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Visual Novel / We Know the Devil

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Anyone can kill the devil; that’s why they always make teens the vampire slayers, the magical girls. But some kids can’t even get that right; and that’s why meangirl Neptune, tomboy Jupiter, and shy shy Venus have to endure one more week of summer camp and each other, singing boring songs about jesus, doing busywork for adults, and hoping god’s radio can’t hear them.

Before they can leave the summer scouts, they’ve got to spend twelve hours in the loneliest cabin in the woods and wait for the devil to come and live through the night—or not. You know.
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We Know the Devil is a Visual Novel created by Aevee Bee and artist Mia Schwartz, with a soundtrack by Alec Lambert, and aesthetic touches and UI by Lulu Blue.

We Know the Devil has no one true protagonist, but someone will always be left out, and it’s up to you to decide who that is. Instead of choosing a partner, you follow pairs of characters as they learn about themselves and wait for the devil to appear.

Will Venus and Neptune stop hating themselves long enough to be friends? Will Jupiter finally tell Neptune what’s been on her mind? Will Venus and Jupiter make it to morning as the only good kids left alive? Hopefully it turns out the way you want it to. Don’t forget: the price the two pay will be the third.

The game is available on Date Nighto and on Steam. A demo (taking place before the main game) is available here. There's also an artbook.

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Heaven Will Be Mine is a Non-Linear Sequel by the same creators, but with a new cast and setting, and focusing on the experiences of queer young adults instead of teenagers. It released on July 25, 2018.

Due to the short nature of the work, and the significance of plot revelations, all spoilers have been left unmarked.


Tropes:

  • Alchemy Is Magic: Beyond the alchemical symbols associated with each kid, there's mention of special crystals, and the sirens, radios, and locks that the kids work with are not entirely electrical.
  • As the Good Book Says...: At 2 AM when the kids tune in to God's station, he recites fictional Bible passages reflecting the symbolism and using the name of the girl who will be possessed. In the true ending, the Devil speaks instead.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The three color endings are mostly bittersweet, though the True Ending is a Golden Ending. The Yellow ending in particular has the best ending of the three colors, with Neptune and Jupiter together, and Venus (possibly) coming to grips with her gender. But they're all still stuck in lives they hate, and based on comments in the True Ending, Venus could even be suicidal due to gender dysphoria.
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  • Body Horror: All of the possessed kids to an extent, but particularly Jupiter.
  • Body Motifs: Eyes for Venus, hands for Jupiter, and mouth for Neptune. Venus and Jupiters' devil forms are covered with their motifs, while Neptune's revolves around ichor spewing out of her mouth.
  • Book-Ends: Jupiter trips on a tree root and hurts her leg at 6 pm, and in the Yellow ending, she trips again at 5 am which leads to Venus being possessed by the devil.
  • Broken Pedestal: Neptune and Venus both admire Jupiter for being a genuinely good person, while they view themselves as rotten. This begins to crack if Jupiter is excluded. Explicitly brought up and defied in the true ending, where they both promise to not idolize her, and accept her as a person.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Jupiter struggles to deal with being queer, Neptune has accepted her identity but hides it and becomes very defensive, and Venus doesn't connect her dissatisfaction with her life to being a trans woman until the devil brings it out in her.
  • Character Tic: Each of the kids has a behavior associated with them that grows stronger when they're closer to the devil. Jupiter snaps a hairband around her wrist, Neptune has coughing fits, and Venus sees lights that no one else can.
  • Coming-Out Story: Partially this, partially coming to terms with being queer in a hostile, intolerant world.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The character sprites, for a low-fi 80's summer horror aesthetic.
  • Demonic Possession: The fate of the awkward third-wheeler, who gets possessed by the devil.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Any of the kids when they become the devil. Their devil forms become a manifestation of their anxieties and concealed feelings. Averted in the True Ending, where their forms are more angelic, though with some Humanoid Abomination aspects.
  • Elemental Powers: Briefly mentioned to be part of being a scout, and shows up in the climax in the way the two banish the devil, how the possessed person attacks, and how the kids leave their bodies in the True Ending. Venus has light, Jupiter has storms, and Neptune has oceans.
  • Everyone Can See It: Venus can see the evident attraction between Jupiter and Neptune and is surprised in some dialogue options that one of them went with Venus instead of with the other.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The game takes place in twelve hours, from 6 PM to 5 AM.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In-universe, the Camp director/Bonfire Captain talks about how you should passive-aggressively cut struggling friends out of your life.
    "Some friendships you can keep up. The rest you gotta leave up to god."
  • Four Is Death: 4 am is when one of the kids becomes the devil, with their breakdown happening at 3 am.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Discussed. Venus has strong feelings about it and the concept of "It'll get better if you just try harder/well life isn't always fair" in general.
    "When someone rigs it from the start, then says "try your best!" doesn't that make you mad? Doesn't that make you so inconsolably mad that you never want to try it at all?"
  • Hidden Depths:
    • While drunk, Neptune lets her Harry Potter knowledge slip.
    • In the demo it's revealed Venus is in choir and has some serious singing talent.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: The central gameplay mechanic, and most prominent at 10 PM when two are sent out to patrol. This choice locks out the True Ending unless the kids stay together.
  • Life Isn't Fair: Discussed, regarding the system around the scouts.
    Venus: Doesn't it feel unfair?
    Jupiter: It's just reality.
    Venus: It's reality on purpose. Reality that's someone's fault.
  • Mark of the Beast: On the Date Nighto site the game is $6.66. The creators failed to get the same price attached on Steam because of Steam's price rules.
  • Meaningful Echo: The Red, Yellow, and Blue endings all follow certain patterns in their words at 4 am. The True ending echoes those patterns while breaking from the story that fills them.
    Red/Yellow/Blue: The devil is lonely. We kicked out the devil and it must miss us.
    It keeps begging to be let back, for us to let it in.
    And [possessed character] did.
    True: The devil isn't lonely; the crackling, broken radio's song is louder and more lovely every minute.
    We are our own company now. We asked to be let out.
    And we let ourselves out.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Jupiter is larger than life to Neptune and Venus and is Group West's informal leader. The military jacket she wears over her uniform even has a large circular red patch as a reference to the planet's most well known feature.
    • Neptune is turbulent and stormy, but has a calm interior. Her personality is more fluid that the other two, and can change in a span of a few words.
    • Venus is bright and gentle-seeming, but has a mean streak that they hate. She's also a trans woman, which subverts the seemingly Ironic Name.
  • Medium Blending: Hand-drawn sprites over photo backgrounds.
  • Monster of the Aesop: The excluded kid ultimately becomes this, and is implied to return to normal 'having learned an important lesson' after a day of recovery.
  • Mind Screwdriver: A lot of the settings differences from real life are left deliberately unclear, since it's not really the focus of the story. Heaven Will Be Mine explores the setting more deeply and offers a lot of indirect explanations for it retroactively without directly referring to it.
  • Minimalist Cast: There's really only three characters, seven if you count the appearances of the Bonfire Captain and Group South (though possibly closer to five in Group South's case, since the three are completely homogeneous in thought and action), and nine if you count God and the Devil.
  • Multiple Endings: It's a visual novel, so par for the course. Before the Steam release, the endings were named after whichever kid became the devil, however the Steam achievements have officially titled them the Red, Yellow, Blue, and True endings.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Each character wears a white dress shirt with a cross stitched onto the pocket, but otherwise the camp uniform seems malleable: Jupiter wears a bulky army jacket, the dark haired boy of Group South wears a long sleeved shirt with flame decals underneath the dress shirt, and the apparent Group South leader wears short shorts and has his dress shirt open to reveal a t shirt with his own face on it.
  • Parlor Games: The group plays truth or dare as well as seven minutes in heaven.
  • Polyamory: In the True ending, Jupiter, Venus, and Neptune are all together instead of two together and one apart, as in all the other endings.
  • Religion Is Magic: Prayers are used to help tune radios, but nobody in the setting is shown to be particularly devout.
  • Religious Horror: The devil is real, and god is always listening, but not very helpful.
  • Precision F-Strike: One of the highlights of the demo is Venus swearing. Averted in the game proper; Venus swears during the 7PM segment, but it's not a particularly dramatic or out-of-character moment.
  • The Scapegoat: The third wheel functions as this through the game's mechanics.
    Neptune: So which of us is it going to be? All we need is for one of us is to be a little bit worse than the others.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: See all the other LGBT related tropes. Parodied in the Steam release by having an achievement named after a t.A.T.u. song, with the image being inspired by the related music video.
  • The Scourge of God: How the devil works through the game's mechanics. The character who's left out more, who's just a little worse than the others, is the one who becomes possessed. This serves to explore one of the game's major themes of a God who may not be totally just, fair, or kind. Subverted in that the devil really isn't happy about this, and is overjoyed in the Golden Ending that everyone accepts him.
  • Stellar Name: The three kids are named after planets. Also crosses into Meaningful Name, as many aspects/symbolism associated with each person's respective planet are reflected in how they use their radio to defeat the devil, and the form they assume when possessed.
  • Summer Campy: Set at a summer camp with stuffy cabins, gross beds, grosser food, and insufferable counselors that sing about Jesus.
  • Tempting Apple: In the true ending, the three have "a new apple for everyone in the world." They also call themselves "the three worst girls since Eve."
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: The mindset of any character who becomes the devil, and especially Neptune, who is the most violent of the possessed kids and actively states her intentions to corrupt the other two. Embraced by the cast as a whole in the Golden Ending, who extend it to the rest of the camp and possibly the rest of the world.
  • Third Wheel: The core mechanic of the game. Every choice is an interaction between two people. A third is always left out and apart, and prone to being taken by the devil. Reaching the Golden Ending requires you to subvert this by taking the effort to make sure no single one of the three is excluded more often than any of the others, your efforts being rewarded by the game providing a new choice that includes the entire group at a point where you would otherwise be forced to leave one to become the devil.
  • Title Drop: 4 am begins with the words "We know the devil", regardless of the path taken.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Jupiter is more subdued and quiet compared to the brash Neptune, though their clothes are an inverse of the typical trend that is associated with the trope, as Jupiter wears pants and a military jacket while Neptune wears a skirt. Extended in the True Ending to Venus, who is the most openly feminine of the three, and wears a male uniform.
  • Transformation Sequence: Described and discussed, but doesn't actually occur, apparently because summer scouts aren't considered important enough for the crystals necessary for it.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Whichever character is taken by/becomes the devil transforms into a strange Eldrtich Abomination.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Referenced by Venus.
    Venus: I feel like I shouldn't get mad though. Like, you're supposed to turn the other cheek.
    Neptune: Ever think people who love to say that just love slapping people?
    Venus: Yeah…
  • Unreadably Fast Text: In the Yellow ending, the very first line of text appears for only a second.
  • Vague Age: The kids are teenagers, but their exact ages are never specified.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: Venus often gets distracted by lights that nobody else can see, and has to be reminded they don't exist in one dialogue path. These lights indicate that she is closer to becoming the Devil and that she is being led astray, like in the folklore.
  • Wham Line: Two in particular on the True Ending route.
    The Devil: Oh. Hi there.
    [and]
    Venus: "I am the devil." Her arm lies on the floor.
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