Character Critique Needed!

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Yangyang Mobile
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Character Critique Needed!

#1 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:30 am

Hello, gang! Our team is currently developing a horror visual novel called "The Letter". For the past days we've been trying to pin down the art style for our characters, and decided to take inspiration from sakimichan and Zeronis. This is what we've come up so far:
ImageImage


What do you think? I'm a bit worried that the audience might not like it because it's far away from the typical, pure anime-style art. Will you buy a game with this kind of art style? :/ All opinions are appreciated! Thanks in advance! ^u^

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#2 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:35 am

Yangyang Mobile wrote: What do you think? I'm a bit worried that the audience might not like it because it's far away from the typical, pure anime-style art. Will you buy a game with this kind of art style? :/ All opinions are appreciated! Thanks in advance! ^u^
I like it. I'm a great lover of noses existing on characters.

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#3 Post by SundownKid » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:43 pm

I think it looks fantastic. I actually like that kind of pseudo realistic art even better than anime style art. In fact, I'd get it for my own games if it didn't cost so much :)

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#4 Post by K_Tate » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:01 pm

I love it! Maybe it's because I'm an American, but I've never really preferred the anime art style.

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#5 Post by Ulalaria » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:25 pm

I like this art style a lot, but I'm also American, and I'm not really sure where your expected market is. For what it's worth, Moacube's Cinders has seen a good amount of success without having a typical anime art style, and I think the horror aspect of your game might be more impactful with these character designs you currently have that are less simplified and closer to realism than it would be with more stylized anime characters.

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#6 Post by Fox Lee » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:33 pm

I don't think you will have too much of a problem, not having anime-type art. If you were doing an otome or school dating sim, maybe - but it seems to me like lots of the more respected OELVN games have something other than a straight-up anime aesthetic. Plus, there's an audience out there who just plain hate anime aesthetics, but could enjoy VNs. Any anime die-hards you lose, you might make up for by being attractive to that crowd.

I think they're beautifully done, though there is one thing that bothers me. They both seem to have the same adorable, tiny-pursed-painted-lips-with-front-teeth-showing mouth ^^; It's a very minor nitpick, just it's weirding me out a bit <XD

As for whether I would buy it, I do prefer more anime-ish art myself, but if a game excited me I wouldn't let a more western aesthetic keep me away. However, I don't enjoy horror as a genre, so I probably wouldn't. Sorry ^_^;
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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#7 Post by trooper6 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:11 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Yangyang Mobile wrote: What do you think? I'm a bit worried that the audience might not like it because it's far away from the typical, pure anime-style art. Will you buy a game with this kind of art style? :/ All opinions are appreciated! Thanks in advance! ^u^
I like it. I'm a great lover of noses existing on characters.
LWR makes me laugh. I too am a great lover of noses existing on characters.
I like the art.
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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#8 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:21 pm

Yangyang Mobile wrote:What do you think? ... Will you buy a game with this kind of art style?
They're drawings, and they're fine. I'm amused by the blonde girl's regal ringlets hair and her somewhat pimped-out dress.

For what it's worth, I usually prefer cute styles and 2D art, though I have enjoyed a variety of aesthetics. When I browse comics or look at screenshots, I usually just think about whether or not I like them, and just shrug. Sometimes I notice odd quirks in drawings. For instance, when I started playing the third Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side game, I wasn't sure if I liked the character design of Chikara Oosako, since his head didn't seem to match his body. One more example: the early scenes in both Steins;Gate and Virtue's Last Reward included rooms with dull gray walls. That aspect of the art was not personally appealing, since I usually don't like stories about characters who live in oppressive places.

Would I purchase The Letter? If the story or the gameplay seems interesting, I'll consider it.

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#9 Post by blankd » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:23 am

The painting style is very pleasing to look at and it certainly is at a commercial looking level; only critique really is how same-faced they are.

That won't be a dealbreaker for most people but it's a "shame" to have excellent rendering but honestly pretty weak character design. The clothing carries the characters a good deal, but differing physique and faces are really neglected in female characters.

And probably more than you bargained for, while likely not representative of your VN, these two designs seem to be playing to more common female visual archetypes. "Demure" looking plain dark haired girl, "snobby" extravagantly dressed blonde girl who is even dressed in pink. If you want to know what I mean, think of how frequent bookworm/nerdgirl vs valley rich girl and how often the visuals go to this exact shorthand very reliably. They're shorthand for a reason but they don't stand out among many who use these same visual shorthands. Of course if this is just a demonstration of style, you can ignore some of the more specific design critique- but my comments about the same-face and same-physique still stand.

I perfectly understand if any of what I just said is not feasible in what sounds like a commercial project, but speaking personally, and going based on visuals, I would certainly say the characters were rendered well, but not in a way that personally appealed or popped out to me. It would take some decent lifting from the pitch to get me to stick around, much less make a purchase.

Apologies if that sounds harsh, but that's the most honest critique I can provide.

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#10 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:01 am

This isn't aimed solely at you since I've seen this question fairly often, but the question itself really frustrates me because it literally makes no sense. The actual style will never matter. Sure people have preferences but overall it doesn't matter. All that matters is a) Is the work aesthetically pleasing, b) Is it functional and c) Does it serve the story. Going in thinking people will only accept things in a particular style is like thinking all websites should be blue or you can only use a certain type of prose in all fiction. Functionally it doesn't make any sense and it's extremely restrictive in terms of design.

It also indicates to me that not enough research has been done on the market. Even in Japan not everything is anime style, like Professor Layton or Hotel Dusk. Cinders was extremely popular in good part to the styles they use. Hell, even I have used painterly styles before and the comments have been extremely positive. It's really important that you investigate the area you are thinking of targeting and not jump to conclusions about people's responses.

Getting that out of the way, I think the style you have is very good. The colours and contrast are nice so they are visually appealing, they look lovely. The style needs to be evened out a little, for instance blondie's hair is more cartoony than the other one, and you are going to have to be careful using a realistic style, again the blonde girls hands are too small and so aren't really fitting with the style, but overall I think it would look excellent in a game. I highly encourage a greater range of styles in the medium. Though me liking the art isn't enough to make me buy it, it would come down to the story too. Art plays a big part for me so you are on the right track, but I would also need to see how it all places out with the backgrounds and UI before making a judgement call.
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#11 Post by Kinmoku » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:53 pm

They look awesome! I'd be more likely to buy a game with these characters than default anime style, but that's me.

Seems like a lot more thought has gone into them and that's a good thing :)

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#12 Post by Yangyang Mobile » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:43 am

Thank you to everyone who took time to respond! ^^ I really appreciate it! I decided we will continue using the art style we have right now, really gives us a unique flavor compared to the others I guess. -^_^- We'll just work really hard to make sure our story fits the mood of this style!
Auro-Cyanide wrote:This isn't aimed solely at you since I've seen this question fairly often, but the question itself really frustrates me because it literally makes no sense. The actual style will never matter. Sure people have preferences but overall it doesn't matter. All that matters is a) Is the work aesthetically pleasing, b) Is it functional and c) Does it serve the story. Going in thinking people will only accept things in a particular style is like thinking all websites should be blue or you can only use a certain type of prose in all fiction. Functionally it doesn't make any sense and it's extremely restrictive in terms of design.

It also indicates to me that not enough research has been done on the market. Even in Japan not everything is anime style, like Professor Layton or Hotel Dusk. Cinders was extremely popular in good part to the styles they use. Hell, even I have used painterly styles before and the comments have been extremely positive. It's really important that you investigate the area you are thinking of targeting and not jump to conclusions about people's responses.
Thanks for this Auro-Cyanide. The reason I posted this question in the first place is because apart from Cinders, I know no visual novel game that is very popular that didn't use the generic anime art style. Since our story is pure horror, it just didn't make sense to me to use the kawaii-moe style that people seem to love in their VNs. I was just worried because the art style we have now will be used all over the place once we start marketing the game, and I didn't want to prematurely hurt our chances when people saw that the art style our VN is offering is not up to par to their "standards". But, to hell with that! Like I said above, we'll be sticking to our style right now and just hope for the best :D

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#13 Post by Alexzandria » Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:34 pm

This style is really nice. Especially for the people who are not into the anime style. Like me. Definitley keep doing what you do. It looks really professional. I aspire to draw like that. xD

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#14 Post by SundownKid » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:29 pm

Yangyang Mobile wrote: Thanks for this Auro-Cyanide. The reason I posted this question in the first place is because apart from Cinders, I know no visual novel game that is very popular that didn't use the generic anime art style. Since our story is pure horror, it just didn't make sense to me to use the kawaii-moe style that people seem to love in their VNs. I was just worried because the art style we have now will be used all over the place once we start marketing the game, and I didn't want to prematurely hurt our chances when people saw that the art style our VN is offering is not up to par to their "standards". But, to hell with that! Like I said above, we'll be sticking to our style right now and just hope for the best :D
I think that question would be more apt if you were using a graphic novel-y art style that was very sketchy and unusual. Your art style is essentially anime, but more detailed. I am sure that a lot of people would use your art style if they could afford it or have the skill to draw it.

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Re: Character Critique Needed!

#15 Post by rincewind » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:43 pm

Really nice art! Both characters looks really nice.
To be honest I'm more at the anime-style side, but I don't mind other styles when they're pretty. And those examples are just great, a game with that art will score a big plus in my book.

Speaking of Cinders, I like more this style that the Cinders one. That was a small turnoff for me with that game. The other was the "subtext only" endings. But, that's another issue entirely.

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