amenöne labs (am-en-NOH-nee labs) was a Thomoraii video game development company started by game developer Kulas Feserelai. The company, based in Obtobai, developed five award-winning games before their dissolution in 1497. amenöne labs’ work has been described as “brilliantly creative”, “unbelievably deep”, “new and surprising”, “awe-inspiring”, and “unsurpassed in sheer beauty”. amenöne labs was the smallest video game company to win the prestigious WEIBA video game award, having only eight permanent employees.
In 1484, Thomorai University of Media graduate in Game Development Kulas Feserelai inherited a large amount of money from his uncle. Previously, Feserelai had been working at various programming labs, but was making very little money and was unhappy with his jobs. Using the inheritance, Feserelai started a small video game development company with his acquaintances Rueaaia Amhetleiy, Thesai Amhetleiy and Koslai Rumba, christening it amenöne labs after the symmetrical amenöne flower. They began work on a “hybrid RPG-survival-puzzle-adventure” game in the same year, calling it Red Mountain. Over the course of the game’s development, Feserelai hired composer and programmer Yin Leai and game designer/storywriter Ouslai Kerezmena. It was released in 1487 to critical acclaim.
Later in 1487, Feserelai began work on a horror/adventure game, Amnesia, with the added help of programmer Chūlāli Amek and Ouslai Kerezmena’s brother, Theras. Amnesia was released in 1489. amenöne labs continued to develop games, retaining only these eight permanent employees, until 1497. In this year, Feserelai received a job offer from the major video game development company Movement. Feserelai initially refused, but Movement continued to increase their salary offer until Feserelai was forced to consider it seriously. Movement sent him demos and design documents of a project they were planning to have him lead, which Feserelai shared with the other employees of amenöne labs. Finally, he put the question to a vote, and it resulted in him leaving amenöne to work at Movement, planning to stay for at least one year. Theras Kerezmena took on interim management. After the year of work at Movement, Feserelai decided to stay, and Theras Kerezmena dissolved amenöne. Since then, many people have proposed that amenöne labs be formed again, but it remains an open question.
By 1488, amenöne labs had these eight permanent members:
- Kulas Feserelai, a graduate of the Thomorai University of Media in Game Development, who started amenöne. Feserelai owned and managed amenöne, and also did a variety of programming, design and storywriting jobs. Theras Kerezmena writes that he “kept everyone going in the right direction and holding to the central focus.” He was married to Surila Andehostai and has two children, Amjay and Tiba. Andehostai divorced him soon after the release of Amnesia. After the dissolution of amenöne labs, Feserelai went on to work at game development firm Movement and is still currently working there.
- Rueaaia Amhetleiy, a professional graphic modelist and concept artist, who also aided in user interface design. Amhetleiy graduated from the Kafa Monican School of Art and Design and worked as a designer for many years before joining amenöne at its founding. She was also a long-time friend of Kulas Feserelai. Rueaaia’s son Thesai was another of amenöne’s employees. Rueaaia and Thesai now work as graphic modelists for the game development studio Green Dome.
- Thesai Amhetleiy, son of Rueaaia Amhetleiy, was trained in the technical side of graphic modeling at the Technical College of Haut in Kafa Monica. He used his mother’s detailed blueprints to create and program models, and also helped in programming and other areas. He joined along with Rueaaia when amenöne was founded.  Thesai now works with his mother as a graphic modelist for the game development studio Green Dome.
- Koslai Rumba, a graduate of the International Technical College of Thomorai, worked as a programmer for amenöne labs from its inception. Before that, he programmed at various companies.Rumba went on to work at the game development studio Green Dome, continuing as a programmer. He is married to Lishan Naraloi and has one child, Trusai.
- Chūlāli Amek, graduate of the Santa Meluna School of Computing, was a programmer, animator and gameplay designer at amenöne labs. Before his time at amenöne, Amek programmed in the Jawswinish and Santa Meluni video game industries, also writing other small games and programs on the side. Amek’s blog, Revenge of the Code Monkeys, was very popular at this time (as it is today), placing first in the 1487 list of top programming blogs. He joined amenöne in 1488, after the release of Red Mountain, saying that he was “very impressed and eager to get in on the action.” After amenöne’s dissolution, he returned to his work in Jawswina and Santa Meluna.
- Yin Leai, who studied at the International Technical College of Thomorai, was a composer, programmer and secretary at amenöne labs. She joined late in the development of Red Mountain, when Feserelai was looking for a composer to write a soundtrack for the game. Before working at amenöne, Yin Leai did freelance programming work, with little income. She and Feserelai became good friends with Feserelai acting as her mentor, a relationship which contributed to Feserelai and Andehostai’s divorce. Yin Leai went on to study composition at the Peeskovian Conservatory.
- Ouslai Kerezmena, brother of Theras Kerezmena, studied writing at the University of Obtobai and did storywriting, gameplay design, programming, graphic modeling and concept art for amenöne labs. He had previously worked as a novelist and freelance writer, and had participated in many open source video game projects. Ouslai joined amenöne during the development of Red Mountain, when Feserelai wanted to recruit another storywriter. When amenöne labs dissolved, he returned to his work as a novelist and contributor to open source games. His novels include The House of Gems, The Parley Stone, Thunderclouds over Weyca and The Castle’s Revenge, and are popular in Fircudia.
- Theras Kerezmena, brother of Ouslai Kerezmena, who studied various subjects at the International Technical College of Thomorai, worked in many fields at amenöne, including management, design, programming, storywriting, modeling and animation. Before his job at amenöne, he had seriously participated in many open source projects, but had not had any paid jobs. Ouslai Kerezmena recruited Theras during the development of Amnesia. After amenöne’s dissolution, Theras joined Movement as a department manager for a time, and then left to work at Green Dome, still as a department manager. Theras has a popular blog which he writes with his brother Ouslai, Kerezmena.th, focusing on game development and the politics surrounding it. Ouslai writes, “Theras is great at organizing things and keeping things ordered and clear, so he might have made a good leader…But, he lacks the trained creativity and artfulness of Kulas Feserelai.”
amenöne labs developed five games over the thirteen years it existed:
- Red Mountain, a “hybrid RPG-survival-puzzle-adventure” game about the adventures of an explorer investigating the supposedly haunted Red Mountain. Red Mountain generated a huge amount of attention for amenöne labs, winning several awards and being featured on many video game review sites.
- Amnesia, a horror/adventure game about an amnesiac who awakes in an underground fortress. This game was somewhat controversial, being quite violent and disturbing after the much milder Red Mountain. However, it garnered great critical acclaim, being particularly lauded for its “uncanny ability to divine your fears and exploit them.”
- The Quest for Oranges, a puzzle game involving a Jawswinish stray seakitty who is trying to find oranges. This game was criticized for being too short, but otherwise almost universally praised for its “tricky, clever and engaging puzzles” and “subtle artistry.” A Quest for Oranges was featured in the Thomorai University of Media’s first-year introduction to game development, as an example of a great video game.
- Destroyers of the Sky is a 3D platformer/exploration/adventure game about a group of stunt pilots teaming up to stop an oppressive foreign country from taking theirs over by air. Critics especially praised this game for its “startling originality” and “thoroughly developed plot and round, dynamic, fascinating characters.”
- Edge of the World, amenöne labs’ last game, is an exploration/adventure game focusing on a “team of nutty scientists trying to find the edge of the world.” It was praised as “pure, delicious perfection, in world, gameplay, plot and graphics” and “a masterpiece of originality, fun gameplay, and an astonishingly deep story.”
- ↑ “Red Mountain redefines the RPG.” Gamesawoo Digest Review
- ↑ “Destroyers of the Sky: Ready to surpass the speed of light?” gMag
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 “A game your three-your-old seakitty girl and tough gamer teen both want to play? It’s called The Quest for Oranges.” Rupai Padoan’s Blog
- ↑ “All hail Destroyers of the Sky!” knock-it Game Review
- ↑ “Kulas Feserelai and the art of the video game.” Gamers Weekly
- ↑ “1497 WEIBA Awards.” WEIBA Blog
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 “Game Release: Red Mountain by amenöne labs.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ “Our History.” amenöne labs official website
- ↑ “The end of an era.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ “A return of amenöne?” Theras and Ouslai Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 “Meet the Team.” amenöne labs official website
- ↑ “A tribute to Kulas Feserelai: programmer, developer, artist.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 “The real reason why I was amenöne’s face for the release of Amnesia.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ “About Me.” Rueaaia Amhetleiy
- ↑ “Who is this guy?” Koslai Rumba’s Patch of Cyberspace
- ↑ “The code monkeys have come to take revenge on US!” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ “To endless sand and fields of rice I go.” Revenge of the Code Monkeys
- ↑ “A shout-out to Yin Leai.” Ouslai Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ “About Me.” Yin Leai
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 “About Us.” Kerezmena.th
- ↑ “The echo of the end of an era.” Ouslai Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 “Our Games.” amenöne labs official website
- ↑ “Amnesia: somebody needs to invent an award for Most Terrifying Game!” Gamers Weekly
- ↑ “A Quest for Oranges: Just like Amnesia, except not so scary!” Rupai Padoan’s Blog
- ↑ “Introduction to Game Development: Syllabus.” Thomorai University of Media School of Game Development
- ↑ “Destroyers of the Sky: one word, incredible.” Gamesawoo Digest Review
- ↑ “This is why I love Destroyers of the Sky!” Kesolta Kesolai
- ↑ “Game Release: Edge of the World.” Theras Kerezmena, Kerezmena.th
- ↑ “Edge of the World: Can we get any farther than this?” knock-it Game Review
- ↑ “I am falling off the Edge of the World!” Rupai Padoan’s Blog