Feb 29

Weekly Update #289: GENBA Research Topics

While continuing my work on the outline for GENBA no Kizuna, which mainly consists of structuring the final discussion/revelation of all the mysteries at the moment, I’ve ended up doing some more research on various topics. Research is always a very important aspect to me, when it comes to writing a story. Thus, I’ve decided to give you a little overview of all the things I’ve looked into so far, just to write my little murder mystery visual novel.

It’s quite a lot at this point. When I thought about it and saw the list in front of me, I was honestly shocked myself, haha. So here are all the topics I’ve done extensive research on (at least the ones I can think of right now):

– Bearded Vultures
– Falconry
– (Independent) Filmmaking
– Animatronics
– Telemetry
– University Systems
– Tōkyō Metropolis (economy, geography, infrastructure)
– Kabukichō (entertainment & red-light district)
– Hostess Clubs
– Loan Sharks
– Organized Crime (Yakuza)
– Police Organization
– Policework
– Crime Scene Investigation
– Forensic Science
– Medical Science
– Immune Deficiencies
– Paleobotany
– Paleontology

(And, of course, various dinosaur-related topics, from the Mesozoic period down to individual species w)

Naturally, this list isn’t getting into the finer details. So when I’m talking about “Forensic Science”, for instance, it can be further divided into topics like DNA collection, DNA analysis, fingerprinting, etc. Furthermore, with many of these topics (like the university systems), I looked into how it works both in Japan and the U.S.

I’ve read a lot of articles and research papers, and watched many documentaries and YouTube videos. Basically everything I could get my hands on: interviews with ex-mafia members, forensic scientists breaking down crime scene investigation, a falconer training a bearded vulture, and so on and so forth. All in the pursuit of realism.

It probably doesn’t sound exciting to most people, but to be honest, I had a ton of fun doing all this research. It didn’t feel like a chore at all. I found all of it fascinating and definitely learned a lot during these past few years. It was a very pleasant experience.

However, I guess that sometimes, I dig a little too deep and lose track of what’s important. Having a story that’s grounded in reality and doesn’t stray too far from it is very important to me. Especially since this is a murder mystery, meaning that “logic” plays a huge role in it. At the same time, I often have to remind myself that I’m making an anime-style visual novel… not a documentary w

As much as realism is important, this is still supposed to be a game. And as such, it needs to be fun to play. So sometimes, realism has to be ditched in order to ensure that. After all, if I were to precisely follow the rules of real life crime scene investigation, this whole thing would become quite a boring, super slowed-paced slog to get through.

Therefore, some crazy things are going to happen and you will come across very eccentric characters. And every now and then, there will be somewhat futuristic elements in order to simplify things (the DPA being the best example of that).

There needs to be a balance between fun and realism. The game should be enjoyable and maybe even a little crazy, but not to an extent where everything seems so ridiculous that it takes you out of the experience. At the same time, it should be realistic enough, so that players won’t constantly question what’s presented to them (in the worst case scenario even leading to an inability to solve a mystery, because the actual laws of physics would make the culprit’s trick impossible to pull off, for example).

It’s really hard to strike said balance and sometimes, I get so lost in trying to make things as realistic as possible, that I feel I’m losing a bit of the fun in the process. So this post isn’t just a look behind the scenes for you, but a little reminder to myself not to take things too seriously. After all, the mystery games I enjoy the most can be pretty ludicrous, too. And that’s what makes them so fun!

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

(PS: if you’re curious about the original outline for SHINRAI, there is a new post up for patrons!)