Apologies for the Late Thread Necromancy, but I believe it’s worth adding this response from Jason here.
The short version is that I commissioned them because I thought it might help us sell more units. Nobody complained about Tesla or Social Services, so I went ahead and did Viking, Crown, Skystrike, and Professor.
Adding a save system is a totally different set of resources than commissioning art.
(If you wish to check it for yourself it’s in this Reddit post, just scroll down a bit: Reddit - Dive into anything)
So I got to ask the more active forum members, were there any announcements, comments, or literally anything that stated that portraits were to become the norm after Tesla and Services of the Doomed? the entire point of the games is that “It’s entirely text-based—without GRAPHICS or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.”
Recently in Choice of the Viking, I don’t even recall any descriptors to the characters so if you wanted to have a general idea of how they looked then you would have to check the portraits anyway which just feels intrusive, especially since the portraits are being used as something essential for you to have an idea of how they look like instead of being a complementary artwork to help visualize how they look like
Of course they are not the worst so far yet it still takes a toll because it’s a text-based game whose company tagline tells us that it’s “fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination” so how it would help boost sales exactly? it doesn’t even show on Steam and App Store preview pages to begin with.
I would also like to touch a bit on artworks in WIPs like say Adventures of Sherlock Holmes has some portraits of the characters, yet they work because they feel complementary, the demo tells you about some of the details and the portraits feel like an optional bonus that you have to go on your way to check it, the portraits feel like they took the details of appearance and put it into artwork with the details serving as a foundation, but in these recent releases, it feels like it the details are more and more sparse with only the artworks being the only notable reference on their appearances.
Jerel is a good artist don’t get me wrong and I believe the main problem is the style itself, the cartoon style makes them feel… off? It doesn’t work, the characters look plain and lifeless, their eyes and faces don’t show personality and they all feel the same, and in some cases, it just exaggerates traits which makes them just look like caricatures.
Another thing to add is that we have been requesting other features for a long while like say save systems, for instance, I don’t recall a strong community desire surrounding official Portraits (if there was any desire for this at all)
Yet they were added because there wasn’t such a negative outcry on the artworks when Social Services and Tesla were released even though we weren’t forewarned because artworks were never the main point of the releases in COG and HG compared to the story, characters, and romance.