The Letter [Horror/Drama] - OUT NOW ON STEAM!

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The Letter [Horror/Drama] - OUT NOW ON STEAM!

#1 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:52 am

The Letter Horror/Drama Visual Novel Launches on Steam this 24th July

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The Letter is a non-chronological, horror visual novel game with seven playable characters. It is inspired by famous Japanese horror films, Ju-On: The Grudge & The Ring, by the Korean web-comic, Bongcheon-Dong Ghost, and by horror jRPG games such as Mad Father and Corpse Party.

Development for The Letter is currently work-in-progress. Once the game is complete, it will first be released on Windows, Mac and Linux. It'll then be ported mobile, for both iOS and Android, shortly after.

Features:
  • Non-chronological storytelling with seven chapters, spanning over 300,000 words.
  • Seven playable characters with varying personality and approach to difficult situations.
  • Countless butterfly effects; the choices and endings you get for the previous chapters heavily affect how the succeeding chapters will play out.
  • Full English Voice Acting.
  • Animated backgrounds and sprites.
  • Beautifully painted art style, with over 80 backgrounds and 100 CGs.
  • Original soundtrack, with opening and ending theme songs.
  • Quick-Time Events (optional).
  • Mend or break relationships.
  • A branching tree that keeps track of your progress/route.
  • A journal that narrates the events in chronological order, and jots down the clues found about the Ermengarde Mansion.
  • Over 50 achievements.
Synopsis:

In the outskirts of Luxbourne City stands a 17th-century English mansion, rumored to be haunted by vengeful spirits. After reading a letter discovered inside on the day of its open house, seven people find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of madness plaguing the Ermengarde Mansion for centuries. Will they be able to free themselves from it, or will they become another casualty?
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English Voice Cast:
  • Amanda Lee (LeeandLie) as Isabella Santos
  • Melissa Sternenberg (Mippa) as Rebecca Gales
  • Howard Wang (TehExorcist) as Ashton Frey
  • Anthony Sardinha (Antfish) as Zachary Steele
  • Amber Lee Connors (Shudo Ranmaru) as Hannah Wright
  • Curtis Arnott (Takahata101) as Luke Wright
  • Elsie Lovelock (Sweet Poffin) as Marianne McCollough
  • Amanda Julina (Amanda Gonzalez) as Amy Lorraine
  • Jeff Werden as Andrew Clarke
  • Steven Kelly (Sarifus) as Johannes Schröcken
  • Natalie van Sistine (NvanSistine) as Rose Cooper
  • Jason Marnocha (Lord Jazor) as Norman, G & Lee
  • Brittany Lauda as Kylie Suarez
Sample Voice Clips via Soundcloud
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Beta Demo In-game Screenshots!
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The Letter's Beta Demo (V0.2.0) is finally ready for public consumption! Thank you so much for patiently waiting, and we sincerely hope you'll enjoy the game! The beta demo is a testament to what we've been doing these past couple of months, and we're proud of how much the game has evolved since its alpha phase.

This is more or less how the final game is going to look/feel like, and covers the same scenes as alpha. Except for that, every element from the first demo was changed. Beta is now feature complete, but we're continuously enhancing every aspect of the game in preparation for the full release. Please take note that not everything you'll see in this demo is final.

After you finish playing the game, please answer this short survey we've prepared. We value your feedback, so please don't hesitate to tell us what you think! We'll use the data gathered to further improve the game. And as a token of our appreciation, all survey respondents will receive a special wallpaper!

Questions about this new demo:
1. Do you like it? Hate it?
2. What do you think of the characters currently presented? Do you have someone you find interesting in particular?
3. What do you think of the art style and the animated sprites?
4. How do you find the writing style compared to the alpha demo?
5. Any other suggestions, comments, critiques?

Thanks so much for your time!
Last edited by Yangyang Mobile on Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:37 am, edited 17 times in total.

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Re: The Letter [Horror]

#2 Post by Harliqueen » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:16 am

1. What do you think of the concept/story so far? Do you like it? Hate it? Any comments?
It's very intriguing! I'm really liking the idea of the different POVs, and how the fear of it all will effect them psychologically- will be exciting to see how that goes!

2. What do you think of the major characters? Do you have someone you like in particular?
I think they all sound interesting, and I like the sound of Zachary (but, I'm not getting too attached after seeing that death scene CG example! :D ).

3. What do you think of the art style?
Stunning. Though some looked Cel shaded, and others looked more of a painterly-style. Will there be a mix?

4. If ever we decide to release a crowdfunding campaign for this game, will you support it?
I'd certainly consider it, everything looks very high quality.

5. Any other suggestions, comments, critiques?
I think it sounds pretty terrifying, which is probably exactly the kind of thing you were going for :)
I'm looking forward to the demo!

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Re: The Letter [Horror]

#3 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:26 am

Harliqueen wrote: 2. What do you think of the major characters? Do you have someone you like in particular?
I think they all sound interesting, and I like the sound of Zachary (but, I'm not getting too attached after seeing that death scene CG example! :D ).
Haha, like what I said all the characters are in your hands, they can either live or die, so if it's any consolation, all the characters will have CGs like that LOL!
Harliqueen wrote: 3. What do you think of the art style?
Stunning. Though some looked Cel shaded, and others looked more of a painterly-style. Will there be a mix?
Ah, the cel-shaded ones are just concept arts. The real deal will all be drawn painting style. Let me add a disclaimer so it won't be confusing ^^; Thank you so much for your comments!
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Re: The Letter [Horror]

#4 Post by Ran08 » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:44 am

Before anything else... I would like to say... that... this visual novel is utterly GORGEOUS. <3 It's such a treat for the eyes. Oh my goodness. So, so, so beautiful. Hahaha. And when I saw that it's gonna be a horror game? OH MY GOSH. *squeals in so much happiness*

Okay, whew, enough fangirling about the art. Hahaha. :")

1. The concept? I like it! I am a huge fan of horror games, and this game is perfect for me! I think it's really intriguing, and I would really like to learn more about the backstory of the game. Also, I think part of what makes me so excited for this is the fact that it's based on Japanese horror stuff-- which, in my opinion, are some of the best horror stuff in the whole world. Hahaha. There's something about Japanese horror that's completely terrifying, and I hope to see that scary factor-- whatever that is-- in this game!
2. The characters? Oh, I love them. <3 Well, I mostly love the art, as of this moment, but I love them too. Hahahaha. Right now, I'm really interested in Luke, because he's freakin' hot (and because I just like the name Luke, hahaha). Personality-wise, I like Ashton, though. I think he's going to be my favorite. (Is it obvious now how much of an otome lover I am?)
3. The art? Beautiful. <3 I think it's perfect for a horror game! So hauntingly beautiful.
4. I'm currently a broke university student, but I think I will, to the best of my abilities. =)
5. I love how the sprites are going to be animated! <3 I am a huge fan of the Ace Attorney games, and it makes me think that this game is going to look like that, animation-wise. Will it? :) I sure do hope so!

Good luck! I am really, really, really looking forward to playing this game next year! :")

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Re: The Letter [Horror]

#5 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:48 am

Ran08 wrote:Before anything else... I would like to say... that... this visual novel is utterly GORGEOUS. <3 It's such a treat for the eyes. Oh my goodness. So, so, so beautiful. Hahaha. And when I saw that it's gonna be a horror game? OH MY GOSH. *squeals in so much happiness*

Okay, whew, enough fangirling about the art. Hahaha. :")
Haha, thank you so much! I'll be sure to tell our artist your kind words XD
Ran08 wrote:5. I love how the sprites are going to be animated! <3 I am a huge fan of the Ace Attorney games, and it makes me think that this game is going to look like that, animation-wise. Will it? :) I sure do hope so!
Yes! It will be something like that. :)
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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#6 Post by blankd » Sun Oct 18, 2015 2:59 am

Wait, if Isabella is superstitious enough to take hauntings/supernatural things seriously and is supposed to care deeply for the welfare of her friends to the point of "sacrificing herself [for their wellbeing]", why would she share the letter to them? What was she expecting to happen or hoping to accomplish by dragging them into this?

It seems extremely contradictory of the "omnipotent" character description to say she's self-sacrificing but within that same blurb, reveal that the whole reason the plot exists is because she threw her friends (more precisely, 3 friends, 2 clients) under the bus. I strongly recommend you fix your character description because it comes across as flimsy characterization and not the strongest reason why some of these characters are involved; the Wrights make sense to be involved and maybe Zack, but Rebecca and Ashton's involvements seem very poorly established. I can elaborate on that further if you would like. The strongest case for why Isabella's actions are questionable at best and stupid at worse is that we see what the letter looks like, there are no doubts about how much of a bad idea sharing the letter should be. And if she is that simple that's a character that is the well-worn crutch for nearly any horror story.

On a far less technical level, I'm a little wary of choice of using the splash image as the first impression of the game. I understand that this isn't universal but I'm not sure how a partially unclad young woman is conveying a horror theme that's is built around a curse that's possibly chain mail based. Normally this wouldn't cause for much alarm, but the added context that there's supposed to be inspiration from Corpse Party is when my doubts start to crop up.

Corpse Party isn't perfect, there are things it could do better, but the one thing it's absolutely, unquestionable done wrong is the inexplicable panty shots and other "fanservice" that gets shoved into what should be the horror parts of it's runtime.

The line gets crossed further when a 8-12 year old girl (depending on translator) has her clothing removed enough by another character to the point of seeing a bit of HER panties. There are also the instance(s)? of dead or soon-to-be dead female characters being positioned that show off their "best side" that never happens to any of the male characters. (It shouldn't be there, period, but it's a marginally lesser evil to be equal opportunity if such content HAS to be included.)

I guess what I'm trying to get across is what are you trying to convey with this girl as your visual first impression? Who is she baring her shoulder and part of her chest for? Why is she doing this? How does this circle back to horror? Would you have done this with a male character being put in the same role (if no, that's a red flag about your presentation).

The art is pretty decent and the animated emotions will probably bring a lot to the game. The story could be one that's better than is currently presented, but there are other little things that, as a US citizen/US media consumer, come across as having really unfortunate implications, but that's a little off topic.

Harlem is probably not a name you should use as there is already a pretty famous Harlem that exists and is very different from the one you have in your story. At least with regards to a US player being familiar with a Harlem.

Hope that helps and hope your development goes well.

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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#7 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:16 am

Hi blankd, thanks for the comments. It will be a little hard to refute some of the things you mentioned, because doing so will reveal major spoilers in our game, but I'll try my best:
blankd wrote:Wait, if Isabella is superstitious enough to take hauntings/supernatural things seriously and is supposed to care deeply for the welfare of her friends to the point of "sacrificing herself [for their wellbeing]", why would she share the letter to them? What was she expecting to happen or hoping to accomplish by dragging them into this?

It seems extremely contradictory of the "omnipotent" character description to say she's self-sacrificing but within that same blurb, reveal that the whole reason the plot exists is because she threw her friends (more precisely, 3 friends, 2 clients) under the bus. I strongly recommend you fix your character description because it comes across as flimsy characterization and not the strongest reason why some of these characters are involved; the Wrights make sense to be involved and maybe Zack, but Rebecca and Ashton's involvements seem very poorly established. I can elaborate on that further if you would like. The strongest case for why Isabella's actions are questionable at best and stupid at worse is that we see what the letter looks like, there are no doubts about how much of a bad idea sharing the letter should be. And if she is that simple that's a character that is the well-worn crutch for nearly any horror story.
We imagine Isabella to be like a child; clumsy, jovial, fearful and simple-minded. And most of all, a realistic character with major flaws and major strengths. She's not supposed to be "omnipotent", or a mary-sue at that. Humans are selfish by nature, so if you're a very superstitious person who sees a haunted (chain) letter the first impulse you'll have is to pass it along, hoping the ghost/curse will be lifted off from you. You only think about the consequences of your actions later. We based the story's context (and part of Isabella's personality) on the absurd amount of chain letters we see from friends everyday via social media.

In Isabella's case, the letter was shown to her friends/clients by mistake. This is the part we don't want to divulge too much (spoilers!). What we can say though is that she admits that it's her fault for dragging her friends into this twisted nightmare-- she was the one who found the letter after all-- that's why she's willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to save them. It's not an easy choice especially for a scaredy-cat like her, but we can be heroes in our own little ways.

But we see your point, and no worries we will modify her description to avoid further conflict. :)
blankd wrote:On a far less technical level, I'm a little wary of choice of using the splash image as the first impression of the game. I understand that this isn't universal but I'm not sure how a partially unclad young woman is conveying a horror theme that's is built around a curse that's possibly chain mail based. Normally this wouldn't cause for much alarm, but the added context that there's supposed to be inspiration from Corpse Party is when my doubts start to crop up.

Corpse Party isn't perfect, there are things it could do better, but the one thing it's absolutely, unquestionable done wrong is the inexplicable panty shots and other "fanservice" that gets shoved into what should be the horror parts of it's runtime.

The line gets crossed further when a 8-12 year old girl (depending on translator) has her clothing removed enough by another character to the point of seeing a bit of HER panties. There are also the instance(s)? of dead or soon-to-be dead female characters being positioned that show off their "best side" that never happens to any of the male characters. (It shouldn't be there, period, but it's a marginally lesser evil to be equal opportunity if such content HAS to be included.)

I guess what I'm trying to get across is what are you trying to convey with this girl as your visual first impression? Who is she baring her shoulder and part of her chest for? Why is she doing this? How does this circle back to horror? Would you have done this with a male character being put in the same role (if no, that's a red flag about your presentation).
Ah, thank you for raising this up. Corpse Party is our reference for the gore/horror aspects of the game. The Letter is NOT a hentai game. All of The Letter’s characters are of legal age and there will be no panty shots just because. I personally understand how annoying that can get. What we’re trying to achieve is closer to The Grudge and The Ring, and both films don’t have panty-shots.

The girl in the image is a very important character in our story (again we cannot say who she is, spoilers!) and rest assured that her pose/image will become relevant once her backstory is revealed. And to clarify, once the full-game is released, the image will be replaced by a banner with all the characters in it. It just so happens that that one is not yet done, that’s why we’re using this image as of the moment.

One thing I need to say though is that there will be mature topics in the game because (1) the game’s theme is dark and (2) the Wrights are flirtatious by nature.
blankd wrote:Harlem is probably not a name you should use as there is already a pretty famous Harlem that exists and is very different from the one you have in your story. At least with regards to a US player being familiar with a Harlem.
We know, but for the lack of a more creative name, we’re using Harlem for now. That’s why we’re welcoming name suggestions! XD Maybe you have one?

Anyways, thank you so very much for your opinion! ^^ Please feel free to bring up more issues to us. We really appreciate this kind of discussion.
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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#8 Post by blankd » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:16 am

Thanks for the replies.
Yangyang Mobile wrote:We imagine Isabella to be like a child; clumsy, jovial, fearful and simple-minded. And most of all, a realistic character with major flaws and major strengths. She's not supposed to be "omnipotent", or a mary-sue at that. Humans are selfish by nature, so if you're a very superstitious person who sees a haunted (chain) letter the first impulse you'll have is to pass it along, hoping the ghost/curse will be lifted off from you. You only think about the consequences of your actions later. We based the story's context (and part of Isabella's personality) on the absurd amount of chain letters we see from friends everyday via social media.

In Isabella's case, the letter was shown to her friends/clients by mistake. This is the part we don't want to divulge too much (spoilers!). What we can say though is that she admits that it's her fault for dragging her friends into this twisted nightmare-- she was the one who found the letter after all-- that's why she's willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to save them. It's not an easy choice especially for a scaredy-cat like her, but we can be heroes in our own little ways.
Bolded is the part I actually want to address a bit.

The primary difference between Isabella's circumstance and run of the mill chain letters in social media is that the latter are unsolicited, easy to send out and just as easy to ignore. Isabella however goes to a house she knows is haunted or in some way already affected by the supernatural, she should, according to her own biography be hesitant or start preparing herself.

If she is childlike, cowardly AND superstitious the "kneejerk" reaction to this information would be to try and get someone who could deal with the supernatural, not invite along her friends (2 of which are skeptics) and her clients which in a worst case supernatural scenario could end up injured or dead from any range of things. Because information is slightly limited from this setup it sounds like extremely poor planning from Isabella's end and reflects even more poorly on her character, it can also reflect poorly on the writing.

There are character flaws and then there's taking shortcuts. The Ring had a videotape which invited curiosity and Corpse Party had a ritual go horribly awry that no one present would have any hope of knowing. The current timeline of events for The Letter is that Isabella knows she's going into something suspicious but seemingly does nothing to prepare for the worst despite how more than one character trait point to how she should have had done something, anything to prepare herself. It's also for a JOB so it makes even less sense for her to be negligent or hesitant to use any of the resources on hand. Especially since most cities will have some place of worship, if she was strapped for things she could have asked to a local priest or something else. Maybe she does this but the lack of information leaves a lot up for interpretation.

She's a real estate agent and I'm going to assume she got there through some kind of professionalism and research- if her position cannot reflect this it starts to impact the rest of the story. If the "real" elements are inconsistent it starts to bleed into the unreal elements in a detrimental fashion.

I understand that the nature of the story requires some things be kept secret, but it's also extremely important that how the characters landed in this predicament be as elegant as possible instead of seemingly being a tenuous chain of hoops of characters being negligent or lazy, it tends to sabotage any kind of feelings of sympathy when the same characters suffer their terrible fates.
Yangyang Mobile wrote: Ah, thank you for raising this up. Corpse Party is our reference for the gore/horror aspects of the game. The Letter is NOT a hentai game. All of The Letter’s characters are of legal age and there will be no panty shots just because. I personally understand how annoying that can get. What we’re trying to achieve is closer to The Grudge and The Ring, and both films don’t have panty-shots.

The girl in the image is a very important character in our story (again we cannot say who she is, spoilers!) and rest assured that her pose/image will become relevant once her backstory is revealed. And to clarify, once the full-game is released, the image will be replaced by a banner with all the characters in it. It just so happens that that one is not yet done, that’s why we’re using this image as of the moment.

One thing I need to say though is that there will be mature topics in the game because (1) the game’s theme is dark and (2) the Wrights are flirtatious by nature.
Corpse Party wasn't a hentai game either but that is beyond the point.

That is a little reassuring to hear. I suppose I'm a little surprised a crop of Isabella finding the letter wasn't used for the temporary image, but that is neither here nor there.

I'll take your word for it about the dark themes, but I'm not sure how married adults flirting is cause for alarm... 8V
Yangyang Mobile wrote:We know, but for the lack of a more creative name, we’re using Harlem for now. That’s why we’re welcoming name suggestions! XD Maybe you have one?

Anyways, thank you so very much for your opinion! ^^ Please feel free to bring up more issues to us. We really appreciate this kind of discussion.
If the name of the city doesn't matter, you could simply refer vaguely to the region it takes place in. If a city name is needed for some kind of element of historical reference not actually important to the plot itself. The city can be named after things like plants or some geographic landmark. eg: Ridellhare (Red Tail Hare), etc.

I'm not familiar enough with your setting or it's possibly flavortext history to make better suggestions, but perhaps those will help in a general direction.

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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#9 Post by HiddenCreature » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:55 pm

Yangyang Mobile wrote:

1. What do you think of the concept/story so far? Do you like it? Hate it? Any comments?
2. What do you think of the major characters? Do you have someone you like in particular?
3. What do you think of the art style?
4. If ever we decide to release a crowdfunding campaign for this game, will you support it?
5. Any other suggestions, comments, critiques?
1. I like the concept, and the diversity of characters you can play as to widen the player's experience. However, I don't think I know enough about what's actually in the story to form a proper opinion.

2. I'm most interested in Ashton and the Wright couple, since they seem to have the most relevance to a story like this. Whereas the others sort of give the impression that they're just caught in the cross fire. But that's because I'm not sure what their true personal investment in the story is.

3. No complaints. But I'm not an artist, so I couldn't offer suggestions.

4. Yeah, I'd like to see this game successful.

5. Japanese horror is definitely the creepiest form I've ever seen. And the sound of cracking bones from that Korean comic you mentioned.... (shivers) I remember that sending chills down my spine. With things like that as your inspiration, I've no doubt you'll make some lasting impressions in the scariest way possible.

I just hope the game doesn't have too many jump scares. Psychological horror is always the most interesting to me, because it always sticks around even after the game is over.

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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#10 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:21 am

blankd wrote:If she is childlike, cowardly AND superstitious the "kneejerk" reaction to this information would be to try and get someone who could deal with the supernatural, not invite along her friends (2 of which are skeptics) and her clients which in a worst case supernatural scenario could end up injured or dead from any range of things. Because information is slightly limited from this setup it sounds like extremely poor planning from Isabella's end and reflects even more poorly on her character, it can also reflect poorly on the writing.

There are character flaws and then there's taking shortcuts. The Ring had a videotape which invited curiosity and Corpse Party had a ritual go horribly awry that no one present would have any hope of knowing. The current timeline of events for The Letter is that Isabella knows she's going into something suspicious but seemingly does nothing to prepare for the worst despite how more than one character trait point to how she should have had done something, anything to prepare herself. It's also for a JOB so it makes even less sense for her to be negligent or hesitant to use any of the resources on hand. Especially since most cities will have some place of worship, if she was strapped for things she could have asked to a local priest or something else. Maybe she does this but the lack of information leaves a lot up for interpretation.
In our demo (which will be released next week), the reason Isabella decided to go to the mansion even though it scares her was because she needed money for her sick father. Upon witnessing the supernatural, she did ask for Ashton's help since he's a detective/P.I. and can surely help out, but ignored her since he doesn't believe in ghosts. He only became interested when he found out that the Wrights (which are his target) are involved in the mansion.

Regarding the priest, well I can't address that yet because it overlaps the chapters of the other characters. So far this is all I can say. The outline for our game's entire story is near completion, and the rest of the information will have to wait until the game's release =)
blankd wrote:Corpse Party wasn't a hentai game either but that is beyond the point.

That is a little reassuring to hear. I suppose I'm a little surprised a crop of Isabella finding the letter wasn't used for the temporary image, but that is neither here nor there.
Yep, I know. I just clarified once again before anybody else got the wrong idea. And we didn't use Isabella's CG as our main image due to artistic sense; it's too detailed, the pose is too bland for a promotional poster. Plus it does not cater the various resolutions needed for promotional materials.
blankd wrote:If the name of the city doesn't matter, you could simply refer vaguely to the region it takes place in. If a city name is needed for some kind of element of historical reference not actually important to the plot itself. The city can be named after things like plants or some geographic landmark. eg: Ridellhare (Red Tail Hare), etc.
Thanks! We'll take note of this! =)
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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#11 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:39 am

HiddenCreature wrote:2. I'm most interested in Ashton and the Wright couple, since they seem to have the most relevance to a story like this. Whereas the others sort of give the impression that they're just caught in the cross fire. But that's because I'm not sure what their true personal investment in the story is.
Being caught in the crossfire, yeah I guess you can say that. We want to point out that due to a person's mistake, or curiosity even, everyone's lives can spiral down. But not all the time the characters are being chased by the ghost, so we're doing our best to build the relationships of the characters with one another. We did mention in the thread that best friends won't stay best friends and enemies won't stay enemies, depending on the route the player takes. =) Please wait for the release to see how that plays out in a horror setting like this!
HiddenCreature wrote:5. Japanese horror is definitely the creepiest form I've ever seen. And the sound of cracking bones from that Korean comic you mentioned.... (shivers) I remember that sending chills down my spine. With things like that as your inspiration, I've no doubt you'll make some lasting impressions in the scariest way possible.

I just hope the game doesn't have too many jump scares. Psychological horror is always the most interesting to me, because it always sticks around even after the game is over.
Thanks so much! We're trying our best to blend the jumpscares and the psychological horror into one perfect mix! ^_^
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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#12 Post by blankd » Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:14 am

Yangyang Mobile wrote:In our demo (which will be released next week), the reason Isabella decided to go to the mansion even though it scares her was because she needed money for her sick father. Upon witnessing the supernatural, she did ask for Ashton's help since he's a detective/P.I. and can surely help out, but ignored her since he doesn't believe in ghosts. He only became interested when he found out that the Wrights (which are his target) are involved in the mansion.
Ok, I'm terribly sorry but I'm going to need to address this.

>Money for her sick father.

Please please PLEASE do some research about how real estate agency works! Houses are not cheap and unless this company is FAILING or Isabella is a failure at her own job, she should be in a pretty lucrative position because it's a job that requires a lot of research and making connections. Even if she couldn't exclusively support her nebulously sick father she is in a far better position that she doesn't need to sell the most difficult house.

Even if she was unlucky enough at her job to not sell a house, she would be in a better position to take out a loan from a bank or at least manage money/figure things out financially- there is a reason the motive of "sick parent" has been- pardon the joke, been dying out as a story device to motivate a character.

If you're going to a assign a job to a character like this, you have to make sure that the IRL doesn't casually squish her motives. The house's situation in the story itself is contradictory if she REALLY needs to sell this house for the assumed value (multi-million since it's a mansion). However if it has such a bad history attached to it, it should actually have a significant decrease in value (Ms. Wright can still justify her purchase since it is a visually nice house) but Isabella's insistence on trying to sell a house that would probably have to be sold dirt cheap to get any interest is a snag in what you're probably aiming for.

IMO you should remove the narrative hoops you're setting up for yourself. Maybe Isabella is bad at her job and this "tricky house" is one she just HAS to sell because she needs to prove she's an adult to everyone. Because she's childish/simple-minded/clumsy and 2 of her friends seem like honest people, they probably tease or reference this non-maliciously. Add to this that the house is a culmination of her worst fears, they probably pointed it out to her thinking she would back down from it.

This could motivate her enough to take up the challenge. She could even bring all of her "preparation with her" but the curse ends up being so formidable that it ends up not doing anything. It also explains why her friends go along- to support her and maybe to gently rib her if she gets spooked by something banal- because they know she's a bit superstitious.

Her finding the letter could then EASILY be brushed off by the others as her somehow trying to trick them back since they'd teased her. It still keeps in line with your story and it makes Isabella not need a rare unfortunate event (her father's nebulous sickness) to motivate her. You can probably even toss in an instance of "I found this letter" and she even tries to hide the actual letter from them to save them from getting whatever skeevy thing she thinks it'll cause but it just results in (unfortunately) piquing their curiosity further or maybe even reveal how Ashton uses his PI status to peel it away from her.

If Occam's Razor can dissect your character's structure/writing this easily, I'm REALLY sorry but there is a critical problem going on here.
You are more than welcome to move forward with how it's currently going but a lot of these "little things" start to pile up and you may end up with a mess that harms what you intend. The thing I rewrote above may not at all jive with what you've written because of the information I do/don't have, but it ties in more to your theme of how things snowball- but more importantly, Isabella is a little more proactive instead of reactive while also supplying reasons for why the obvious cures for these supernatural things just didn't work despite her best efforts.

IMO, horror is about how sometimes even the best preparation can't prevent the worst from happening.
Yangyang Mobile wrote:Regarding the priest, well I can't address that yet because it overlaps the chapters of the other characters. So far this is all I can say. The outline for our game's entire story is near completion, and the rest of the information will have to wait until the game's release =)
I'll wait for the demo before commenting on this, assuming this gets mentioned.

But if she's friends with Ashton, shouldn't she know he's a skeptic? I can't write your story for you but I'm going to point out that if a defining character trait that is shared with strangers (us the players) hasn't cropped up between friends (in-game universe) it gives they impression they aren't actually friends. Maybe that's true, but if so that should probably be reflected in the character web.
Yangyang Mobile wrote: Yep, I know. I just clarified once again before anybody else got the wrong idea. And we didn't use Isabella's CG as our main image due to artistic sense; it's too detailed, the pose is too bland for a promotional poster. Plus it does not cater the various resolutions needed for promotional materials.
But it's only a thread image? I'm not sure what the resolutions have to do with it.

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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#13 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:48 am

blankd wrote:Please please PLEASE do some research about how real estate agency works! Houses are not cheap and unless this company is FAILING or Isabella is a failure at her own job, she should be in a pretty lucrative position because it's a job that requires a lot of research and making connections. Even if she couldn't exclusively support her nebulously sick father she is in a far better position that she doesn't need to sell the most difficult house.

Even if she was unlucky enough at her job to not sell a house, she would be in a better position to take out a loan from a bank or at least manage money/figure things out financially- there is a reason the motive of "sick parent" has been- pardon the joke, been dying out as a story device to motivate a character.

If you're going to a assign a job to a character like this, you have to make sure that the IRL doesn't casually squish her motives. The house's situation in the story itself is contradictory if she REALLY needs to sell this house for the assumed value (multi-million since it's a mansion). However if it has such a bad history attached to it, it should actually have a significant decrease in value (Ms. Wright can still justify her purchase since it is a visually nice house) but Isabella's insistence on trying to sell a house that would probably have to be sold dirt cheap to get any interest is a snag in what you're probably aiming for.
> I know how real estate works, as I have a pretty insistent friend who owns a real estate corporation.
> Isabella's family is huge (6 other siblings, 2 parents), and she's the only one who works. Medical expenses for her hospitalized father is not cheap. These are all in the character's backstory that I didn't bother to place in the thread, because it will make it so long, and because I fail to realize that someone would be so scrutinizing of Isabella's persona. o_O
> In the demo: Rebecca scolds Isabella for always eating instant noodles to save money, in which she offers that she can loan cash to Isabella. The latter refuses, saying she's not a fan of borrowing money, much less from a bank.
> Isabella took the bait in selling the house because she needed money, and that because of the mansion's reputation, her real estate corporation is desperate to sell the lot and will give a generous bonus to whoever can seal the deal.
> Isabella's family's poor condition is just a motivation for her to sell the house. That's it. After all, in the beginning nobody can really confirm that the house is indeed haunted; it's all hearsay (quote from the thread: "Various disappearances had been linked to the mansion, while people living near the vicinity spoke of seeing and hearing unearthly things. Dismissed as a hoax, the mansion was listed for sale by Briar Realty Corporation."). It's extremely unfair and against Isabella's ethics to let her family suffer just because she doesn't want to do her JOB, all because she's scared of some house that is rumored to be haunted. But this is all in the beginning at least, because we all know things will spiral down after she found the blasted letter.
blankd wrote:Because she's childish/simple-minded/clumsy and 2 of her friends seem like honest people, they probably tease or reference this non-maliciously.
blankd wrote:You can probably even toss in an instance of "I found this letter" and she even tries to hide the actual letter from them to save them from getting whatever skeevy thing she thinks it'll cause but it just results in (unfortunately) piquing their curiosity further or maybe even reveal how Ashton uses his PI status to peel it away from her.
Yup! Her friends will tease her definitely, and this is related to my first response about the characters seeing the letter by mistake/accident. =) Most of the things you mentioned are all taken care of in our outline, so you don't need to worry about how the letter spreads.
blankd wrote:But it's only a thread image? I'm not sure what the resolutions have to do with it.
Oh because we're also using the images to promote our game in various websites, like in Steam Greenlight, for example. =) So it'll be weird if our header image there is Isabella picking up the letter.
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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#14 Post by Kinjo » Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:08 am

This looks pretty cool; I'll look forward to playing it.

1. Seems like it has room for potential. I'll wait to play it to judge.
2. Can't say I have a favorite yet (maybe the mystery girl in the header image), but it looks like a good line-up of characters.
3. I really like the art and the animations.
4. I don't do Kickstarter, but I think it would do well. I also voted on Greenlight.
5. Looks like you've put a ton of effort into this game, so I'd just say keep up the good work!

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Re: The Letter [Horror][Steam Greenlight](Updated 10/17/2015

#15 Post by blankd » Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:09 am

> I know how real estate works, as I have a pretty insistent friend who owns a real estate corporation.
I was not aware they handled LaLaurie Mansion's sale.

> Isabella's family is huge (6 other siblings, 2 parents), and she's the only one who works. Medical expenses for her hospitalized father is not cheap. These are all in the character's backstory that I didn't bother to place in the thread, because it will make it so long, and because I fail to realize that someone would be so scrutinizing of Isabella's persona. o_O
She's the first character presented, and she is the catalyst for "why this happens". Her personality set is one one that begs the question of how she functions as an adult, and with more riding on it then EVER it makes her seeming lack of foresight and forethought a bit baffling. The initial bio came off as her behavior being extremely neglectful.

But if you wish to keep a more convoluted motivation and character history, no one will stop you.

> In the demo: Rebecca scolds Isabella for always eating instant noodles to save money, in which she offers that she can loan cash to Isabella. The latter refuses, saying she's not a fan of borrowing money, much less from a bank.
That doesn't even make a lick of sense but if you wish to keep piling this trait on the lone Hispanic/Mexican character, it's your choice. The mystery of how Isabella made it through college or got into Real Estate is added onto the pile since she dislikes loans but also comes from a nonworking family.

> Isabella took the bait in selling the house because she needed money, and that because of the mansion's reputation, her real estate corporation is desperate to sell the lot and will give a generous bonus to whoever can seal the deal.
But the corporation loses nothing by having the house... sit?? Shouldn't the bank be the one that would be desperate to sell it, in fact the bank would probably be trying to auction it if they could?? Who is the company selling it on behalf of? Did they buy the deed? Are they bad at research too? I really want to hear what your Real Estate friend said about this.

Regardless and more importantly, you can't simultaneously have one entity claim there's something wrong enough that there needs to be "bait" but then pretend that the one character who should care would overlook it enough to pretend that there's nothing wrong, it's not consistent; it also makes Isabella look extremely unprepared for her own gambit.

> Isabella's family's poor condition is just a motivation for her to sell the house. That's it. After all, in the beginning nobody can really confirm that the house is indeed haunted; it's all hearsay (quote from the thread: "Various disappearances had been linked to the mansion, while people living near the vicinity spoke of seeing and hearing unearthly things. Dismissed as a hoax, the mansion was listed for sale by Briar Realty Corporation."). It's extremely unfair and against Isabella's ethics to let her family suffer just because she doesn't want to do her JOB, all because she's scared of some house that is rumored to be haunted. But this is all in the beginning at least, because we all know things will spiral down after she found the blasted letter.
But she'll let her family suffer because she doesn't want to take out a loan with a bank even though she's the self-sacrificing character? While... there are other houses to sell so it would be the most riskfree plan, I- what?

Isabella is a selfish, superstitious coward according to your own posts, she doesn't LOSE money if she's not selling that one house. It's not the only house for sale but I guess you'll chalk that up as her being simple minded or something. Or maybe the father is dying really fast and she's hoping the person who's buying the house will pay on cash so that the escrow period would be skipped? I don't know.

I'm trying to help by offering a simple explanation or at least advising you simplify that character since you say yourself it's not important for the extra details to exist. I understand you don't have to take it, but you release more convoluted details of the character as I try to understand why the details exist in the first place.

I want to like this project but these details aren't an exact boost of confidence.

You may want to revisit your outline to see how the small details can stop hemorrhaging credibility for the ones you're building towards. You may also want to consider:

In a game that emphasizes features about mending or breaking relationships, why wouldn't Isabella's reason for being there revolve more strongly about the people she's there with rather the people that the players will never see? Isabella could just want to do her job or an entirely personal motivation of trying to prove herself instead of accommodating a cheap pull (poor family condition) that you have confirmed has no bearing beyond the beginning- I call it cheap because you say it's only there to get her in the house.

I am not worrying about your outline, but if it becomes a more tangled mess the closer it is looked; I'd recommend some serious revision and reflection on the details of the project but that is your concern, not mine.

Whether or not you take that up is obviously on you, but when this game is released I will not be the first nor last to really start asking questions about a narrative that banks on players caring on some level about the happiness and well-being of the characters.

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