why is it that visual novels seem to lag so pathetically behind expectations of storytelling, relative to any other medium? On this continent, at least, they're more expensive than television, paper books, or most movie formats... but the medium of the visual novel itself seems to make it exempt from whatever expectations we would have of writing in those other genres.
Most visual novels today are "Type B" works (as is most anime as well): they provide characters to wank off to. Most studios prefer Type B because it's easy to merchandise: artbooks, figurines, drama CDs. Simply, they sell.
Twilight is a Type B work, only in live action. A lot of Hollywood is becoming Type B as well... most movies feature famous actors just for the sake of having famous actors (whereas I'd rather watch a good movie with no-name actors who know how to play their roles rather than being distracted "Oh look! It's Tom Cruise acting like... Tom Cruise")
It's quite close to the problem we touched on in the discussion between BxG, GxB, and non-renai games. "Type A" works are works that do well as non-renai (or can also be romantically focused, just not focused on making X character wank material)
• "Transnational-ism" and the peculiar contrasts that arise between Asian and Western (other cultures too, more rarely, come up in this mix...)
It is generally said that Eastern media focus on characters, while Western media focus on plot, in general. So there's more pre-disposition towards Type B in the East.
• perhaps because the whole genre is in some sense still haunted by its association with Hentai... in fact, the domination of these themes is so great that they still seem to define games that have had their content censored or toned down for the western market (i.e., you're often left with the sense that the raison d'etre for the game is exactly what the censors cut out of it).
And the Japanese don't want to do anything about it:http://omochikaeri.wordpress.com/
I'm currently almost finished reading Sharnoth and am enjoying it only because it's a breath of fresh air and my affinity for steampunk material; otherwise it drags on and on and repeats scenes and phrases just to stretch the experience. Perhaps it's because it's the translation, but I have a feeling a good Western writer would be able to provide a similar experience while still saving me 20 hours of filler.
• The quantity of work involved in producing a visual novel is actually pretty high... an estimate of how many man-hours of labor produces one of these things (i.e., including all the time for illustrations and programming, etc.) would definitely exceed a paper novel... and the fact that the creators work so much harder than the readers heightens my sense of disbelief that these things are so often produced (with intricate details, etc.) but simply "go nowhere" and seem to have had nothing to say in the first place.
I enjoy Japanese games but I hate how most of them seem to be designed for hikikomoris. 50 hours and probably only 10 hours of that is non-filler.
Due to the mostly linear nature, VNs are content intensive, since each branch may require new CGs, despite the savings afforded by recycled sprites. I've mentioned this before but I think CGs are the main culprit for delayed projects.
If it were a regular video game, you'd just build the setpiece once, the characters once, then use machinima techniques to animate the cutscenes. I think that's far more efficient in the long run.
VNs are expensive, more expensive than console games because they are a niche product. The studios know they usually won't sell more than 5,000 to hardcore fans so they price accordingly.
Even if a visual novel is more of a light comedy (and less comparable to Tolstoy) I really have to wonder why they don't seem to be written with nearly as much passion or purpose as (e.g.) a stand-up comedian (who really has something to say about dating and relationships, etc.) --or, indeed, well-written TV sitcoms (many of which have a carefully structured thesis fit into the 30 minutes... not something I enjoy personally, but millions of people do).
And that is why I am working with Taleweaver. Daemonophilia is a good example of this in action. I've seen many good writers in these forums over the years but for some reason they feel the need to default to the conventional Japanese pointlessly long-winded narrative style.
I want eastern graphics, an eastern format, but western writing.
For the record, it was Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn that made me discover anime and get into the anime fandom.