Return to Zemia (WIP - updated 25 March)

Hello fellow travelers and welcome to my WIP!

Return to Zemia is a character driven political adventure set on a futuristic alien planet. Chapters 1 and 2 have been published, and I am starting work on chapter 3. All questions, comments, and suggestions welcome!

The details:


When your older siblings die unexpectedly, you are retrieved from planet Earth to take their place as heir to the throne and help your Emperor father navigate the crisis. Maneuver your way through court politics, meet characters who have their own agendas, and come to terms with your new place in the universe.

Will you save the Empire?

  • The Emperor
    Your father and ruler of the Seyvian Empire. Light skin, dark eyes, and dark gray hair with streaks of white.
  • The Figure in Black
    A mysterious figure who’s very interested in you.
  • Arvin Volk
    A colonel in the Seyvian army and advisor to the Emperor. Tall with pale skin, short dark hair, and gray eyes. Romanceable by female MCs.
  • Carina Paul
    Media manipulator and advisor to the Emperor. Short with fair skin, shoulder length blonde hair, and green eyes. Romanceable by all MCs.
  • Hasan Rao
    Agent for the intelligence services of the Seyvian Empire. Average height with brown skin, curly black hair, and dark brown eyes. Romanceable by all MCs.
  • Jin Shi
    A spy for the Seyvian Empire and advisor to the Emperor. Average height with beige skin, short black hair, and black eyes. Romanceable by all MCs.
  • Kaya
    Someone from your past. Tall with reddish-brown skin, long black hair, and hazel eyes. Romanceable by all MCs.
  • Lia Roz
    Agent for the intelligence services of the Seyvian Empire. Average height with tan skin, short brown hair, and dark brown eyes. Romanceable by all MCs.
  • Samir Rahal
    Diplomat for the Seyvian Empire and advisor to the Emperor. Tall with olive colored skin, curly brown hair, and light hazel eyes. Romanceable by all MCs.
  • Vivien/Viviana/Vyvian Te
    Gender-selectable foreign Princex–the person the Emperor intends for you to marry.
  • Yusra Sang
    Engineer and inventor. Short with warm dark skin, curly black hair, and brown eyes. Romanceable by female and nonbinary MCs.
Mood Boards

Gameplay and Guides
  • Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, or ace
  • Customize your appearance, personality, and skills
  • Befriend, romance, or spurn eight different characters
  • Work with your father or sabotage him
  • Uncover family secrets and discover who you really are
  • Decide the fate of Zemia


There are six options in every dialogue tree
 #The first option is usually positive in some way
   *set personality %+ 5
   *set relationship +1
 #The second option is usually negative in some way
   *set personality %- 5
   *set relationship +1
 #The third option is always neutral
 #The fourth option is always bitchy
   *set personality %+/- 5
   *set rivalry +1
 #The fifth option is shy flirty
   *set direct %- 5
   *set relationship +1
   *set romance +1
 #The sixth option is bold flirty
   *set direct %+ 5
   *set relationship +1
   *set romance +1


Skill boosts and checks are ordered like this
  #This option is for discretion
  #This option is for persuasion
  #This option is for tactics
  #This option is for technology

This is a general guide. Not every dialogue option is a dialogue tree, and rarely there will be stat checks for personality traits and virtues.

  • 25 Nov 2018: demo posted
  • 27 Nov 2018: demo updated
  • 03 Dec 2018: demo updated
  • 24 Dec 2018: demo updated
  • 26 Dec 2018: demo updated
  • 25 Mar 2019: demo updated
    • New conditional scene on the ship
    • New conditional scene on the train
    • New scene before the council meeting
    • New scenes after the council meeting (four possible)
    • Lunch scenes edited and added
    • Photo shoot scene edited and added
    • Grammar and continuity fixed

Total word count: 65,000
Average play through: 17,500

Play the demo here!

Visit the tumblr here!

What kind of feedback am I looking for?

Any kind! I’ll take suggestions on grammar and mechanics, style, continuity, story, or anything else.

Please feel free to tell me what you think, either here on the forum or on tumblr. If you don’t feel comfortable posting, then send me a PM or an ask.

Here are some questions to get you started if you don’t know what to say:

  • Which part did you like best and why?
  • Which parts could use more work/content? Do you have specific suggestions? Were there parts that didn’t make sense?
  • Who is your (least) favorite character and why?
  • Were there sections that you feel could use more sensitivity/were problematic? What can I do to address your concerns and improve them?
  • What do you (dis)like about the world building and why?
  • Were there *choices that didn’t have the #option you wanted?
  • Were there times when something you expected to happen actually happened? Or times when your expectations were thwarted?
  • What do you (dis)like about the writing style and why?

umh…the transition from being kidnapped to “OMG aliens are real/I cant believe this/ I don’t know what to think” is to fast ( and lest be real a normal person first instinct is to take a F you attitude against your aggressor unless this one take a hostile action from the beginning)

what I want to say is …why I can’t tell them to shove it in their a**?


Thanks for your feedback! What do you think the best solution would be?

I could write an additional scene between the first interaction with Hasan and Lia and the how-do-you-feel choice and give the MC the option to respond to them more directly. Or I could delay the reaction choice until later. Or maybe something else? What do you think?


I think more scenes for “Holy shit, I’ve been kidnap by aliens. What should I do? Are they going to kill me? Harvest my organs?”

But that’s just me, Follow your heart


I am glad see put lot work I can see how this made all choice in it

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Nah, any sufficiently advanced aliens would have more use for some of my DNA, which they can easily get without even bothering me. though I suppose it could be some form of perverse sport to toy with the helpless human I suppose.

I’m surprised that you didn’t include the option to take a more hostile/confrontational tone with our captors after all being a prisoner in a gilded cage still means being a prisoner and in some ways that makes it even worse.

Nor does every abandoned orphan have a positive opinion of their birth parents, particularly if they are either desperate or big enough jerks to just abandon their baby, instead of putting it up for adoption in the normal manner.
As for my mc, given that you implied that we are well past college age and actually have a life, career and possibly family to leave behind, that makes being kidnapped and traveling the stars with non-hostile aliens less of a dream then it would have been for many a teenager or even college student. Particularly, since again we were not asked nicely but abducted and taken prisoner. So at this point I think my mc might actually be more interested in returning to his old life than traveling the stars.
If the aliens want to get in touch with humanity just have them do what every bad old-fashioned sci-fi movie does, land on either the lawn of the White House (or Red/Tiananmen square) and demand to “speak to our leaders”. Just as long as they leave him out of it.

It would be nice if my mc could tell those aliens one or all of those things.

Also, snark, the best friend in any tense situation, so I was kinda sad the mc cannot be more snarky and preferably sprinkle his conversations with lots of Earth pop culture references the Aliens might not comprehend. In the short term snark would serve two purposes, one it would stop the situation where my mc is the only perpetually flummoxed one in the relations and two it would, at least in the short term, serve as a form of passive aggressive tension release because my mc really isn’t happy about being kidnapped (on behalf of his dead-beat birth parents, no less).

Also I would not trust alien abductors to perform implant surgery on me and neither does my mc, if they want to do it they will have to do it by force, as my mc just doesn’t believe that implant is only for translation purposes. Therefore he will at least try to physically fight to prevent implant installment.


Thanks for your feedback! I’m currently reworking the scene mentioned above, so hopefully that will address some of your concerns, including a snarky comment or two!

Could you tell me which passages imply that? I can tell you that canonically the MC doesn’t have a family (spouse/kids), but I want it to be up to the player how long they’ve been out of college, so that’s something I should definitely fix.

Chose for my mc to be a police detective. Usually getting to detective rank, let alone the kind of detective trusted to routinely handle big cases and do the big front page arrests would take at least a decade after college and the police academy and that is if my mc really is a prodigy, if he is just an above average careerist with some solid skills and connections he’d be well into his fifties by then.
Go by that assumption, when the game mentions the family cottage and how it is harder and harder for the mc and his old friends to get together there I assumed the mc to be at least mid thirties, if not a good deal older, so at that point the cottage might have actually been his by inheriting it.

I suppose the police career has the most established bureaucracy and the least possibilities to get to a position of significant authority as a really young person. For the hacker/IT guy it might well be the opposite I suppose, but I did not choose that option for my mc.


Thanks, I appreciate your answer. I’ll take a look at the career section and see what I can do to make it better :slight_smile:

1 Like

I’ve reworked the scene @Logan3000x mentioned, with at least one mention of organ harvesting (if you pick the right choice!) for @Bathala.

I’ve also made a few other little modifications.

Thank you for your helpful comments, and I hope you like the changes :slight_smile:


think if I was mc tried 40 plans get out of here first plan beat up a guard and take he or she outfit walk out


Well, the story seems to be coming along rather well so far! I am always a fan of lost heir stories, and throwing in it as a sci-fi empire should be interesting. Just wondering, will the Emperor try to arrange any marriages for you?


Thank you! That’s so nice to hear!

I hadn’t planned on an arranged marriage plot, but it’s something I’m willing to consider. Is that something you’d be interested in?

Would you like to have more options to attempt to escape, even if it meant a premature ending?

I’ll add an option to resist! Unfortunately for plot purposes, it is something you have to have


I like the premise you have here! One thing I’ll add is that I’d like some more choices detailing how accepting the MC is that they are an alien. For now, the MC goes from “Why should I even believe anything you say” to going oh okay, I’m not from Earth and being interested in learning about Zemia. I think more choices where the MC reacts with suspicion, anger and resentment as well as distrust will be great! :slight_smile:


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Just as long as my mc gets in a good punch or two on that annoying Hasan kid!

Also my mc would want to test exactly what sort of “leash” that implant puts him under. Sadly the most effective way to test if the implant really does impair our free will is also the most dangerous: attempted suicide. Which isn’t something my mc actually wants to attempt…yet (forcibly marrying him off to some alien princess might possibly change that line of thought).
Apart from the physical though expect my mc to try and test if there are any censorship functions in it, by trying to find and read/watch/listen to opposition pieces about his asshole sperm donor and that war both.
Second to that of course comes finding out if it can indeed be switched off and learning the language the normal way because he really doesn’t trust that piece of junk in his brain.

Also when it comes to the outfits why would my mc do anything his captors want him to do and by that I mean he wants to dress like a peasant, if only to spite them. Assuming they don’t allow that my mc would use the clothes from the options presented and throw them together so that they create a badly clashing and unflattering sort of non-style.

As for me my mc is very obviously gay and has no interest in marrying any alien woman his asshole sperm donor wants him to. Besides they’re advanced aliens if they want to have his offspring they’d hardly need him to do the deed, just some of his genetic material.

Not if it means a premature ending. Besides now that we are an implanted slave the only ways to escape seem to run either through dealing with the empire or dealing with their opponents in that war, assuming those opponents are people like Star Trek’s Federation or the Orville’s Union and not genocidal maniacs.
Either way to “escape” at this point my mc would need a good deal with either government that gets him returned to Earth intact with that implant removed and a guarantee of no more alien bounty hunters. Otherwise the whole mess would just start all over again. For if the mc tries to put the pieces of their life on Earth back together they’d easily be found again and my mc has no interest in “escaping” to anywhere that is not Earth.

Yep, with my mc obviously falling firmly into the “why should I trust or believe anything you tell me camp” there.


Although I understand where you’re coming from, this definitely won’t be in the game, but I’ll see if I can work in some scenes where you get to test it. It probably won’t happen until a little later in the game

If I do add an arranged marriage plot, there will definitely be ways to get out of it, and I would probably make the marriage candidate gender selectable. But that’s a worry for the future! Right now it’s just a consideration

The outfits have the tiny-tiniest stat boost, but if you want to forego that in order to spite them, I will think about adding an option

Just a note, at some point the MC has to start cooperating (even if it’s just on the outside–that will be an option!), because otherwise there just isn’t a game to play :woman_shrugging:

I’ll add lots more resistance options to the beginning of the game, and all the interactions have the option to be indifferent or hostile, though the hostile options will change the game a lot

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I’m so excited to see more!

I liked the stats page a lot, but in the end the relationships were a bit… messy (I spent 5 minutes thinking about a better word but I just can’t find it), because I had to scroll down a lot to see if anything changed, as there’s a lot of information.

About the reactions you can have: most of the ones I’d like to use were there, so everything’s good enough for me lol

I love when these kind of things happen, so… yes. I need it. (but, of course, if it happens, avoiding it should be easy for those who wouldn’t want to marry a random alien person)


This seems very interesting! Who are all the ROs?

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Thank you so much for the lovely compliment! Do you have any suggestions for how I can make the relationships screen better/easier to understand?

Thank you! Everyone but the Emperor and the Figure in Black are options :slight_smile: