Six strangers wake up in an enormous, lavish mansion...
with no memory as to how they arrived, and no way out. A mysterious man appears, referring to himself only as the Host, and informs them they’ve been chosen to appear on Date or Die, a twisted dating game reality TV show where being eliminated means death! The Host promises that those who can best all the show’s challenges will get out alive and receive a chance at true love. Will the group band together and find a way to escape against impossible odds, or will they play right into the Host’s hands?
Date or Die is a visual novel about relationships, love, and the way they’re portrayed in media. In terms of inspiration, think Flavor of Love and The Bachelor meets Danganronpa! It features a diverse and engaging cast of characters, a sharply written branching story, and will hopefully make you cry!
The protagonist of Date or Die is Hero, an enthusiastic and brave young woman. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and rarely sees a point in hiding or lying about her emotions, trying her best to always be open and honest. While she has a kind heart and is supportive and empathetic to people around her, she also never hesitates to defend herself or call out other people’s bullshit. She’s clever and resourceful - qualities she hopes will keep her alive long enough to find a way out and escape!
FUN FACTS ABOUT HERO:
She’s really, really into MMORPGs, even though she doesn’t play other types of games much. It’s difficult to find one she hasn’t at least tried out!
She has a tendency to swear a lot, which usually isn’t a big deal, except for that one brief summer where she worked as a camp counselor with 10 year olds.
She can dance very well, and often does so in her apartment when she’s excited about something.
The cast of Date or Die can’t remember their own names, and are given nicknames by the Host… why did he pick this one for her?
Mesmer is charming, sociable, and always flawlessly dressed. The young, handsome man is something of a celebrity - he is a mentalist, although he also performs dazzling stage magic on occasion. His natural easygoing and friendly nature have helped propel him to stardom, with multiple TV specials and sold-out stage performances. While he often seems bashful and humble about his skills in interviews, he becomes a different person while in his element, performing incredible mental feats with amazing precision and control while simultaneously managing to make it all look effortless. Can such a sharp mind survive the deadly game of Date or Die, or will this be the trickster’s final act?
FUN FACTS ABOUT MESMER:
His signature seafoam green hair color was an accident - he tried to dye it blue when he was a teenager, but loved the color so much he’s kept it ever since.
Out of all the contestants, he’s the best at karaoke. Even if he’s not a particularly great singer, you will never see a more heartfelt and enthusiastic rendition of an ‘N Sync song in your life.
He first took an interest in mentalism when, at his sixth birthday party, he hypnotized the professional hypnotist his parents hired. Just to see if he could. Another parent was taking video and the footage went viral, jumpstarting his life in the spotlight.
Full of high-energy affection and bubbling excitement, Luna is probably already your girlfriend and you just don't know it yet. She always knows how to have a good time and delights in being the life of any party, even ones she's not attending. Life is all about living moment to moment, and even at her most relaxed, that's something she always keeps in mind.
FUN FACTS ABOUT LUNA:
She has a great singing voice, but doesn't think she can make a career out of music because the lyrics she writes are so abysmally bad.
She's Southern and would love to tell you about Pantera in her gentle, charming twang.
She seriously needs to re-bleach her roots.
Luna's name comes from her old online handle, which also involved a lot of drawings of wolves. The Host takes a lot of glee in bringing up her sordid furry past.
Cheerful and empathetic, Hat Trick is a caring young woman who tries to carry everyone’s burdens on her shoulders if she can. Even in her day job - working at a bakery - she tries her hardest to leave a positive impact on people’s day, through saving a regular a favorite pastry or drawing a smiley face on someone’s coffee cup. In her free time, she does a lot of volunteer work, and one of her favorite things is teaching self defense classes. While she genuinely enjoys interacting with people, it can still be a nerve-wracking experience, especially given that she’s autistic. Social interaction is already troubling enough when you’re not trapped on a murderous game show with five strangers!
FUN FACTS ABOUT HAT TRICK:
She always smells like fresh bread. It’s fantastic.
Sad commercials wreck her shit. Animal shelter ones wreck everyone’s shit, but sometimes she cries over particularly touching car commercials too. Her roommates don’t even bother to ask why she’s crying anymore, they just have a designated crying pillow at the ready.
Hat Trick actually loves doing chores and cleaning. If you let her stay at your house for a night or two, she’ll go full Studio Ghibli protagonist and surprise you with a clean living room.
Her nickname comes from the fact that she’s black, queer, and autistic. You know, a hat-trick! The Host is a fucking dick!
Orlok is quiet, intelligent, and prefers to keep to himself - he’s not one for making idle small talk. He only likes to chime in to conversations if he has something very important to say. He works as a wildlife biologist, specializing in studying various species of bats. Several years ago he was in a motorcycle accident that left him with intensive scarring and resulted in him losing a leg - Orlok was naturally a little shy before, but that only made it more difficult for him to approach people. While it’s hard for him to open up to others and he can put on a jaded, cold front to protect himself, he isn’t mean or cruel, and cares very deeply about people he considers friends. Can Hero melt his icy facade?
FUN FACTS ABOUT ORLOK:
He loves painting. Especially painting butterflies. You’ll never hear him admit it, but his favorite thing to do to pass the time at home is to watch some episodes of The Joy of Painting and follow along.
While he can be standoffish and aloof to other people, Orlok treats animals better than most people would probably treat human children. Bats cannot call you slurs.
As part of his job, he spends a lot of time traveling to new countries and living in research stations in various places. He loves traveling and the solitude living in isolated areas grants him.
Orlok’s nickname comes from the villain of the 1922 horror film Nosferatu, Count Orlok. The Host likes movies! He’s also an enormous asshole.
Six is a shy, polite individual with strong ties to the paranormal. They’ve lived a very sheltered existence in a fairly isolated commune, coming from a long line of spirit mediums. Most of their time has been spent honing their mediumship abilities and ability to communicate with spirits under the watchful guidance of their family and other people at the commune. People from all over travel to see them, often asking for help speaking to a deceased loved one - closure Six is honored and happy to provide. Believing that every life has value, they care deeply about others (even strangers), often to the point of neglecting their own needs. Will Six’s unique talents help the other contestants escape, or will they become one of the ghosts they speak to?
FUN FACTS ABOUT SIX:
They love cooking, especially baking - any sweet you’ve even heard of, they’ll be delighted to make!
They don’t get along with Mesmer. Mesmer thinks Six is an incredibly convincing con artist and doesn’t believe in their ability to speak to the dead, an accusation that upsets them to no end.
They have a secret fondness for cheesy romance novels and shoujo manga, and kept an enormous stash under their bed at home to read at night.
Six’s nickname comes from the movie The Sixth Sense… The Host isn’t very creative with these names.
Prototype is a highly advanced, sophisticated artificial intelligence built by the Host to serve as his bodyguard. With an understanding of human emotions to aid in analyzing potential threats faster, she's adopted a personality that mixes parts of her creator's wicked glee with her own haughty attitude. She doesn't have anything personal against the contestants, but this is all business for her, and she'll do anything the Host asks without question or remorse.
FUN FACTS ABOUT PROTOTYPE:
What is… "fun"?
Just kidding. She knows what fun is. She likes playing darts, because she's a showoff.
Extra functionality installments that the Host decided against: an espresso machine, an ice cube dispenser, a garbage disposal.
Nearly perpetually upbeat, with a flair for drama and bitchy showmanship, the Host's single-minded focus on preaching the power of love to the masses leads to the events of Date or Die. Manipulative, intelligent, and ruthless, he prefers shadier ways of getting what he wants over brutish shows of force. He throws himself into everything in life with over-the-top zeal, and unfortunately for the contestants, that also happens to include murder.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE HOST:
No, really. There's no sympathetic, tragic backstory here. He's just awful.
He does tip extremely generously, though.
The Host has a canon name, but we'll never tell you what it is.
Arden is a writer and narrative designer who specializes in interactive fiction. They love creating and playing visual novels and dating sims! They do their best to create believable, endearing characters from all different walks of life, and to tell stories that care about empathy. Date or Die is their full-length debut.
Julian is a multidisciplinary Boston artist with a deep passion for making all kinds of things. They've worked in freelance to collaborate on projects ranging from album covers to poster illustration to tattoo designs. Other past projects include designing + selling merchandise and participating in zines and art anthologies, and they've worked as a character designer, background illustrator, and portrait artist for the cyberpunk RPG Defragmented and the visual novel Who We Are Now.
Christa is an electronic composer specializing in jazz-infused music for and inspired by video games.
In addition to handling the business side of Date or Die, Christopher is the operations manager for the film magazine Bright Wall/Dark Room, has written a couple of books and has a day job doing neither of those things.