Firstly, we're happy to announce the addition of a significant accessibility improvement - the mouse may now be used to click on the UI buttons for "Fast Forward" and "Hide UI", negating the need to use the keyboard for players who wish only to use the mouse when they play. To further facilitate this, the pause menu can now be activated by clicking the pause graphic below the main dialogue UI:
We've also fixed an issue with dialogue review where it was defaulting to the oldest line in the queue - it will now highlight the last line read.
Our appreciation to the user(s) that brought this to our attention in the discussion forums: as always, if it is within our power to do so, we will happily endeavor to make changes that can improve your experience!
Updates out of the way, we wanted to speak briefly about the subject of children in the story.
One storytelling element that probably makes Akash: Path of the Five unique among Otome is the thread dealing with Aurora and the pressure upon her to have children. More specifically, (to paraphrase Elder Glen,) to select a 'suitable mate' and start having 'as many children as possible as soon as possible.'
The absurdity of such a burden being placed upon the shoulders of a young woman just coming to grips with a unique and potentially unwanted role in a troubled society notwithstanding, this thread was woven into Akash's story for reasons both obvious and subtle.
First and foremost, the issue of deciding whether or not to pursue having children is presented as a means to allow players to shape their romance to their liking: as mentioned in the author's note, this is a deeply personal decision with no 'right' or 'wrong' answer. We undertook Akash with the understanding that while many Otome simply choose to forgo addressing this issue, having the choice could provide just that extra iota of depth to the tale for some players. It is also a conceit which helps to drive along the plot, and is one that may not be unfamiliar to some of those who play the game.
In another way, the choice to confront the expectations being placed upon Aurora was also a cathartic one: During the early writing and production of Akash, the author herself dealt with unanticipated and occasionally devastating struggles with fertility while trying to have a child; this was made even more emotionally wrought by the constant (and often unconscious or unintentional) pressures and expectations placed upon her by acquaintances, family and friends - indeed, some of these pressures are mirrored and magnified to a satirical degree within the text of the story, but are no less harrowing to the person experiencing them. It was ultimately decided that since this was a central part of the story's conceit, and because it could serve, in some way, as an constructive outlet for players sharing said frustrations.
We understand that this element is not for everyone; indeed, while it does remain an important element of Akash's plot, it is left purely to the player to either embrace or wholeheartedly reject in their quest for love and the preservation of their people.
To end this discussion on a lighthearted note, we'd like to present a piece of seldom-seen artwork, which depicts the main characters of Aurora's class as elemental children. Consider it a class picture, of sorts, previously hidden in the Switch version of the game, but made available here, for free;
This image is presented as a 4K wallpaper (3840x2160). To download, simply right-click and "Save as..."
As always, thank you for your time, and for playing our game!