Feb 04

Weekly Update #181: DPA Content & Immersion

Since I’ve spent most of my time working on the DPA/notebook content for GENBA no Kizuna over the last few days, I thought I might as well make that today’s topic.

The DPA (which stands for “Digital Police Assistant”) will basically function just like Raiko’s notebook in SHINRAI. As you can see by the screenshot above, it contains five different categories, all of which should be pretty much self-explanatory.

The last tab might be labeled differently this time around, but it still works like Raiko’s diary, essentially providing a synopsis of the story that will get updated as you progress. The reports will once again be written by the characters themselves, hopefully making them more interesting to read. My aim is to actually make them fun enough that even players who won’t need them still want to check them out as soon as they get added.

But yeah, if you’ve played SHINRAI, you should feel right at home. Later on, during gameplay sections, the DPA will also get some special features, but we will talk about those when we actually get there.

What you can see above are all the entries in the trivia section you will be able to unlock in the demo. As the category label states, none of it is particularly relevant to the case or story. It’s just additional info, some for educational purposes (as said before many times, there will be lotsa dino trivia, haha), some purely there for world-building.

The first three entries will give players a lot of background info on the characters and the world they live in. I’ve personally always loved this kind of stuff and had a lot of fun working on it. Some of the most basic yet essential writing advice you will often hear is that, in order to make fictional characters feel real, you have to treat them as though they are real.

The same is true for locations as well. If you want your story to be immersive and your world to feel as though it could actually be a real place, you have to treat it as though it’s real. Coming up with a name for a fictional city isn’t quite enough. You have to give it an actual history. It’s not just about “What is this place like now?”, but also “How did it become like this?”. Even if the decision is made not to tell the readers/players about it, the author should still know about these things. Because they’re important for a realistic portrayal. Or at least that’s how I see it.

It’s not just that, though. When I say “treat it as though it’s real”, I really mean it. I’m not going into detail about GENBA as you will be able to find out soon enough in our demo. However, if you’ve read SHINRAI, you might remember the trivia entry about the Miyamoto Mountain Resort, for example, which detailed all sorts of things, right down to some of the famous sights in the area. You can definitely expect more of that stuff in our new projects.

Of course, you can argue where to draw the line. When I started writing an entry about the economic situation of my fictional city, I figured that I might actually be going a tad too far, haha. Still, as stated before, I personally love when other games are doing this kind of stuff. Going those extra steps to actually sell their worlds as real by providing all this supplementary material you can immerse yourself with… It’s fun for me as a player to read and it’s fun for me as an author to write.

There is also one other major aspect to it, though. This actually brings me to a point my good friend Kinjo Goldbar talked about in his recent blog post about writing: foreshadowing.

Some of the notebook entries are really just there to fulfill that purpose. They bring up certain things that might seem random or pointless at first, but will become important later on. Just so they won’t pop up completely out of nowhere. A couple of the entries even hint at things that will become plot points in Withering Without Hope.

Basically all of this is completely optional, of course. Players won’t be forced to go through all this stuff. I’d still urge them to check it out, but hopefully, I have succeeded at making it interesting enough that they’ll end up wanting to read through all of it either way.

In any case! Outside of the character profiles, which I’ve been saving for last, everything else for the demo should be done now (at least I’m hoping I’m not forgetting yet another important detail “orz). That means Natsu will be able to continue coding in the coming week. If everything goes well, I might announce a date for the public demo release in our next update.

Other than that, I’d like to once again draw attention to our Patreon page. Patrons can now have a listen to the first BGM for Withering Without Hope’s soundtrack. We’re also going to start the poll for the White Day artwork soon, so please keep an eye out for that and make sure to vote if you’re a patron!

But I guess that’s it. Please enjoy the rest of your weekend and, until next Saturday, take care! :3