Jul 29

Weekly Update #154: The Balance Between Fun & Realism

Over this past week, I have done some more editing on GENBA no Kizuna’s first Investigation Phase and started writing the intro scene for the second, which ends at the first point that will allow you to play as a different character than Keiichi, the officer-in-charge.

It is here where the actual investigation starts, with everything that happens before it being “preparation”: meeting your team mates as well as the possible suspects/witnesses, taking a look at the victim and receiving some general information about the case. The second phase is where you will actually start collecting evidence, examining the body and interviewing people.

Because of this, I’ve also invested a lot of time in some more research. Actually, the majority of my time this week went into that, as we are getting to the real meat of he story here: the actual murder and how it unfolded. And there are many things to pay attention to and which I want to get right. Unlike SHINRAI – Broken Beyond Despair, where Raiko (a middle-schooler) was the one who undertook the investigation, we have actual police investigators doing their jobs in GENBA. Most of them may be rookies, leaving some room for errors on their part, but of course they all went through proper training and, in theory, should know what they’re doing. So I did some more research and read a lot of articles and essays on crime scene investigation.

This may be a fictional story, but I want to keep a certain level of realism. I don’t want to portray things in a way that makes players go “Uhm, I don’t think it works like that.” At least not to a point where it becomes silly or bothersome. I also need to keep in mind that this is a game, after all. One that is supposed to be fun. And often times, “fun” and “realism” stand in direct opposition to one another. If I were to accurately portray a real life crime scene investigation, it would make for a rather boring game, including a bunch of time skips, since there is a lot of waiting involved in real life investigations.

One way to circumvent that is by equipping the investigators with advanced technology that you wouldn’t find in real life. Handy gadgets that make it much easier to find, collect and compare fingerprints or blood samples, for example. Things that accelerate the investigation process. It’s something many fictional stories do because, again, it would get boring and tedious otherwise.

Imagine the Ace Attorney series without Ema’s nifty gadgets. If it would purely focus on realism and go for a realistic depiction of crime scene investigation and what the job of a defense attorney is like, it wouldn’t be remotely as fun. Same if the characters weren’t as over-the-top eccentric. So yeah, I guess you could say that you can expect similar things from GENBA.

Still, I do like to keep things as realistic as possible, which is why I’m trying to find the right balance. How can I achieve the highest possible level of realism, while also providing the biggest amount of fun?

There are still a few more things I need to clear up, so I will continue doing some more research and planning once I am done typing this post. It’s not just crime scene investigation, either. There is also one other aspect I had to do a bit more research on, involving birds of prey. But to what extent that will be relevant is going to be a topic for another time, haha.

Finally, I’ve also looked more closely at the assets we will need for the prologue as well as the first investigation phase, as we want to focus on turning these into a demo as soon as possible. Right now, it seems as though the required amount of assets equals that of SHINRAI’s prologue and first chapter, despite those being almost twice as long. So there is definitely a lot of work lying ahead of us. Let’s see how much of it we can get done throughout August!

Please enjoy the rest of your weekend and, until next Saturday, take care! :3