The visible novel style is an area inside video video games that gives indie builders quite a lot of freedom and alternative to create tales that they want to see, particularly provided that the style focuses a heavy emphasis on text-based gameplay. Originating in Japan, visible novels have fairly an enormous viewers internationally, with video games starting from romance-driven tales to these with a horror method.
GB Patch Games is an indie sport improvement firm that was based in 2015 and solely focuses on the event of visible novel video games. With a lot of titles in its library already, the studio’s present focus is on its Our Life sequence. The first title, Our Life: Beginnings and Always, was launched in November 2020 whereas the following entry, Our Life: Now & Forever, is at the moment in improvement. Our Life: Beginnings and Always follows the story of two childhood pals, their households, and 4 vital summers that vary from childhood to the younger grownup years
In chatting with Katelyn Clark, founding father of GB Patch Games, I discovered a bit extra concerning the developer’s concentrate on visible novels, their method to storytelling, and among the distinctive components discovered within the Our Life sequence.
GB Patch Games was based again in 2015. With a concentrate on growing visible novels, you could have a reasonably sizable library of video games! What was the preliminary draw in direction of the visible novel style as builders?
Growing up I cherished taking part in video video games. It was quite a lot of enjoyable to work together with them and transfer the story alongside myself via gameplay. But what ended up wonderful me greater than anything was after I occurred to attempt video games that allowed you to work together with the story/character facet of the expertise. RPGs with secret endings, the Harvest Moon sequence the place you bought to select which individual the primary character married (if anybody), and so forth. The realization that in a sport the place you had some degree of management over what occurred, issues didn’t should go just one manner all the time caught with me.
Though for many of my childhood, I all the time thought regular gameplay got here first and that’s all there was. I didn’t learn about textual content adventures or genres like that till I used to be older. Visual novels have been the primary story-centered kind of sport I chanced on as a younger teen. And it was very thrilling to search out video games the place the gameplay was all about interacting with a narrative. I used to be instantly a giant fan and have been ever since.
In phrases of the visible novel style, are there any particular components to the style that stand out to you? Was there any specific hole you observed within the style that you simply thought you would fill along with your video games?
I take pleasure in tales the place not solely is something potential, however the place there might be a couple of factor potential. Visual novels don’t should observe any conventions, although sure genres do have some anticipated components, and may embrace as many choices/branches because the creator needs. It’s quite a lot of enjoyable.
I didn’t assume I used to be doing something notably wanted after I obtained into making my very own, although. I simply wished to create video games I appreciated, attempt no matter concepts I had even when they weren’t in keeping with one another, and hoped different folks would have time with them too.
With such a variety of video games throughout the style, what concerning the style has contributed to the tales that you simply’re trying to inform via your video games?
Visual novels make it simple to check out the totally different interplay ideas I’ve had an curiosity in. From level administration to timed choices, to selections which are purely for roleplaying/customization, and all the time getting to decide on who the primary character has a choice for (if anybody).
In taking part in via Our Life: Beginning and Always, I observed that the flexibility to actually customise the participant’s character is a big a part of the sport. What is the importance for the GB Patch crew by way of offering such inclusive customization choices for gamers?
When arising with the preliminary concepts for Our Life, participant customization wasn’t one thing terribly current. I used to be eager about how I wished to create a narrative the place the characters grew up over time, the way it’d be enjoyable to have your selections affect the way in which the love curiosity developed, that I wished to aim an environment that was genuinely stress-free/nostalgic to folks, and there was a purpose of actually displaying off how charming the childhood good friend trope might be if it was given full focus.
While going via that listing, troublesome choices needed to be made. With so many components and such a protracted time frame to go over, it was aggravating to attempt arising with one single, excellent strategy to do it that may give gamers of all totally different personalities a optimistic expertise. My resolution was to default to ‘well, maybe we could make it a choice instead of a set thing’.
After repeated rounds of that, it will definitely clicked that if I’m imagining gamers having this supreme little summer season story of rising up with out worries of the way it’ll play out, that one of the simplest ways to try this can be to only allow them to dwell how they wished to. It was fairly apparent looking back. At that time, we started work on arising with techniques and constructions that may enable as a lot personalization as potential in order that as many individuals as potential felt comfy and included.
Was creating extraordinarily customizable experiences a giant focus for GB Patch from the start?
It wasn’t. Originally, I wished the video games we made to be a narrative you had a say in, however nonetheless an intentional/set expertise. I believed us holding quantity of management was one of the simplest ways to make sure there was a constant tone and the gamers would really feel the methods we hoped they might and such. It wasn’t till Our Life: Beginnings & Always that every one the great issues main customization may do obtained via to me. I think about numerous our initiatives will use heavy personalization from right here on out.
Specifically taking a look at Our Life: Beginning and Always, the sport undoubtedly has so many selections to undergo. With over 300,000 phrases within the sport, there’s quite a lot of story to learn via. What has been the final method to creating each the bottom sport and the DLC related to it by way of writing and mapping out the customizable selections?
It’s undoubtedly freeform. I take every a part of the sport (Step openings, Moments, and Step closings) separately. Almost nothing is strict or unchangeable or selected in-advanced. Often there aren’t even pre-planned premises for any of the Moments. The occasions solely begin to really exist after I’m truly engaged on a single new Moment or opening or ending.
There have been overarching themes and sure varieties of scenes I knew I wished to incorporate, however I didn’t know for positive how something was going to suit or play out till I labored via every part. Then as soon as new content material was full, I’d return and add references or alterations to prior scenes the place wanted. I like having the ability to give myself as a lot time as potential earlier than deciding on the content material and being free to go together with no matter is sensible after I do attain the purpose the place a selection needs to be made.
What has been probably the most rewarding a part of creating visible novels? Is it the ultimate sport and story, the neighborhood that has sprung up round your video games, the crew that you simply work with?
Our Life: Beginnings & Always resonated with folks greater than I ever thought it might. We tried our greatest, although I truthfully thought the sport would come out to be an ‘enjoyable time’ and that’d be satisfying sufficient. I didn’t have faith that it’d achieve having a deeper emotional influence. But it did for lots of the gamers who gave it an opportunity.
Seeing how the story and characters made folks pleased, helped them really feel calmer in a extremely aggravating time, allow them to replicate on their actual lives, allowed them to dwell out issues they couldn’t of their actual life, and all of that has undoubtedly been probably the most rewarding a part of every part I’ve finished with visible novels.
Interview responses have been flippantly edited for readability.