Point of the situation

It’s almost end of July, and this year so far I released 3 of the 5 planned games for 2010. The Flower Shop and Card Sweethearts were already in production since last year, while Vera Blanc: Full Moon was entirely made this year.

I am quite satisfied for how things are going looking at my planned releases, a lot less about the actual revenues :) But to be honest it’s not something under my control: the crisis and the return of middleman are making the life of indies way much tougher than was just 2-3 years ago…

Unfortunately it means that some things are very likely not going to happen. A 3rd episode of Vera, despite the game has received unanymous praise from all the press, isn’t going to be made, at least this year, and surely not in this format. But let’s proceed with order:

  • this September 2010 the 2nd episode, Vera Blanc: Ghost In The Castle will be released since it only need proofreading and the person doing it assured me would be made in time
  • probably this October/November I should be finished with Planet Stronghold, at least the initial release. I might do add-ons and updates on it depending how it will perform
  • about at the same time (hard to tell really) the Flower Shop spin-off, “Winter In Fairbrook“, should be finished, in time for Christmas (it would be perfect themed game for it)
  • then there’s also Spirited Heart spin-off! That will be HUGE, but at the moment I’m still thinking if to make it as regular downloadable, or as online-only games (more likely the latter)

So if I actually manage to mantain that schedule, I would release 6 games, and not 5 as originary planned. It would be cool :)

Then, what next ? What will happen to the character of Vera? Will I keep doing downloadables?

I don’t know. I have lots of ideas in my mind right now: following the rule #4 of my “Five Golden Rules” post, I want to experiment:

  • I’m thinking about doing a 3d game with Unity3d. Which one? Hmm… what about a remake of Universal Boxing Manager with the fights all in 3d? sounds cool eh? :D
  • I’m also thinking to make a HOG/Adventure game. Yes, you heard me right :D Not sure yet if using Vera, or with another setting, but story-driven games interests me, but to make decent money is obvious that VN isn’t the right choice anymore…
  • Make some online games in JS. I have someone porting a game of mine online… but I woud like to make a game from scratch thought to be played online. What kind of game? I would love something steampunk/post-nuclear, playable like Urban Dead. No, not a full 3d MMORPG of course! :)
  • I said that lots of times: I was also thinking to make a webcomic based on Vera Blanc, but first I need to raise some money to pay good artists. I don’t want the comic to look bad
  • I would also like to make a sort of sequel to Magic Stones. I have already lot of art ready, but probably that will be used to make another webgame idea I’m working on since some time
  • I have an idea for a dating sim, but for girls. I think the plot is very nice, I have to see if the writer I found is reliable enough to work on that until the end

That’s it! I don’t know yet which of those ideas will turn into concrete games and which ones will just remain ideas… but for now, I’ll finish all the project I started, and then will have to seriously think what to do next.

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10 Responses to Point of the situation

  1. Nhu says:

    One question I must ask you:

    Do you find that diversifying the genre of games you work on help BUILD your fanbase, or detract from having a core one you can count on?

    I mean, I’m an otome lover, and so only buy certain games of yours (I would never, for example, touch Card Sweethearts), and because you only occasionally make otome games, I wouldn’t consider myself your fan.

    Anyway, I just wanted to ask. And great sounding games! But I’m because I love otome games… I’m only really excited about The Flower Shop girl’s side and the dating sim (pray, can you at least let us know what type of world it’s in?). The writing of the dating sim of course has to be on par with Ayu Sakata’s (I think the writing was one of the 2 main reasons I really enjoyed The Flower Shop, despite it being a boy’s dating sim).

    • admin says:

      About the first question is a catch-22. I mean, until you find the niche you like to work AND is profitable, you need to diversify. Then, once you find one, you can settle in and make many games of that genre: however, there’s always the possibility that you’re missing a lot of money by not making RPG games :) And so on.
      You’ll be pleased to know that I’m going to make MANY otome games in future.
      Flower Shop spin-off IS written by Ayu, so no worries about that! The world is the same as the first episode, with Fairbrook and some old characters and some new ones.
      Spirited Heart also could be considered an otome game, so if you didn’t play it you should check that out.
      I have also 2 “secret” otome game / dating sim that are being made together with other people, but their releases depends on how quick they do their job so I can’t give any estimates…

  2. Tilia says:

    So sorry to hear you are not going to make the 3rd Vera Blanc. Vera Blanc is so far my favourite of the games made by you. Looking forward to the second installment and still hope that next year you may make the third one.
    But Flower Shop and Spirited Heart sequels sound good.

    • admin says:

      Well I’m really sorry too because I liked doing it. It’s still a mystery to me why the game didn’t do well as I expected, considering it got ALL super-positive reviews and general praise from everyone. Just to be clear it wasn’t a total flop, but considering the investment in art/time, I can’t afford a new one very soon :(
      It probably could work better keeping the same character/setting but with different gameplay, more casual with less texts. Or maybe I should make a manga version, then it would sell more for sure (I’m being a bit polemic here, but the sad thing is that it’s true).

  3. DaFool says:

    Regarding Unity… has anyone figured out how to make development of 3D art assets affordable yet? I’ve been wanting to do 3D for the longest time but all of my calculations always end up with needing to hire an entire studio (of artists).

    Regarding diversification vs branding you can do both by branding the teams behind each project, similar to developers and publishers. I think Sake Visual would make for a good otome brand (publishing either by itself or working w/ Winter Wolves). Winter Wolves sounds too much of hardcore brand to me, which is just perfect though for RPGs and tactical games. Tycoon Games can be for all the other stuff like Summer Session, Card Sweethearts, etc.

    It’s the same way I still buy Sega stuff even though they’re the company behind really bad movie cash-in games (Ironman 2, etc.). As long as I know the team behind it (which essentially determines the genre as well).

    • admin says:

      Well no secret that to make 3d games you need HUGE investments. Or be yourself a 3d artist, that would help a lot :D
      About the sites I agree, I started Tycoon Games actually to make more games like strategy/tycoon, but I ended up doing Summer Session and discovering those kind of games, so…
      I’m probably going to add another site specific for Otome games, and use Winter Wolves for RPG/strategy/simulations.

  4. Regless says:

    just played your card sweethearts and summer session. Really liked card sweethearts. Character, art and plot were all good. a little short but still way better then most of whats out there. Hope to see a sequel eventually.

    • admin says:

      Of card sweetheart is very unlikely, of summer session could happen. Unfortunately (but luckily for the girls who follows me) I have to shift my focus to main girly-games, since the male-oriented games like card sweethearts sells much less (probably due to piracy, but not sure to be honest).

  5. Soh says:

    I played Flower shop on my friend’s laptop. I really liked it. So i will be glad to buy the girl side one ! I hope dating sim games are profitable for you, cause we’re craving for them especially cause they’re in english hehe

    • admin says:

      Well I really like to make dating sims, especially those which integrates minigames like Flower Shop. Also there’s less texts to write so it’s much better than a normal VN! ;)

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