Apr 18

Weekly Update #296: Chapter 2 Feedback

Over this past week, my work on the outline for GENBA no Kizuna has continued. For the first time, I shared the events of the second chapter with somebody else. Both Natsu and Kuna, actually. Getting their feedback was very useful, so today, I want to get into a little detail about that.

For the past four years, I’ve kept the entire story of GENBA to myself, partly because it was constantly in motion. It took a long time to set things in stone. Many changes were made to characters, mystery, overall story and even gameplay aspects (something I talk a bit about here). So naturally, I didn’t want to share a story with them, which was still going through various, very different iterations.

I always knew where it was ultimately headed, but the path there kept changing. And I didn’t want to spoil my partners-in-crime about the ending either, because I wanted them to experience the story the same way that players would do. You know, with all the twists and turns along the way. Which is the only way I can get the kind of feedback I really need.

Is the mystery presented in a comprehensive way? Does it get too confusing sometimes? Is there an overload of information and/or evidence? Or maybe the exact opposite? I’ve mentioned this a number of times before, but as the writer, with all of the answers in my head already, and after going through so many revisions (sometimes you would learn about a certain thing early, but then I pushed it back two chapters, etc.), things can get confusing. And it can actually become difficult to assume the perspective of an outsider and tell whether or not they would still be able to follow this complex structure you’re building.

Because of this, having both Natsu and Kuna go in blind was essential. Even if, in Natsu‘s case, I often felt a bit bad about having her help me work on a game and make the extended demo a reality, without her having the faintest idea what I was even up to with the whole thing. I greatly appreciate her trust in me not to completely f this up by the end, haha.

Anyway, Natsu being a true mystery veteran and Kuna still more of a newbie when it comes to the genre, I was also able to get two very different kinds of perspectives on this. And in the end, I would like to create a well-balanced mystery that both veterans and newcomers can enjoy. So hearing both of their commentary and the various theories they come up with is not just an extraordinary amount of fun, it is also very, very helpful!

At this point, both of them know about all of the evidence and information you can gather in the second chapter and I’m really happy with the feedback I have gotten. Even in terms of the structure and some particular ideas I had to present the story, it looks like everything works as intended. So far at least.

I feel very confident about chapter two now, but there are three more and a worry of fucking up with those. But then again, even if there are issues, I’m pretty sure we will work them out together. Back in 2011, when Natsu read SHINRAI for the first time, she offered some valuable feedback and brought some issues to my attention, which I could then fix for the visual novel version. And the same has already happened with GENBA, too. Both Natsu and Kuna helped me see some issues which I fixed over the last few days.

Getting another pair of eyes sure helps a lot. Because no matter how hard you look, there will always be something you will miss or that simply won’t cross your mind. People have different perspectives and experiences after all, which dictate what they pay special attention to and what kinds of things they tend to question.

And to me, both Natsu and Kuna are the kinds of people that make me truly think that, if they end up enjoying GENBA, it’ll be something worth putting out to a wider audience.

Thanks to their feedback, chapter three has now been adjusted as well. Can’t wait to have them read that one, too!
In the meantime, I’ll keep working hard on getting chapter four ready ASAP!

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