In a rather unexpected move, Dischan Media recently announced that they had released the prequel to their Dysfunctional Systems visual novel series on Steam. Dysfunctional Systems: Orientation (or Episode 0 as it is commonly called) released on July 24th. This was quite a shock for backers. The last anyone had heard from Dischan they’d canceled the project and shut down the studio.
Dysfunctional Systems was a proposed visual novel series Kickstarted by Dischan Media back in 2014. The first episode, Learning to Manage Chaos, introduced players to protagonist, Winter Harrison. Winter is a student mediator from a Utopian society. Her job as mediator has her traveling between chaotic worlds attempting to resolve the issues she encounters there.
The CA$ 67,450 raised with Kickstarter was going to fund the remaining two episodes of the story. Thanks to stretch goals this also included an additional prequel of Winter’s first week at mediator school. The devs intended to release this “episode 0” as a free demo before releasing episode 2. Sadly, shortly before the prequel was expected to release the developers abruptly halted full-time development on the series.
Owning up to their mistakes, Dischan honored backer requests for refunds. Although with the studio’s budget already depleted some refunds came directly from project director, Jeremy (Dani) Miller’s personal funds. Shortly afterwards Dischan Media posted a blog to declare their official closure.
Cut to July 20, 2017 when the long dead Kickstarter campaign suddenly posted a new update. All backers are eligible for a prequel Steam key. Even if they’ve already received a refund. Additionally, the update revealed that development on episode 2 has restarted. The update does note that episode 2’s story will be “completely different from what was described in the Kickstarter,” but it’s no doubt a relief to fans who thought they’d never see the story completed at all.
Back On Track, Or Just a Detour?
It’s worth noting that Dysfunctional Systems: Orientation is available now on Steam as a standalone product, despite reviews indicating that it’s more of a short introduction to the world than a full game. Players can also purchase the Dysfunctional Systems bundle to get access to both the prequel and episode 1, but they may want to hold off until we learn more about Dischan’s further plans for the series. Who knows what other surprises they have in store?