Right now I’m finishing Heileen 3, but I’m also working on two sci-fi games: Bionic Heart 2 and Planet Stronghold 2. As the title suggests, both are sequels. Bionic Heart was one of my first visual novel, and if I compare the artwork and the writing of that first title with the new one, the difference is immediately noticeable:
One of the first scenes of Bionic Heart 2, the shuttle to Mars
I am not hiding that the first Bionic Heart game was a very controversial game. Was one of the first western visual novels to get some attention in many japanese sites (probably the combo of the sexy android + romance did it) but also one of my worst selling games ever (beaten only by Vera Blanc!).
So why I made this sequel you might ask? Well first of all, I am indie because I have a passion for games. Even if I need to make money to live, I still have room to make some “game experiments” from time to time. Bionic Heart 2 will be one of them.
Second, because I never knew if the insuccess of the first game was because of the sci-fi theme, which typically appeals men more, or because of the game quality that, overall, wasn’t really good.
Apart for some “social boss fights” that are some kind of mini games to be fight picking sentences in the right order, the game plays like a regular visual novel, albeit with multiple point of views. I can say already that unless the game does pretty well, it will be my last visual novel ever.
And here I get to my title. I’m definitely moving past visual novels, at least in the immediate future (God only knkows what I’ll do in 5 years from now!). But don’t worry, by that I mean the “pure visual novels”, like the first two Heileen games. Dating / life sims like Always Remember Me or Spirited Heart are another thing.
Why I made that decision? Because I want to focus more on the gameplay, play mechanics, to reach a broader audience. I always liked to design gameplay, life simulations, and RPGs. While for RPGs I said I won’t release more than one a year, for dating/life sims I plan to do them more often.
Also who knows, maybe I could try my hand in future in making a classic adventure game, either first or third person view. Or do something different, but still story-based.
This of course, unless Bionic Heart 2 does really well. It should be out at the beginning of the 2013 so I’ll find that out pretty soon