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Q&A: Tsundere Studio, Developer of “I Just Want To Be Single!!”

Being Single is a Balancing Act
I Just Want to Be Single Cast
Image via Tsundere Studio

If you search Steam for ‘dating sim, visual novel,’ you’ll see 2,333 results, all fighting for your attention. It shouldn’t be a controversial statement to say that it takes a unique concept these days to be noticed. In the case of Tsundere Studio’s “I Just Want To Be Single!!,” there’s no reason to be concerned about that.

I was able to sit down and chat with one half of the development duo behind this incredibly unique “anti-dating sim” about their artistic inspirations and how “I Just Want To Be Single!!” came into being. The following Q&A has been trimmed for clarity and brevity.

Gamer Journalist: If I’m not mistaken, Tsundere Studio is a developer duo. Can you tell our readers a little bit about you as a development studio? Why is it called Tsundere Studio?

Tsundere Studio: Well, first of all, like most things, my naming convention is mostly based around if it’s funny or not. It’s definitely one of those things where I went ‘that would be funny’ and then I just do it … the two person is obviously me and the other is TsunAngelique who is my close friend and she’s the artist of the game and she does all the character art and the design work and the sprite work.

So, she does all of that, and I’m more on the development side. I’m doing the programming and the writing. And, obviously we hire some contractors to help out with the backgrounds and extra dev coding, but yeah, most of the work is done by us. It’s also a little bit of a nod to my friend’s name, TsunAngelique, which is like … Tsundere, that’s the first part. We have an inside joke where she’s the Tsun and I’m the Dere. Tsun is like she likes you and I’m a little bit cold, so she’s the hot one and I’m the cold one.

GJ: Can you tell us a bit about “I Just Want To Be Single!!”?

TS: “I Just Want To Be Single!!” … started mostly as a joke. It was like, ‘wouldn’t it be funny if there was a dating sim where the goal was, you were trying to not date anyone’? And then, I pitched that idea to a couple of my friends and I made a mockup logo, and I was like ‘hey, there’s this new game’ and they were like ‘that’s pretty funny. I would play that.’

I started to think ‘maybe I should make this game’ ’cause I dabbled a little bit in visual novel making before, and I had my friend Tsun(Angelique) who does really good art and that’s kind of how it came together … Basically, the whole idea came from the title. I was kind of making a parody. There’s lots of parody visual novel dating sims, so I wanted to make something like that.

I Just Want to Be Single
Image via Tsundere Studio

GJ: I think one thing that really turned me onto this game’s existence was the unique character designs and interesting use of color. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the visual aesthetic?

TS: Well, the art style … definitely came in a little bit later. Tsun and I, we mostly design things together and sometimes I pitch in ideas and sometimes she pitches in ideas. Some of the parts of the aesthetic in the overall game weren’t completely planned to go together from the beginning, they just happened to go together by luck or just fortune.

I think the aesthetics, like the really colorful and bright themes really go together with what we wanna do. … one of the biggest things I wanted to do with this game is really stand out from other visual novels. And the thing about visual novels is there’s a lot of them, and not all of them are very good, so one of the things I really wanted to do with this game was make sure that the style and the characters really stand out and are super distinct from each other.

GJ: I think it’s very valuable that you play as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in this game. I could imagine that’s been planned since the earliest stages of development, but can you tell me more about how that’ll work in the game? Is it up to the player whether or not they’ll be aro/ace or date someone?

TS: Mechanically speaking, the game is going to have the option to date the characters, and you have the option to avoid them. It’s not super intuitive or obvious what the goal of the game is, I think I saw couple of people being a little bit confused on what the end goal of the game is and what the protagonist wants. I wanted the full game to illustrate that you can have a middle ground. Basically, you want to keep a balance, cause you don’t want them to like you too much, but you also don’t want them to hate you, because Aya’s the main character [and she] really wants friends. She doesn’t have any friends, and she wants to graduate high school with some friends of her own.

I Just Want to Be Single Nozomin
Image via Tsundere Studio

GJ: One thing I really like about what I have seen of the game is that the humor seems wholly unique to any other in its league. I think that’ll end up being a really attractive feature when the game launches. What were your inspirations in the writing and comedy of “I Just Want To Be Single!!”?

TS: I don’t really see a lot of comedy games. Like, there are lots of media, in general … [where] comedy is kind of like a side-genre, or not even a genre, really. It’s just something that you kind of put into any kind of writing. I very rarely see comedy put as a central focus in any kind of media. … [“I Just Want To Be Single!!”] itself is giving you the joke setup, and it’s your job to do the punch line. I think that’s really cool.

GJ: Can you give us an idea of when we can expect to play “I Just Want To Be Single!!”?

TS: We’re looking at a June 2023 release. I can’t 100% guarantee, but I think we’re on schedule.

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