Only a few months have passed since Love Bites’ release but I can already draw some conclusions about it. I’m planning to do a postmortem also for Cursed Lands later this year.
A smooth experience
As I posted already when I announced the game official release, the whole development experience went really smooth. I already knew about the work ethics of both Miakoda (the writer) and Rebecca (the main artist), but considering they both had some serious real-life issues along the road, it’s even more amazing. But everyone involved did a good job, from Matthew (the musician) to Aleema who did the GUI and trailer, the person who scripted it, etc.
When such things happens, a game gets released in a reasonable time-frame. Yes, I know that since the announcement (February 2016) to official release (May 2018) there are two years, but honestly it’s not such a long time to produce a quality game of a good size like this one, in which you can play as male or female (Nicole took more or less same amount and you can play only as female for example).
No stat raising
This was also a new choice for me, and thinking back, I should have done this sooner. In practice I already saw many complaints for some of my past games (Nicole, Roommates) in which several players didn’t really enjoy the stat-raising part, despite being a classic of dating sims. However, reading all the feedback, it seemed clear that for the vast majority of players, not only it wasn’t a required feature, but was preventing them from enjoying the story!
Keeping my theory of the “vocal minority” in mind, I still wanted to try to not have a complex scheduler and NO stat raising at all and see what happened. It went well!
I’m not saying that I’ll never do games anymore with stat raising, since in certain situation it can work, but for normal dating sims probably not. More complex games in general like raising-sims can benefit from stat raising, in particular to unlock specific scenes or gameplay features (new job, new class, new area, etc) but for games where the main goal is to advance in the story and unlock romances, probably it’s not such a good idea.
No erotic stuff
This wasn’t really a possibility since this artist doesn’t draw adult stuff, so even if in future we’ll do more games with her art, they’ll feature sexy content at best. Personally I still love the art style and in some cases even if there’s no frontal nudity the CG can be beautiful (if you played the game and saw for example Nadia/Brandon romance you know what I mean).
Still, I was a bit worried that this could have an impact on sales/public reception, and instead it went well. I mean, I can’t know if it also had an optional full nudity patch what could have happened 😛 But I’m still happy about the results as they were.
I am very happy how everything went and the game was a success in my point of view. Of course considering the rising competition and the fact that non-porn VNs on Steam have really a hard time, but especially all those things considered, it could have been a disappointment. Instead the game did better than some titles I relased back in 2016 and I was positively surprised 🙂