Torn on Protag gender

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OhthatCal
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Torn on Protag gender

#1 Post by OhthatCal » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:44 am

Hello everyone! I'm Cal and usually a lurker on this site, but I'm working on developing my first visual novel at the moment and as the title suggests, quite torn between the gender of my protagonist.

The game itself is going to be a plot driven game with romance choices that lead you to different endings and plot happenings... but I'm not sure if making the protag a male and therefor gay (all romances are male) is going to be popular enough to actually charge for since I intend for it to be commercial. I could alter it and make the protag female since I know otome games are very popular, but its sad how few games with realistic gay romances there are....

Is it very difficult to sell bl games? Or well, how difficult would it be to have the player be able to choose what gender they are?

I do hope this is the right forum to ask this and thank you guys so much for your time!

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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#2 Post by trooper6 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:03 am

It isn't mechanically difficult to have the player choose what gender they are. It just means more art assets on your part...and perhaps writing things in slightly different ways.

As for should you write an otome, or a gay romance game is up to you. Coming Out on Top seemed to do well. If you want to make a gay romance, you should make a gay romance. I think you should do what you are passionate about. If you are half-hearted about something it increases the odds that a) you won't finish it and b) if you do finish it the quality won't be as good.

Worry about the work of art first.
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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#3 Post by andrewngn13 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:00 am

The stories I love and respect the most are the ones that show the author's love for their story. Although I don't think I would be buying a BL game myself, I can certainly respect the game if it's clear you put the time in.

I can't say I know much about realistic gay romances, but I'm guessing it differs greatly in viewpoint between girls who like BL and gay men? Speaking from a market standpoint it might be harder to sell.

However like trooper6 said, worry about your art assets first.
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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#4 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:51 am

OhthatCal wrote: Is it very difficult to sell bl games? Or well, how difficult would it be to have the player be able to choose what gender they are?
Break Chance Memento is currently sold on Steam and the creator's site. Unfortunately, I don't know how it's selling.

Mangagamer released No, Thank You! in the recent past. Their staff blog indicates that it was their #3 best seller during 2015. During AX 2016, the company announced that it would localize Naked Butlers, which also seems to be a good sign.

In the recent past, Eldet had quite a bit of success on Kickstarter. Right now, Sentimental Trickster seems to be doing well on the same site. Keep in mind that getting backers on a crowd-funding site isn't the same as selling an indie game / VN.
OhthatCal wrote: I could alter it and make the protag female since I know otome games are very popular, but its sad how few games with realistic gay romances there are....
I understand that creating commercial software is risky. However, if your passion is to write male x male romance, then I would say go for it.

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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#5 Post by Dollysama » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:56 am

I can't speak for others, but I'd certainly choose a BL game over a regular otome game any day.

Looking at the amount of BL and otome games out there, I'd say it's probably easier to sell a BL game as there aren't as many, whereas there are so many otome games that it's a lot harder to make your game stand out.

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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#6 Post by SundownKid » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:04 am

Dollysama wrote:I can't speak for others, but I'd certainly choose a BL game over a regular otome game any day.

Looking at the amount of BL and otome games out there, I'd say it's probably easier to sell a BL game as there aren't as many, whereas there are so many otome games that it's a lot harder to make your game stand out.
On the contrary, usually, if there are many games of a certain genre, it's because the devs discovered that it was easy to make money from those games. While there could be an issue with standing out, as long as your game is not generic, then you will probably not have that big of a problem. You don't want your game to be something where someone could point to another game and say "this game is just like that one, but worse."

So as far as sales potential goes I think it's safe to say that an otome game would do better, money wise, because there are so many already out there which demonstrates a market.

Of course, a big reason of what compels people to make indie games is because their favorite genre or type of game is extremely underrepresented. Which creates a bit of a paradox, because those kinds of games still won't be very commercially viable.

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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#7 Post by KittyWills » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:09 pm

As a queer person, I would recommend you not making a BL game solely for the purpose "it might sell better". It's a little... off putting. Assuming that your main audience is going to be queer, sans that small group annoying yaoi fangirls, you may end up your game being lacking in that regard.
I've noticed in the last ehh, 5 years or so, BL has moving from being mindless gay porn and is attempting to treat us like people. A change I am more then happy for, but makes it a lot more obvious when you don't know what you are doing.

Push come to shove, make what you yourself feels stronger at writing and will enjoy more. People are going to buy your game if it's interesting and fun to play. You said it was more plot driven anyways so do what you relate to. In my opinion anywho. :)

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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#8 Post by Chocopyro » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:52 pm

The only real connection I have to the BL audience is my rabid yaoi fangirl friends, and I'm pretty sure, if you could tap into that market, or the right tumblr circles, depending on whether its a time of the year where they are broke or not, you would be able to sell quite nicely as long as the artwork is pretty, the premise is cute or alluring, and the right bloggers get their hands on it. As for those of my friends who are gay, I really don't know quite what they look for in Visual Novels. Surprisingly, a lot of them seem to play the same hetero BxG games I do. If they play anything else, I simply don't hear about it, likely because they either think I might get grossed out, or simply just tilt my head to the side and stair at them blankly, given that BL just isn't my cup of tea. Again, its the fangirls who seem to be the most excited about the genre, and for all I know, they could be interested in a very different style of yaoi game from the boys that play them.

I'm not really sure if sales should be the main goal for putting out a first project, though. Just make something from the heart and do what you can to make it good. Make the game you always wanted to play, save for compromises in the budget and whatnot. Worry about marketing choices after the original vision is well on its way to being realized.

I hope that helps, and remember, you aren't beholden to any of our opinions.
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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#9 Post by OhthatCal » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:15 am

Thank you guys so much for your feedback! I've decided to go forth with making the main protagonist a man and do what I really am passionate about, it was really great to read through everyone's thoughts and it really made me realize that you guys are right. If I put all my effort into it, I can both make a great game, as well as hopefully something that helps normalize gay relationships further and continue moving away from 'rabid yaoi'.

I'd love if people would continue posting their thoughts though!

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Re: Torn on Protag gender

#10 Post by Chocopyro » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:07 pm

Sure, sociology is always an interesting topic for me. ^_^

There will always be a shallow yaoi audience. Actually, the same can be said for bishonen, bishoujo, futa, and yuri. Personally, I don't really think that's a bad thing. I personally love all the tropes, the archetypes, and the cliches in anime. I love the stereotypical high school anime love story with your generic tsunderes and classic predictable plots. I'm not tired of them yet. Even something cliched can shine if its truly inspired. Those are the games/anime/manga/vns that people pick out because they're simply in the mood to play something after all. So I don't think that simplification in media is a bad thing. The more something gets simplified, the more assessable it is, and the easier and faster it spreads. And looking back at my otaku convention life, the conversations I've had, and the people I've met over the years, I actually believe that yaoi has gone a long way towards desensitizing the Otaku audience towards gay characters and relationships. But that being said, while I'm not one to wave the ethnocentric social crusade flags, now's probably start growing the seeds that have been planted. Not every story needs to be complex, deep, and realistic. But we should probably start making stories/characters that ARE more complex and realized to be more abundant if we want to humanize both genders and all orientations. Art is truly the basis of culture, in my humble opinion. So by all means, go for it. If you want to normalize gay relationships, the best way to do it is to put a story out there that presents a main character who's human, and happens to like guys, but has a plot that anyone could enjoy. I'm not likely to ever play anything that labels and sells itself as BL or Yaoi. But I'm mature enough to handle a gay main character if the plot, setting, and characters move past that. Then it becomes more about watching interesting characters develop rather than "Why am I playing a yaoi game? I don't get anything from this." :|
^
|___That by the way is how I, a straight/asexual guy, can play otome games and h-games, after all. If there's more than just pretty guys that I'm expected to stare at and squee over, or sex scenes that serve as the primary selling point, then I have water to swim in. So I really could care less about the gender or sexual orientation of a protagonist, if I'm playing a game for an entirely different purpose than romance. (And if it is a GxB romance, then hopefully the protagonist and her interactions are adorbs. I imagine it works about the same for straight girls that play BxG games, so I was sure to develop the story and characters enough to provide for them as well.)

I hope that makes sense. It can be rather hard to express a lot of my opinions. Since a lot of them go deeper than the shallow package I originally wrap them in, people with twitchy activist triggers tend to jump on me before I can even get around to concluding that in a complicated way, I'm still on their side. I have a trans friend who never lets me finish my sentences because of that. :lol:
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