Whohoo...you have a tumblr page. Need to follow it asap!
I. Is the art style appealing? As a VN, our game will ride primarily on the quality / style of our work.
Yes, it is. I like it.
II. How do you feel about the story? About the choice of playing as a male or a female?
Sounds cool. It reminds me a bit of Angelique (video game). Or at least what I have read about it. As for playing f! or m! character. I prefer to play the female character. Yaoi is just not my thing, so I will play her exclusively.
III. 12 characters. It's a lot. Do you think this is a good or a bad thing? How can we be sure to make each interesting? We plan to put in the same amount of time and effort into each route, but aside from that?
Yeah. 12 chars is a lot, but if you can manage to give them different themes, character traits, change of location, etc. then I am sure it won't be boring. Think of it like walking into a cake shop. The more variety there is the happier I am. Of course, that requires more work from you guys and if you feel writing 12 romantic routes is too much - like spreading the butter too thinly on one's bread - then I think it's fair if you cut down the number of available LIs. So do whatever is comfortable with you.
IV. What do you think of the world building / story setting? We want the game to have an eerie feel to it the majority of the time as the Void creeps slowly closer to Elune.
The setting is not really new, but it sounds very interesting and mysterious. And that is always good in my book. Like previously mentioned, I like variety and there aren't many VNs for (hetero/bi) female players that are dark or mature. Or having threatening, morbid themes. And with dark and mature I don't mean that the MC is getting raped by her LIs (because a lot of japanese 18+ otomes pull of that crap) or trying to be edgy. I think I might have developed a hungover of modern day/slice of life romance VNs. They are easy to digest and don't really need much world-building. And I am also tired of the "The Saint" type of MC. In such a harsh and unforgiving world I think it is only inevitable that you have to fend off and kill some monsters or other people if you want to survive. I should note that I prefer playing a good character, trying to do the right thing. Not really the rebellious lawbreaker, if it is necessary. But surviving and looking out for yourself always takes up priority. Too many RPG and VNs are falling into the three alignment trap and it's just feels unnatural with it's (often) predicable outcomes. Gordy Wheeler on Worthplaying
wrote something about it in his Kult: Heretic Kingdoms
There's this problem with a lot of RPGs that offer detailed morality systems. It's never a major problem, but over time, it can get to be a very noticeable one, more so because it's a thread that runs from game to game with surprising regularity. The problem is this: a good number of game writers have no idea how to present a realistic-sounding set of choices in PC/NPC dialogue.
This is relevant, I swear. Bear with me.
Almost invariably, your character will be approached by someone who wants you to do something for them. "Oh, help me brave adventure person! My wife and children have been kidnapped! I am distraught! Save them!" Also almost invariably, your options for a reply look something like this:
"Of course I will save them! I am brave and stalwart and a good person with a big sword!"
"I'm too neutral to get involved in this situation. Goodbye."
"I enjoy eating babies. Give me all your money so I can fund a trip to find and devour yours."
I should also note that I am not opposed to sacrificing yourself or others since our MC and the their LIs are playing a big part in the worlds future. Kinda like the end of Dragon Age: Origins.
V. Have any general thoughts / questions? We'd be happy to answer and converse with you!
How much does (western?) Astrology play a role into this story since it resolves around the 12 zodiac signs (Planets, houses, etc)? And is there a reward for players who are attentive and explore a lot in terms of unlocking a better end or negating having to choose "Gain that, but loose that at the same time". (Neverwinter Nights 2: The Mask of the Betrayer - Ending choice; Shadowrun: Dragonfall - More helpful ending dialogues, defuse a situation where you have to decide who you agree with because we collected more information)