Thursday, 7 October 2010

Interview with Zane of Welcome Studios

Today's article is an interview with Head Writer and Project lead from Welcome Studios; Why don't you introduce yourself?

Zane: I'm Zane and I'm working on a Visual Novel for a game I like with some really cool people and I'm really nervous about getting it done.

Me: Awesome; So can you give me a general outline of what the Visual novel will feature; Like a basic story or a feature like that?

Zane: Well at least for the first chapter the story isn't going to be anything really mindblowing. Kids are locked up in their highschool. There's a murderer amongst them. They have to find out who it is. Typical mystery stuff, but the overarching story is where it gets interesting.

The Visual Novel, like the game it's based on, takes a lot of inspiration from the "When They Cry" series. If you've played those VN's then you know what to expect. Each chapter of the story is a repeat with things changed; who dies, who's the killer, everything but the barebones plot.

Me: How about the team you've got working on this title? Are you confident in their abilities and have they done any work like this before?

Zane: This project is really a learning experience for everyone involved. Our coder hasn't really done anything like this, but I'm really impressed with what he's done so far. Besides coding he's really helped a lot with plot and characters. I'd probably call him a co-head really.

I was actually surprised that the artist agreed to work on this. He was already working on a Mitadake High comic, and I could tell his art style was just perfect for what we're doing.

Music wise I'm not too sure what to expect. I asked a personal friend if he could get it done, and he agreed, but he didn't mention he was going to be joining the military.

I always worry a lot since I can only see my own progress, I'm really neurotic about these things.

Me: How about you? Have you even worked on something like this before?

Zane: Eh, not really. As a writer I'm much better at short stories and poems. I've been meaning to start a full length story for some time now, and this seemed as good a place to start as any.

Having a team together makes it a lot easier knowing I'm not responsible for everything.

Me: How far into the development are you?

Zane: No more than 20%, probably closer to 10%. There is no music completed, no backgrounds, one character base finished, and about 20 minutes of story done. This doesn't even include editing, coding, and testing. Although it's a lot given the short amount of time we've been working.

Me: As an indie developer of your first Visual Novel; How is the fanbase treating you? From what I understand you've built your title from a popular BYOND game Mitadake High - How did the original creator of that game take the news? And how about the fans?

Zane: Ahaha, well from fans of the game the general consensus has been "What's a Visual Novel?" Outside of the official forums I haven't really advertised it at all, so when I do mention it in game nobody knows what I'm talking about. Always worth a laugh or two.

Neus and I haven't really had any contact outside of me asking for permission to sell. It was surprising how easygoing he was about it, responded back with a simple "Go for it."

Me: Obviously the question on everyone's mind is; How about a price and estimated drop date?

Zane: Price is looking to be somwhere between $15-$20, with a special pay what you want sale at it's release. At the time release date is looking to be whenever. It could potentially be finished in a month, but it's far more likely to take at least three just to get a playable copy. Also, everyone? I'm glad to see the advertising campaign is going so well.

Me: I don't want to be jumping the gun here, but do you have any projects planned for after this?

Zane: If there's a chapter 1 there has to be a chapter 2 doesn't there? But if you mean outside of Mitadake, I would love to write more visual novels. It's really a medium I feel comfortable working in.

Me: Are there any links that potential fans can follow to find out more?

Zane: The only place I keep track of is here and you need to join the forum. If more interest was expressed in the project I'd probably open up a Dev blog to fill people in.

Me: Well hopefully you'll get that break through that you and your team deserves; Thank you for this interview and I look forward to the final product.

Zane: Not a problem, thank you very much.


UPDATE: Since this article originally went out, Zane told me that there is a blog spot that you can find him and his team at http://mitadakehighvn.blogspot.com/

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