Debut work by teen creators smashes crowdfunding goal in less than two hours, aims to be better than made-by-adults titles.

A huge proportion of Japan’s romance video games take place in a high school setting, which ostensibly is to help them feel relatable to teen gamers and nostalgic to older fans. But even if the majority of the industry’s characters are teenagers, the people making the games, of course, are adults.

But one noticeable exception is upcoming PC indie game Borderline of the Heaven. The game is being developed by Noer Works, a creative club at Tokyo’s Azabu Gakuen middle and high schools.

▼ Preview video for Borderline of the Heaven

Noer Works describes itself with:

Our members are boys who aren’t popular during puberty. We have put the romance we wanted to experience into this romance game. We want to be popular, but have no chance to do so, and we dedicate our youth to romance games.”

The group seems to have plenty of talent and passion for the medium, but what they don’t have is access to traditional adult-oriented financing. So to help get Borderline of the Heaven made, they launched a crowdfunding campaign on Japanese website Campfire, hoping to raise 300,000 yen (US$2,680). They reached that goal in roughly one hour, and have been blowing past stretch goals ever since.

▼ Despite the self-introduction’s reference to “boys,” there are two female members of Noer Works, who’re shown on Borderline of the Heaven’s crowdfunding page

Noer Works’ members are all fans of romance games, but they have a shared complaint about recent releases in the genre: romance games made by adults don’t feel like they really capture the emotional quality of teen romance, Noer Works asserts. “We, who are right in the midst of puberty, are best equipped to make a romance game!” the group boldly proclaims.

Borderline of the Heaven is centered on protagonist Haruto, a highschooler who, because of a bad experience in the past, doesn’t like getting too close to others, except for his childhood friend Kotone and buddy Take (Take being the only male character for whom any artwork has been shown).

▼ Kotone (left) and Take (right)

But after a chance encounter with his similarly withdrawn classmate Ciel outside the town church, Haruto finds a connection forming between himself and the blond, twintailed girl.

Borderline of the Heaven’s crowdfunding campaign is still ongoing. Reward tiers including a physical copy of the game starting at 3,000 yen, and Noer Works says that since it’s not a for-profit group, it has set pricing on its reward tiers to align as closely as possible with production costs.

Noer Works even seems to be taking the international market into consideration. Its Campfire page includes a notice, in English, that “International shipping is available. Please send us an e-mail for more information.” So if you’d like to support the project, regardless of where you are in the world, the Borderline of the Heaven crowdfunding page can be found here.

Related: Borderline of the Heaven official website
Sources: IT Media, Campfire
Top image: Campfire
Insert images: Campfire, Borderline of the Heaven official website