tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

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jack_norton
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tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#1 Post by jack_norton » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:14 pm

I am really struggling over a decision. I love my character / setting of Vera Blanc but as I often posted, the sales result of the first two games have been ... terrible :| I mean, compared to a classic VN/dating sim, even my first ones (Heileen for example).
I've found some new great artist that would deliver awesome art, and I have in mind already a story which I think would be very good. Problem is, even if I love the character, I cannot really waste 2-3 months of my time to make another failure like the first two episodes!

So, I would really like to know from anyone who played it but DIDN'T buy it (or even those who bought it, if have some suggestions) what you think didn't work?

I have to say that the 3rd episode would be a first person point'n'click, like the old "Legend Entertainment" games - so no VN this time, since I believe that was one of the main problems. But maybe I'm missing something else? I don't think is the non-manga art since many people said was cool. I also will have fanservice in 3rd episode, but this time it will be optional and turned off by default, so you won't see anything unless you want to.

As I said several times I really cannot understand the reasons why it failed so much,s since is the game that got most higher reviews and most positive comments/emails of ALL games I made :lol:
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#2 Post by James » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:54 pm

I've just joined recently, so I don't have a full perspective of things. (Like how your previous games did compared to this one)

But there usually there are two common patterns that I notice with games.

1. The "wow this is new!" factor could have of faded.
2. The game got advertised towards the wrong audience.

Little more detail

1. New things always intrigue game buyers. But, when you release the 2nd continuation movie or book, it is inevitable that people will compare it to the 1st project somehow. In few cases, probably 20% in my opinion, people think the 2nd movie is better then the 1st movie. Wow factors is suppose to fade, so please don't take it personally.

2. I did a little poll on my own project and found out that most of the people are interested in the guys and the goth girl whom they comment they related to. If you look a little closer you'll find that the thread What is your type of guy when playing a GxB game?. Is one of the hottest thread in this forum. It tells you a lot about the Lemma soft audience doesn't it?

Vera Blanc is the hot girl, but I don't think the guys around him is appeal enough to the people in this forum. It might be that you just need to find other forums other then this one to advertise your game. A forum that has more guys who like girl services.


Again this is just my thoughts so I could be right or I could be wrong. Either way I hope things get better for you.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#3 Post by sayuri » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:56 pm

@James
Since you are new, I can't harp on you too much. You have to realize though, the people playing GxB games are very often times girls 12-18. Teenage girls are very... vocal. So that thread isn't really the best survey sample, in my opinion.

I think the problem with Vera Blanc was that it touched on too many genres without fitting in one. Vera had elements of puzzle games, mystery/adventure, visual novel, comic books, and point-and-click. It's safe to say all these are very niche genres. In my experience, I enjoy the Nancy Drew style mysteries but do not like mystery VNs (with some exceptions). It's because, once you solve the mystery, there is little replay value. I think Fatal Hearts is a good example of how to make a mystery VN, since no one ending answered every question presented. I did buy Vera Blanc 1 but, since I knew there wasn't much replay value there, I didn't bother to buy the second. Also, I feel that people who like text heavy games and people who like puzzle games... don't normally overlap. I didn't enjoy the puzzles at all and only played to finish the story. On the other hand, I think people who played Vera under the impression that it was a puzzle game were more likely to quit because all those words hurt their brain.

And I know you said you don't believe the art was an issue, but I have to disagree. As a stand-alone game the art is just fine and not an issue. However, since most of your games (well, the more recent ones which I bought since they appealed to me) have an anime art style, your established customer base comes to expect that. If they want to play a game with anime art, they visit your site. I cannot say for sure which of your games are the most popular. Still, if you are inconsistent as a developer, you'll find that some of your customers will feel alienated.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#4 Post by Aleema » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:10 pm

@Sayuri: he said it was a good sample of Lemmasoft players, and I think that makes it very accurate.

I'm not in a game-playing phase of my life, because I want to make games more than play them, so the reasons why I would not buy Vera Blanc are different from people who look for games to buy. =P But I didn't like how Vera was used as a protagonist, just from what I've seen. You've made no denial about using her for fanservice. That's your prerogative, though, but if you wanted to know any negative feelings I have for it, it's that. Nothing against anything else.

I love it's art style, though. I love the comic feel, so I would hate if that's a real reason why it didn't do well, because I would love to see that sort of style rewarded.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#5 Post by Mirage » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:54 am

I personally think Vera Blanc is your best game. That's aside, I am not too surprised that it doesn't sell as well.

I have to say that before playing it, I have a really bad impression. The art style is one thing (for someone who used to anime style, it takes longer to get used). The in-game arts aren't bad, but the cover art on the other hand... is not attractive. And then the story introduction made Vera Blanc sounded so much like a Mary Sue.

Let me guess that there probably less people who tried the demo compared to your other games because of it. You can't expect people to buy if they don't even try the demo.

Last but not least, if you try to please one side of the fandom, you will most likely piss the other fandom. In this case, I doubt there are many girls interested in playing. What's with abundance Vera's fan service and Brandon not being a bishonen. =P

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#6 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:03 am

Thanks some very good feedback. I think both James and sayuri are right, and Mirage too. I just checked my own site stats (since the games gets mirrored in many others sites so is almost impossible to track properly the downloads) and I found that she is right, not only VB had less downloads than my other anime/manga games, but also a lower CR (conversion rate, which means people who downloaded vs people who bought it).

Anyway, I've slept over it and found a solution. I'm going to try again the comic style, but with a fantasy RPG 8) it's a more safe genre, which means that even if the game doesn't do very well it will probably still be worth my time, and I plan to include both female but also male fanservice. There are so many girls that change their mind and bought Planet Stronghold after I posted Damien pictures on my blog/sites so... it must work :lol:
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#7 Post by SusanTheCat » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:56 am

Why I didn't even download the demo:

The title character is wearing a see through nightgown and is looking very "victim" ish. Even in the second title she is hiding behind the tough guy with gun.

I don't like wussy female characters. If she is the heroine of the story she should look like one.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#8 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:27 am

hah, curious how people decide to download or not a game just based on the title screen. Interesting :)
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#9 Post by kinougames » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:28 am

=/ The comic style. I'm an anime fan, and I play VNs because I'm an anime fan. My first VN was an amazing game that sold out shortly in Japan for 90USD a pop, that I bought at an anime convention. I buy VNs over other media because "there still isn't enough anime in America that hasn't been butchered, and I want/need that." I'm in this niche because it's a part of another niche that I like. Take out the "main niche" and it's kind of like..."well why should I buy this? It doesn't have what I like about this entire thing."

You probably got high reviews because underneath that, it may well be a good game for those who have already played it, but if the idea is to get people to buy it, I know I personally was thinking that I could find an anime game instead.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#10 Post by Der Tor » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:39 am

Yes i have to agree with the others. The artwork and especially the comic style with that great 50's feel to it is really great. But everybody here is an anime and manga fan and the same is probably true with your target group and/or your regular customers. So it's not that there is anything wrong with your product, it's just that you are trying to sell the wrong product to the wrong audience. If you want to sell Vera Blanc you have to find the right target group for it.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#11 Post by dstarsboy » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:45 am

I didn't get it because:
1) It was episodic. It gives me the sense that it's not a complete game, hence, not worth the money or only a partial experience.
2) It seemed like a mystery VN and (I think) it came out near when Jensei (sp?) came out. So if I could only get one mystery VN, I would probably choose Jensei because of...
3) Voice acting and anime style. I actually think going the comic route was pretty awesome but for some reason it's not something I would go out of my way to pay for.
4) This is kind of piggish but the girl options (if there were any, not sure if that exists in mystery VNs, that could also be a problem with it... whether or not it had any dating elements wasn't very clear) wasn't hot enough or, if she was, wasn't prominently advertised as such. The reason I bought your Bionic Girl game was because the female/robot lead was very interesting and perusing her would be fun! :)

That said, you're an incredibly talented game maker. You should just finish the trilogy more for a sense of accomplishment over profit. Maybe release episode 1 for free or something to drum up interest? I'm not sure. While money is good, it's important that people experience your awesome games as well.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#12 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:16 pm

About art: it might be true, but the problem is that, modesty apart, I've sold LOT of games beside to people of this forums :) I mean, the game did bad overall, even worse than some of my old past titles that used Poser art (which I think is horrible now lol).
So either the whole world won't play anymore a game that doesn't have manga art (don't know, it might even be!), or it was the art AND visual novel style. There are many people not using manga art for other kind of games (like Wadjet Eye adventures) and they sell well.

So what I'm doing now is trying the comic style in a completely different genre, one that I know doesn't necessarily need manga (there are plenty of realistic RPGs, like the old fallout 1-2, might&magic, etc). IF even this game sells less than, say Planet Stronghold (who has manga art), then I'll stop completely trying to use comic art :D

Maybe one day will have enough money to just make the 3rd episode of Vera, wasting 2-3 months of my time even without any "safe profit" on sight... but not right now, not this year :(
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#13 Post by Der Tor » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:19 pm

It's not because of the comic art in and of itself or that there would be no people left who like old style comic art - that's not true! But as you said yourself it's the combination of things that traditionally don't fit together thereby leaving you with no target group to market it too. You turned it into something neither fish nor fowl...
And as to making a 3rd part... conversely if you where to make a 3rd part, i would buy it - i mean i would then buy all 3! Why? Cause what you did was something new, and it takes time for people to accept something new. But once you have established that new thing people will (slowly) start to accept and respect it and then they will become curious.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#14 Post by rioka » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:37 pm

dstarsboy wrote:Maybe release episode 1 for free or something to drum up interest? I'm not sure. While money is good, it's important that people experience your awesome games as well.
If you're going to do this, I suggest you do Game Giveaway for a Day. It's a good way to get feedback, maybe get more fans, and get your game out there to audiences who may not have picked it up for $ but may do so for free. Cliffski and papillion has given at least one of their games away for free here and there are a bunch of other indie developers who have done this as well.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#15 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:15 pm

I've used that site several times in the past, but had forgot about it :)
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