Sep 14

Weekly Update #265: GENBA Feedback So Far

Today will be a really short posting, because there sadly isn’t much to report on. As mentioned in last week’s blog post, I was off to Italy from Monday to Thursday and there were (and still are) quite a bunch of things to take care of now that I’m back home.

As a result, I wasn’t able to really do much progress on GENBA no Kizuna. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, however, and how to handle what’s coming next. We’ve gotten some more feedback which really got me thinking. I guess the content of our extended demo (despite already going through multiple revisions and having a bunch of things slashed) is still in need of more fine-tuning. However, rather than go back and revise it once again right away, I think I just want to continue with the next scenes for now, so that the first chapter can finally be completed. And once that’s taken care of (and we have collected a bit more feedback maybe), I’ll look over the demo content once again to see what I can do about it.

Generally, reactions have been very positive so far. Players seem to really enjoy GENBA overall. There are some recurring points of criticism, however, and I’m getting afraid of repeating the same mistakes we did with SHINRAI. I’m talking specifically about players being discouraged from continuing during the first two hours of the game. I certainly don’t want to create another scenario where most reviews mention how slow the beginning is and that it only gets truly exciting later on.

I mean, I do think that the pacing has greatly improved compared to SHINRAI, but… maybe it’s still not enough.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell what else to do. I know that a bunch of players think there is too much banter/internal monologue, but… how do I strike the perfect balance? Just knowing that there is too much of it just isn’t enough for me know what to cut in order to “fix” the issue. And sometimes, I’m not even sure if it really is an issue or just a result of “impatience”, for the lack of a better term.

The most recent feedback brought up a specific scene, describing it as meaningless. And from that players perspective, I guess I’d agree. If you watch the scene, you might think it was a bit random or even pointless, and that it didn’t really add anything. However, as the writer, I know that it establishes something that will become relevant later on in the story. So to me, the scene isn’t meaningless at all. It wouldn’t even be there if it was (actually, even if it wasn’t for the foreshadowing, I’d still see a purpose in it as it just shows another side of a character that you wouldn’t get to see otherwise).

Sometimes, I feel like a lot of players expect immediate payoff for every little thing (I’ve honestly been guilty of that too and sometimes still am, but I think I’ve gotten better about it since becoming a mystery writer myself). Still, maybe the way the scene is written could be improved in some way, so that it doesn’t feel meaningless even early in the game? I don’t know. But I’ll have to think about it.

Even when it comes to Keiichi‘s internal monologues, there were times when I could certainly tell that yes, that’s actually a bit too much and it can be reduced by a few lines. But everything that’s still there is there because, to me, there is a point to it. Even if, in many cases, the point simply boils down to “characterization”. The way Keiichi thinks and internally reacts to the events and people around him defines him as a character. I mean, sometimes, you can only tell how a person really ticks by reading their thoughts, because they would never say certain things out loud.

But yeah, maybe I’m overdoing it. As I’ve said before, it’s something that’s really difficult to tell with my own writing (after all, I only write things I enjoy to read myself). But I certainly tend to criticize this exact same thing about other people’s writing, sooo…

I’ll have to think about this some more, but again, right now, I guess it’s a better idea to simply move on with the story and get back to the demo content later. I don’t want to tread water after all. That said, please continue to send in your feedback so that maybe, I can eventually figure out what exactly I will need to do!

Anyway, before we finally come to a close (this kinda got a bit longer after all w), the new Patreon poll is up now! So if you want to have a say in who is going to be featured in this year’s Halloween artwork, please head over and cast your vote!

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