This is almost entirely unrelated to your (very good) post but I JUST finished the final part of The Great Ace Attorney last night after having it recommended to me by a bunch of my friends. It really puts the overarching story and the characters in the spotlight, and while the wild murder mysteries are there, I feel like there’s substantially more focus on the motives and the overarching themes you brought up. Great stuff.
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Okay, that’s cool as hell. Plus, I think the birthmark also comes back when he’s decided for himself that he’s innocent, just before the renaming ceremony? He puts on the cloak and goes in front of the mirror, where he has the birthmark again. After this point, it doesn’t go away. I think it fits in really well with the idea of Asterion having faith in himself causing the birthmark to reappear.
I’ve always appreciated the devlogs you guys put out (seeing another person’s creative process is really fascinating!), and this is no exception. I’m not entirely sure how best to phrase this, but the sheer amount of intent in your work fills it with a ton of life. It feels like every section of the Hinterlands 3 chapter has some sort of purpose behind it, making it very satisfying to read and analyze, especially with how the different combinations of actions factor in to the text you see. Not only do you have to take the text at its own value, but you also have to consider why it’s showing up under a particular condition and not when you do something else— it adds a new level of depth to figuring out what’s going on, and it makes rereading incredibly rewarding.
Speaking of depth in the Hinterlands, I think that making it a story that is fundamentally Latin American adds so much to the work. I don’t really speak directly about cultural influences in the posts I make— not because I’m uninterested, but because I’m immensely uninformed (I’m extremely white and from the USA) and I don’t want to accidentally say some dumb shit. Despite this, it was clear to me how much Latin American culture shaped the Hinterlands, such as with the specific references throughout the section and the unique themes you discussed in the post. Making Brazilian culture integral to the story of the Hinterlands made it feel substantially more real to me, and it encouraged me to learn more about Latin American literature and culture! Truly, thank you for that. God, I really hope this whole bit doesn’t come off as disrespectful.
This visual novel about a cow (gay) has greatly influenced me creatively. That’s a good thing, I think. Thanks.
Given how layered some of the references in this VN can be, I really wouldn't be surprised if that's the case. Cue5c pointed out a little further down that Zezé is actually derived from Joseph, and... well, to quote their quote:
"This name derives from the Hebrew name “Yehôsêph”, meaning “Yehowah has added, he will enlarge, God will increase, may he add”, which in turn derives from “yâsaph”, meaning “to add, increase, do again, increase, do again”. "
That would fit really well with what you posited here.
I'm really happy to hear that you're feeling some relief now that the build's out, because you definitely deserve it. You guys made something powerfully unique in build 0.5-- something that really resonated with people-- and the amount of discussion I've seen about it is a testament to that, I think. I hope you get to enjoy your break in (relative) peace.
When it comes down to it, we're all engaging with the art we enjoy in whatever ways we can, and this kind of format lets us be uniquely collaborative with it. I think that's pretty neat! Everything y'all have contributed in the discussion has been (and I know this sounds cheesy) genuinely enriching my experience of the VN, so I'm glad my posts have been helpful in return.
Thanks! It took a while and it got super off-track from being just a guide, so I ended up making a separate thread, but man that was satisfying to try and figure out. I love attempting to solve mysteries like this, and even if I'm totally wrong, I ended up learning a little more about Brazilian culture, so it was definitely worth it. I did a decent amount of research into Brazilian folklore before accidentally stumbling on Pedro's line about the cabra cabriola lmao
You guys did a great job at crafting an intriguing (and really heartbreaking) mystery here, and I'm excited to see where it goes next!
Absolutely. This novel does an incredible job in general at making everything feel meaningful, but I feel that the Hinterlands chapters (especially III) do an especially great job at it. I'm pretty sure you and a few others already discussed that at length in another thread (particularly in regards to cultural influences and Catholicism), and while I can't really contribute to that discussion on my own, it was great to read along!
Oh god, that makes a lot of sense. I was wondering what the deal was with Pedro speaking in another person's voice, and why he immediately brings up his grandfather-- it might have been a P speaking, just not him. That also fits in well with the fact that Pedro specifically states that, if Zezé were some sort of mythical being, his father and grandfather never brought it up, which seems to indicate that they weren't aware of Zezé's true nature in advance.
Oooh, nice catch! Between that and the fiction books you can find in the library, it seems that goats may have a cultural presence in the region similar to tapirs (though maybe not to the same extent). If Skinned Tapir and Drowned Tapir have reasons for their names (the nonfiction choice in the library makes this especially clear), it's possible that Bloody Goat is based on something similar.
This was originally gonna go into the Hinterlands guide thread, but my theories got way out of hand and I wasn't really sure that would belong in an informational guide thread. So! I made this.
I've done some investigating in the Hinterlands over the past week or so, and I found a lot of secrets (the anthill was an absolute disaster and I loved every second of it). For this specific thread, though, I'll focus on just the ones relevant to the missing kids, the shed, and Zezé. This might seem like an odd choice, but I promise there's a reason I'm sticking to these specific topics.
Before I get into the actual theory, we need to go over the relevant secrets/info. This is by no means a comprehensive list-- if you've found anything that supports/contradicts the stuff in this post, please let me know! With that out of the way, let's get started:
- Resolving the tapir god quest before the night you go to Zezé's bar causes his form to shift back and forth between a human and a goat-thing with dark brown fur and red eyes (and a cute little tail but that part isn't relevant).
- On a similar note, resolving the tapir god quest then going to the pond lets you take a path to a shed. This scene is... a lot. I won't go into too many details (you should really read it yourself, it's very well written), but the specifically important things to note are that a bunch of kid's flip flops are found on the way to/inside the shed, the shed is far too clean but still smells like rust, and there are two parallel grooves in the top of the door frame and on the walls. Also, something like a ghost kid (maybe?) hops onto P's back and follows him out.
- If you head to the library and pick fiction, there are only a few books left: one about the myth of the minotaur, and several from local authors about "Satan-worshipping goat boogeymen and their exploits kidnapping and devouring children." Not very fun!
- Going to the shed changes how P's dad acts in Hinterlands 4. Normally, his dad looks at the cheese, then says P's "going crazy" and throws stuff at the wall. The shed scene causes P's dad to act like "he'd seen a ghost", before saying P is crazy, not going crazy. Still throws all of the shit at the wall, though.
- Going to Storm's house unlocks the ability to go to P's family home. If you go there, P finds a notebook containing portraits of everyone in his family, followed by a few pages of children's drawings, including art of "Dark goats with red eyes, mouths split open and spewing fire."
- This was a tricky one: going to the library, reading fiction, then going to the church alters P's dialogue about finding Pedoca (the missing kid). If you do this, P says that he'll find Pedoca and warn him to get to the church or "the cabra cabriola will get him."
With all that out of the way, I want to discuss the first half of my theory: Zezé is (or is, at least, an intentional reference to) the cabra cabriola. I wasn't aware of this before stumbling on the special church dialogue, but apparently, the cabra cabriola is a monster in Brazilian folklore. It's a goat monster that, in some depictions, has some/all of the following traits:
- Darkly colored fur
- Bright/red eyes
- The ability to breathe smoke/fire
These are all pretty clearly reflected in things like Zezé's design and the goat drawings P finds in the notebook. I don't think it's a coincidence that finding the books about "Satan-worshipping goat boogeyman" causes P to bring up the cabra cabriola, and that it seems like a direct match to Zezé's true form.
So, that explains what Zezé is a reference to, but what about the shed and the missing kids? That leads to the second half of my theory: Zezé is, at least in some small part, related to whatever's going on in the shed. The stories of the cabra cabriola (based on my admittedly meager amounts of research) depict it as a child-stealing monster that steals young children and eats them. This is pretty directly referenced in the fiction books you can find in the library, and Zezé's a pretty close match to the monster. Additionally, remember those weird grooves in the top of the shed's doorframe? I think those may have been caused from something's horns scraping them, since Storm's horns do the same exact thing in P's car to the roof. Zezé has horns, and seems to be a reference to the cabra cabriola, which steals kids-- this isn't definitive proof he's the one who made the marks, but I don't think the reference is unintentional. The shed seems to be related to the missing kids, and P's dad reacted like he "saw a ghost" after the ghost kid thing followed P out of the shed. Plus, the shed was exceptionally clean but still smelled like rust, which is... suspect.
That's pretty much it. Zezé might be a reference to the cabra cabriola, a child-stealing monster, and he might also be responsible for whatever the hell's going on in the shed. Again, let me know if I missed anything!
Basically, I cannot believe they gave a possible child-stealing monster an extremely cute little tail. Absolutely unforgivable. /s
I am being forced back into the Hinterlands against my own will to solve mysteries and I do not like it.
(I am going back absolutely by my own will, and I am an awful monster when it comes to mystery stuff so I am totally down for doing some sleuthing. Is it alright if I put my findings (if any) here? I'm not sure how much spoiling you're alright with and I want to respect that)
I’m not sure I need to say this, but still: SPOILER WARNING
I’m pretty sure you can interact with the tapir god/old man as early as day one, if you go straight for the salt plains (could be wrong there, though). Additionally, you can get the pelt and the cross in the same trip to the flooded town if you have the remains and you’ve visited the tapir god before.
Anyway. From my runs of the Hinterlands, I found three big areas where your choices seem to have an impact at the moment, and as best as I can tell you can only ever get 2/3 of them 100% accomplished in any given run (if anyone has a way to do all three, let me know!):
- Return the tapir god’s pelt
- Put the 12 to rest with the remains
- Develop Pedro/Oscar’s relationship
The first two are pretty straightforward— you start the event at the first location, get the required object(s) from the flooded town, and then head to your last location. For the third, picking events that make Oscar and Pedro bond causes their relationship to change pretty clearly (going to the tailor, visiting Storm’s house, and heading to the church (maybe?) seemed to do it for me).
I’m sure I’m missing some secrets, but there are achievements for completing each of the two plot threads, and a lore note that gets added to your inventory if you go to the library and read non-fiction.
Apparently, plot threads like the missing kid are possibly coming in some point during a later patch/future chapter, and your choices in the Hinterlands will set up some of those things! We’re all in the same boat regarding how those’ll work, though, so I can’t offer any help with that. Regardless, I hope this is at least somewhat useful!
From the few times I ran through it, I wasn’t able to find the kid, either; I replayed that specific section several times and I was never able to find him. The stuff with the hotel becomes more apparent later on, so don’t worry about it too much for now.
Going to the library and selecting non-fiction adds a book to your inventory, and you can change Oscar’s outfit at the tailor, but those are the only “minor” permanent changes I noticed— I’m sure there’re more if you keep looking!
Anyway, from what I can gather, it seems that three major things can change as a result of your actions in the Hinterlands (two of which you already brought up):
- Returning the tapir god’s skin
- Putting the 12 to rest
- The nature of Storm and Pedro’s relationship (platonic or romantic)
On that note, I tried a few different permutations of the Hinterlands, and I was only able to ever complete 2/3 of them (first route I ended up helping the tapir god and strengthened their relationship, and Pedro says they’ll bury the 12 on the road). There could be a way to get all three, though!
Welp. It took a few years, but I finally bit the bullet and made an itch.io account for this comment.
First things first: Wow. Absolutely incredible job, to everyone involved.
I’ve been following Minotaur Hotel since its first build’s release on itch.io (god, that feels like ages ago, huh?), and I’ve been waiting excitedly for 0.5 since 0.4 first came out. While you guys and your previous builds left me with faith that 0.5 would be good, I couldn’t have possibly expected 0.5 to floor me as much as it did. I could talk about this for ages, but I’ll limit myself to a few(ish) areas I feel this build resonated with most for me (also, given the nature of this thread, looooots of spoilers).
In regards to the general plot/story: the developments regarding P, Argos/Dominikos, and Hermes felt super satisfying. There were more than enough hints that something was up, but figuring out exactly what was going on with each of them and how their situations were related to one another was excellent to piece together. It made that scene near the end when they crashed the re-naming celebration so much more tense! Having all those threads come together so (almost) disastrously was wild shit and I loved it.
As usual, the art was great! Something I’ve always loved about this VN is how expressive the characters are, and that continues to be just as great (if not better!) in 0.5. The updated sprites (especially Asterion’s) and Dominikos’s frightened expressions really stuck with me. Loved the new backgrounds, too! Also, I’m extremely gay and there were cute guys to look at. A+.
The romance in this patch felt really soft, and I mean that in a good way! It wasn’t all fluff, as Asterion has a lot of complicated feelings to work through, but it still felt very cozy, I guess. Asterion and the MC’s relationship was progressing in a way that felt natural and right (kind of related, but Kota’s scenes with both Asterion and the MC were really sweet, too). Plus, it offered some much-needed respite to the more harrowing stuff going on (particularly some of the darker topics in the Hinterlands, which was good in its own right— but I’ll get to that). Also GOD finally the kiss. The tension. It hurt me.
Where the build really shined most to me, though, were the characters. To be honest, I was wary starting 0.5 knowing how much Hinterlands content was going to be in it. My initial fears were that it was going to serve as a distraction from the main story with characters I didn’t know about or care for, and I am incredibly happy to be wrong. Seriously, Oscar and P’s characters were so much more intricate than I thought, and they have great chemistry together whenever they show up. Seeing how they each responded to the different (usually Not So Great) locations in the Hinterlands, and how they responded to each other, and watching those interactions change as they grew closer together... great stuff. Between them, and all the stuff with Dominikos’s role as an Argos, and the aforementioned romance stuff with Asterion... god, if the characters in this VN were good before, they’re definitely top-notch to me now.
Really, the only thing that comes to mind for personal criticism would be simile repetition (the “like hummingbirds at the back of your head” one comes to mind, for example), but that honestly feels more like a nitpick than anything else. Could 100% just be my personal preference, too.
You guys have done absolutely stellar work with this most recent patch, and I hope y’all are able to take as much time as you need to rest. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about what you guys do in the future— thank you, truly, for making such an incredible experience.