Let’s get straight to the point: Never Forget Me is now officially out! You can download the demo, find more info and purchase it from here: http://www.winterwolves.com/neverforgetme.htm
And now a short “postmortem” about the game and a few considerations.
The game idea
The game basic idea came to me last year, I thought that could have been fun to explore the married couple life, something very different from what the usual dating sim do. In practice, start the game where most other dating sim end! And then I thought that the perfect game to do this was a sequel to Always Remember Me.
For this game, I wrote the storyboards myself, since I am quite attached to those characters and this story. The first game was quite popular, also thanks to a series of videos by the famous youtuber Dodger. Will she cover also this game? who knows, I hope so! 🙂
Of course, being about the married life there was a basic problem: you couldn’t pursue several romances! (well, at least in theory…)
So I had to think how it would work, and I opted to let the player choose at the beginning of the story which romance route they wanted to play:
The other characters might appear on each route, but only as secondary/minor characters. The main focus would be the one you picked.
Then I had a big problem: what kind of gameplay? Originally I wrote the game as a pure visual novel, with the endings determined only by the choices. Each character has 10 scenes, with a choice in each and two options.
Based on your choices, you’d get 5 endings: 2 happy, 2 sad and 1 neutral.
Please note that while obviously people will want to get the happy endings, I think that even the sad ones are somewhat meaningful or interesting to play. In one sad ending for Eddy for example you learn how to stay away from men interested only in their career, while in a Hugh’s one you could learn that you need to fight to get your hard work recognized, even if the boss is your husband, etc.
Every path has a specific theme, as described in the game page.
I decided during the last month of development, to try adding also a scheduler/stat-raising gameplay. By completing the game in this mode, you would unlock two extra bonus epilogues: a happy epilogue and a normal epilogue.
Even for the stat raising, I wanted to try something different from the usual: the big difference in this case is that beside raising the character’s associated stat (like in most other games) to get the 100% relationship you also need to complete “goals”. The goals are randomized a bit, based on each love interest, and they are based on raising the OTHER stats.
For example, Aaron main stat is Romance. But to complete the goals, you’ll need to raise the other 3: Diligence, Culture and Creativity. Each goal will have different requirements. Some are also influenced by the Social/Energy values at the end of each week. This way, there’s more variety of gameplay and also a bit of strategy I think. Time will tell if people liked this idea or not 🙂
The game is just out so of course I cannot know how it will do, etc. During the beta it was doing “OK”. However, this game also took me only 2 months of storyboarding (done last year in February/March) while I was waiting for other games to be done. And another 2 months to script/code.
In summary this could well represent one of the infamous “smaller games” (for my standards: it’s still bigger than many other games! about 90k words and 8 CGs is not bad!) that I want to make, to ease the wait for the bigger ones.