Am I hurting my VN by NOT using an Anime style?

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
Post Reply
Message
Author
SkepticalTiger
Newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:30 am
Contact:

Am I hurting my VN by NOT using an Anime style?

#1 Post by SkepticalTiger » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:56 pm

I am developing a VN and am handling everything besides character sprites. I plan on publishing and for the story to span across multiple episodes. Most VN's I see on Steam use an Anime art style and the different variations depending on when they were released. I am familiar with how Anime as a style has changed through the course of its life too.

Right now I am thinking of having my artist (have a few candidates who draw well in different styles) use a 2D style similar to Disney / Pixar to stand out amongst the other titles style wise. Also I feel like it would create a more 'timeless' look to the characters. However, I am not sure if this will impact my appeal to an international audience since I am located in the West and do have plans on getting the VN translated into other languages. The other worry is that if I don't go with a more Anime art style, if say, my artist couldn't collaborate on the project anymore finding someone who could replicate the style would be significantly more difficult.

Anyone care to chip in on this?

User avatar
gamerbum
Regular
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:40 pm
Projects: Our Lovely Escape, Mizari Loves Company
Organization: Reine Works
Tumblr: reineworks
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Am I hurting my VN by NOT using an Anime style?

#2 Post by gamerbum » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:23 am

Based on what I've seen other developers who have tried alternate/Western art styles say, yes, it would most likely kill your sales. All I can say from my own experience is that there's definitely a difference in sales relative to art style quality, so that could also be a factor in why Western art styles don't do great (perceived lower quality art). Anyway, VNs are a niche, so the more you can appeal to your core audience, the better.

Keep in mind also that if you're selling titles on Steam, you want to appeal to older teens and young adults, and even if your title is aimed at women, men will still make up a sizeable portion of your audience. Disney/Pixar-style art is going to make your title seem like it's intended for children/pre-teens/etc, especially girls, which is going to turn some people away at a glance. If it's supposed to be a free mobile app similar to "Choices" and other titles like that, it could work if you have the money to invest in marketing, but that's a big undertaking, yeah?

I'd also like to point out that there is an official Disney dating sim-style game made in Japan, and its art style is... anime. Very high-quality anime. More than any anecdote from a small dev, I would trust the big guys with access to God knows how much market data.

gekiganwing
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2467
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Am I hurting my VN by NOT using an Anime style?

#3 Post by gekiganwing » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:49 pm

A couple of my amateurish thoughts on how you could brand a visual novel that's somewhat different...

* Across the Grooves was released earlier this year. Its creators use the phrase "interactive graphic novel" to describe it. As far as I can tell, this story is told though 2D illustrations and text, without using a combination of sprites and backgrounds. I don't know if it includes gameplay elements.
* Moacube's website just uses the word "story" to describe Solstice and Cinders. I'm not sure how to categorize their art, but they call it "painterly." Both of these VNs use 2D sprites and backgrounds.
* There's a world of story driven games out there. Benjamin Rivers' Alone with You has graphic adventure elements such as walking through an environment and examining items, but I think it's close to being a visual novel. Thomas was Alone had puzzle platform gameplay, but also a lot of storytelling. The Google results for "story rich games" include The Wolf Among Us (described as "episodes" if I recall correctly), To the Moon, and Life is Strange. Unfortunately, most of what I know about them is through fandom websites and podcasts...

So yeah, if you're not sure how to sell your VN, then look at how other people have described their narrative games and interactive fiction.

It can be frustrating when a narrative format is associated with one demographic, one category of art, one type of story, and so on. I say this as a comics fanboy. It's troubling to realize that several comic creators tried to disassociate their works from decades of superhero comics. I noticed that local libraries used terms such as "graphic novels" or "illustrated fiction" to describe their comic paperbacks.
SkepticalTiger wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:56 pm
The other worry is that if I don't go with a more Anime art style, if say, my artist couldn't collaborate on the project anymore finding someone who could replicate the style would be significantly more difficult.
I searched the web for "find cartoon artist." The top Google results included Fiverr, Upwork, Hire an Artist, and some specific illustrators' websites. That said, someone else might have more insight on how to find reliable illustrators whose works resemble recent 2D / 3D cartoon series.

SkepticalTiger
Newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:30 am
Contact:

Re: Am I hurting my VN by NOT using an Anime style?

#4 Post by SkepticalTiger » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:32 pm

Thank you for the feedback @gamerbum & @gekiganwing, luckily I am hiring the artist instead of being one so my pool of talent to choose from is easier than if I had specialized in a certain art form / style. Still a few months away from needing to hire an artist, but good data to pull from regardless.

User avatar
VimislikArt
Regular
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:50 pm
Projects: King of the Cul-De-Sac
Deviantart: vimislikart
itch: vimislikart
Location: Rochester, NY
Contact:

Re: Am I hurting my VN by NOT using an Anime style?

#5 Post by VimislikArt » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:37 pm

gekiganwing wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:49 pm
A couple of my amateurish thoughts on how you could brand a visual novel that's somewhat different...

* Across the Grooves was released earlier this year. Its creators use the phrase "interactive graphic novel" to describe it. As far as I can tell, this story is told though 2D illustrations and text, without using a combination of sprites and backgrounds. I don't know if it includes gameplay elements.
* Moacube's website just uses the word "story" to describe Solstice and Cinders. I'm not sure how to categorize their art, but they call it "painterly." Both of these VNs use 2D sprites and backgrounds.
* There's a world of story driven games out there. Benjamin Rivers' Alone with You has graphic adventure elements such as walking through an environment and examining items, but I think it's close to being a visual novel.
I honestly didn't know about some of these games, and I've been searching! I independently settled on the label "interactive graphic novel" for my project, so now this is like I've found family I never knew I had! This is all very useful stuff to know.
Check out my VN, King of the Cul-De-Sac, currently in Open Beta production! Try it out HERE!

User avatar
elixxxirium
Newbie
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 12:04 am
Contact:

Re: Am I hurting my VN by NOT using an Anime style?

#6 Post by elixxxirium » Fri May 07, 2021 12:44 am

If you could find an artist who could draw as beautifully as Glen Keane (amazing Disney artist), I'm pretty sure you'd have a very pretty VN that just stands out amongst all the anime style VNs.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users