets to eat the last remaining piece.
    • Airi is frequently seen eating a peach.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Blood and water remind Yama of his sister's death and cause his memory lapses.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The game starts with a scene of the (at that point faceless) murderer violently carving up an unfortunate Academy student and being contacted by his unnamed employer, before transitioning to Yama's usual school antics.
  • We Can Rule Together: The murderer offers this in many bad endings after Yama kills the siblings he was holding hostage. Unfortunately for him, what Yama wants most is revenge.

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