Jun 05

Weekly Update #355: GENBA Chapter I Update

In last week’s blog post, I presented to you the changes we’ve recently made to the prologue of GENBA no Kizuna.
Today, we’re going to do the same thing again, but this time in regards to the actual first chapter!

With the prologue, I guess you can say that the changes made are overall very minor. With the first chapter, on the other hand, you will be able to see some more significant and obvious tweaks. Before we get into those, however, here’s a quick list of some general adjustments which have already been covered last week, but also apply to chapter 1:

  • Kanji/Name Changes: Just like Nobuhiko‘s family name, Shinketsu‘s had to be adjusted as well, since the kanji writing for “Kikai” was changed in last year’s anniversary update for SHINRAI. Furthermore, Terano‘s family name has been changed from “Umou” to “Takamori”. “Umou” had always been a sort of placeholder until I’d find a better name, but at some point it kinda stuck. Ultimately, I still didn’t like the sound of it though, and thus it was changed. The family name is, after all, the name he will be mostly referred to, so its sound and meaning was very important to me.

  • Visual Adjustments: Again, the DPA content was updated to now feature a slightly bigger text size, some sprites were adjusted and the chapter intro screen now features the silhouettes of Raptor Pack Productions rather than our police investigators, which makes a lot more sense given the title.

  • Updated Assets: Some assets have been updated, now being in their final state. The best example of this would be the main hall background. Ever since the release of our extended demo, I’ve added a bit more detail to it (a carpet, light switches, shadows, ceiling lights, etc.), saturated the colors and, more importantly, added the missing pieces of evidence that you will be able to examine during the investigation in chapter 2.

Let’s have a quick comparison between the old and updated BG, which also highlights another change I’ve made:

As mentioned last time, it’s not going to be as obvious in the prologue, but the first chapter is where the new narration segments really come into play. So why did I decide to go this route? Well, there is actually a variety of reasons for it. First of all, I simply prefer writing past tense narration (as you could probably tell from SHINRAI). It’s more difficult, but also a lot more fun.

Originally, I imagined GENBA to be a quick paced Ace Attorney-style game which would be mostly told through dialogues and internal monologues, but while working on the later chapters, I realized that I put a rather inconvenient restriction on myself by banning the use of narration. Which resulted in a lot of unnecessary complications and headaches.

Narration allows me to convey different kinds of information in a much less awkward way than it’s possible through Keiichi‘s internal monologue. I can describe his sensory perceptions or the actions he and the other characters are taking without things sounding a little… stilted. One example of this is Ryuunosuke‘s coughing fit:

The first two textboxes are what’s currently in the demo. The last one is the new “narration style”.

After a while, it just felt a bit awkward to constantly have Keiichi describe what’s happening and what he’s seeing through his thoughts. I mean, who’s he talking to? He’s just standing there, describing what’s happening before his eyes… to himself.
At that point, I might as well use narration anyway, which also allows me to elaborate a bit further on what’s going on.

Besides, I kinda already did use narration, even if it was just during one particular moment:

When Keiichi first approaches the T-Rex to check out the body, he originally described his actions through present tense narration. This part had always felt out of place to me, because this was literally the only instance it ever happened. So the sudden stylistic change in writing kinda felt out of place. It was also a bit difficult to tell apart his narration from his actual thoughts.

Yet I stuck to it, because I wanted to create tension here and let the player’s imagination run wild as to what he was seeing, rather than just show a quick CG.

Now, I have turned everything into actual past tense narration, however. And with all the new narration segments added, it doesn’t really feel out of place anymore. Moreover, by using a different tense as well as removing the brackets, I think it now also clearly separates the narration from his “present moment thoughts”.

Anyway, as I said before, GENBA is still going to feature far less narration than what you might be used to from SHINRAI, since I still want to keep a quicker pace. However, with the narration added now, I’m having a much easier time handling some of the later scenes, and I’m also having a lot more fun, as I can actually take a moment every now and then to craft some atmosphere.

I really should have gone this route from the start, given that I enjoy writing and reading narration so much more myself, but… somehow, I always looked at Ace Attorney and thought, GENBA should be similarly written to that. In the end, GENBA is its own thing, however. It’s heavily inspired by Ace Attorney, but I do want to stay true to my own preferences, desires and style.

Well, this became a bit lengthy, but I guess that about sums it up. I still need to revise some of the new script segments, but the first chapter update is more or less taken care of now. As such, I can finally go back to focusing on the actual new stuff that will continue the events of our demo!

Maybe I’ll talk about that a little next week, so until then, please enjoy the rest of your weekend and take care :3