What do you think of Visual Novels (VNs)?

Kat says…

I‘ve been intrigued by the idea of visual novels (VNs) for a while.  For those not familiar, it’s an interactive novel with art, background music or sounds, and text.  (They can also have a high percentage of erotic content, which makes us interested, of course!)

I’ve bought a few just to see what they’re all about, and was really surprised at the quality of the artwork.  Even the amateur free VN I tried did a good job with using background art and ambience.  Even though the artwork was not expert and mostly processed photos, they really did add to the experience.

At Raythe Reign, we’ve been tossing around the idea of producing a VN for a while.  The trouble is, if we invest in artwork, it has to break even at the very least!  And we just don’t know how big the VN market is at this time.

VNs are published on Steam, but Steam goes through an approval process that may or may not screen out yaoi content, no matter how artistic.

We thought we’d ask you first…

Would you ever buy a VN (visual novel)?
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Choose your answer or add your own!

How much would you expect to pay for a visual novel?
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22 Responses to What do you think of Visual Novels (VNs)?

  1. Sabrena June 16, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    You can also publish a VN through your own website instead of just Steam, a lot of VN makers do this and put a demo out through a few sites dedicated towards that sort of thing.

    • admin June 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

      Yeah we know but you have to drive traffic to your site shop.

      • Sabrena June 16, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

        Yes, which is how the demo comes into play.

  2. Buddhaali June 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    I’ve seen a few amazing examples of moving-art webcomics (where clicking would change the background image, cause doors to open, rain to fall, neon signs to blink and action to progress) and read books that came with animated text or pictures and music. I read them and enjoyed them, but they were labors of love and were created over a much longer span of time. They took a lot of effort from a dedicated team to animate and produce. They also required a pretty advanced system to download and view, so that was also a barrier for some of the audience.

    While its an interesting concept, I don’t think it deserves to be put as a priority over simply generating new story content. Raythe is an amazing storyteller, and Mathia (and the other artists that have contributed manga and cityscapes to the site) are masterful visual artists and I think for now, the current set up is the best for showing off the separate skills of artist and author. I don’t know that adding in moving images and sound would greatly enhance the experience, and I can only imagine the money/time that would go into the animation and selection.

    I’m a bit afraid that it would cause more stress/conflict rather than be a benefit. I’m old-fashioned and like my print to be printed and my movies on the screen, haha. Sorry!

    • admin June 16, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

      Kat is always looking for the next big thing for us. My problem is that I with the full time day job adding more content like manga or stories is too time intensive. Meaning I don’t have time to write more whereas me creating a story and handing it off to be created into something else is a goal to give more content.

  3. Ryn June 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    I second Sabrena’s comment–I think it would be awesome to have it on your own website. 🙂 I would definitely buy it! For what it’s worth, I do not use Steam. I’d love to see this as an interactive VN with dialogue/action choices, too. Keep me updated, I can’t wait to see where this goes! 🙂

    • admin June 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

      If we did it, I would want to do a choose your own adventure so that there would be tons of choices.

  4. Ellie June 16, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    I purchased the Starfighter visual novel: Eclipse for $20 dollars through Date Nighto.
    It was enjoyable, but I’m not sure it was worth the $20 dollars. It probably was, since I played it a lot in order to win.
    I don’t know if it’s good for Raythe, but I’m sure you’d make one that would be much more enjoyable then Starfighter. 🙂

    • admin June 16, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

      I bought this too and thought oh this will be cool but then it was so … Shallow. I really wanted far more. I didn’t think $20 was too much because of the cost of artwork and programming.

  5. Ryn June 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    Oh, I forgot to mention–if you are worried about breaking even/making enough profit, maybe you could set up a Kickstarter for the VN, just like they did for Starfighter Eclipse? That would help to fund the process and give you an idea of how many people you can expect to sell it to right off the bat. 🙂 (Of course, I’m sure more will buy later, as well!)

    • admin June 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

      I think we would do that in terms of a Kickstarter. What I really want to do is a small movie with live actors.

      • Ukagau June 16, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

        I like this idea. But some of the current stories are fantastical. So a movie with live actors would require some cgi. Which gets expensive. And time consuming. (Though personally I would $:$;&: love it!) it just might be too much work for everyone. 🙁 maybe something simple? The vn sounds intriguing but I’ve never dolled out money for one. I’m sure there are people who would don’t are time to help on any big event you guys do. I’d offer myself but alas, stick figures are not sexy. I really sound like a negative nancy here…. I love the stories so much. Each chapter is a little excitement each time it updates. I just don’t want the excellent staff to be over burdened and fade away like other sites I’ve belonged to have…

        • admin June 16, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

          This would be any of the stories on the site. It would be made for film so it would have no cgi or anything like that. Really small budget with the money going to high quality actors.

          • Keith June 17, 2016 at 9:16 am #

            I 100% support the idea of a RR movie! *w*

            You could maybe try to contact students in film-making and students in acting to cut down the prices. They could be motivated as they probably want to gain experience and add a cool project to the portfolio, and could be looking for a talented writer to write a good script.
            Kickstarter to finance the movie is a good idea!

            I volunteer to help making the costumes!!! <3

  6. Xyven June 16, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

    A Visual Novel is an amazing idea! Yes, yes, yess!

    A Visual Novel would be amazing with your books, of course the typical Visual Novel is in the Harem Scenario. Where one Protagonist, usually female, has to choose from multiple love interests and continue down their routes to get either a bad ending or that happy ever after ending.

    Steam is a good place to start if you want, but I think they limit mature content and judging from your stories and audience.. Well, it just wouldn’t fly. But I believe you can find different sites to host and promote your games if you don’t want to create your own webpage. Kickstarter also is a great way to get funding and possible artists that want to help with the backgrounds, CG and music.

    Theres a lot of great visual novels out there and I’m sort of a visual novel aficionado, haha. My phone is overburdened with Voltage games, which are Otome games for mobile. You should consider doing that too if you decide to make a visual novel, mobile users LOVE otome games, since it’s a good thing to play while on the bus, or train, or when you have any amount of free time to yourself, having something to play really helps.

    Also, if the game seems like too much of a burden, why not try a sort of Chapter Update, like you do with stories? Release either a certain love interest’s story every so often, or a chapter in each of their routes instead of spitting out a full length game? Voltage has this system where it has 12-15 Main Story Chapters for each character, for 3.99 and then continues with adding love interest POV chapters, usually only 1-3 chapters, then Epilogues that are about 1-5 chapters and then continuing with smaller stories and Sequels that usually also contain 12-15 Chapters. The most expensive are around 4 dollars, the least is like a dollar. It’s a suggestion.

    • admin June 16, 2016 at 9:47 pm #

      I’m thinking that something near the harem scenario with people choosing which love interest would be fun. You’re right about Steam though we see some getting through. But a Kickstarter would be a better idea. We get our costs back and alittle something on top then we sell it where we can.

    • Sabrena June 16, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

      I wish Voltage would make their games available on Amazon.

  7. Shandara Majere June 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    If you have to use a voice actor can I suggest Chris Patton cuz his voice is amazing on the audiobooks I’ve heard him do for you guys. Though Michael Pauley did good too 🙂

  8. River Iris June 18, 2016 at 3:25 am #

    I did say this is what I’d want if you had an unlimited budget. I read that you might consider a Kickstarter to raise funds; I’d be one of the first to back it. I don’t have a tonne of time as of late, but I’d play to the end and back in a heartbeat. ♥

  9. Fara June 19, 2016 at 10:20 pm #

    Pretty sure Steam allows adult content at some level for VNs, because I’ve definitely seen some advertised that wouldn’t be allowed as an Amazon novel. But even if Steam didn’t allow it, there are other trusted venues (Indie Game Stand, GOG) that might be possibilities.

    As for a live action film, visual effects (known to laymen as CGI, though that term doesn’t cover the full range of VFX work) don’t *have* to be expensive and *can* be done on zero budget, depending on what you try to do with it. Many of the supernatural stories on the site don’t actually have that intensive of VFX behind them, when you get down to it. A good FX-Makeup person would be more of the FX budget than VFX for some of the titles (I’m looking at you, Sanctuary). The key to keeping the budget down on any film production is planning. You have to plan, plan, plan. Plan for everything going right, streamlining everything (hence why stuff is filmed out of order), plan for everything going wrong (and I do mean everything. If it’s physically possible in the known universe to happen, plan for it to happen). I’d suggest dipping your toes by taking some of the Future Learn classes on filmmaking, especially “Visual Effects for Guerilla Filmmakers”. I’ll be looking forward to your call-out for crew, since I’d be proud to be in the crew credits!

  10. Kotone June 22, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    I’ve played an otome game before (type of VN) which was pretty fun.

    I would really want to buy a VN from you guys, but I only have a chrome book and I sadly can’t download games on it (it won’t let you). My cellphone is outdated as well T^T

    But if you can figure out a way to let us download it to game consoles (PS4) or have it be a game you play online I’d be all for it.

  11. Keith Sacht August 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    Visiting website after directing by Amazon published author. I did not know of VideoBook format.Am in 5 year gay marriage. I read on Samsung when waiting everywhere. Already had a wide range of reading, music & movies, so glad pb length LGBTQ fiction that includes entire range of friends, friendship, dating with range of inclusion of maturity of range off stretching boundaries & discussion so relationship give & take.

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