Genres and Genre-Hopping In CoG/HG (Poll)

We all know that genres are VERY MUCH a “thing” in regular fiction. Tons of readers settle into one genre and read that genre exclusively. And when they find a writer they like, they will probably expect (perhaps demand) that writer to keep cranking out more of what they like. And assuming there are sales, writers are generally happy to oblige, writing to market, or at least writing to tropes, trying to hit all the expected beats while also keeping things fresh. But as we know, our little ecosystem here is not regular fiction. So what are the differences in this regard?

To CoG/HG customers/players/readers/fans (however you’d like to be identified), when a CoG or HG writer creates a game in a certain genre, do you anticipate that the writer will continue writing in that genre? At the very least, would you prefer them to?

To CoG/HG writers, do you have a preferred genre in which to create games/stories? Do you consider yourself to have a brand? If so, is the brand connect to your chosen genre, your personality, or something more nebulous, like an element of writing that’s always present in your works?

I ask all of this because a player had asked me if I was going to go outside the superhero genre after the CCH series is concluded. I already have several ideas for “post CCH writing life” that include:

  1. More Zip? (obviously supehero, and obviously would have to be approved by CoG)
  2. Superhero romance? (I feel I’d need a co-writer for this one)
  3. A superhero Lit/RPG game, sort of a mash-up of “Upload” and “Ready Player One”
  4. Talon City (fantasy, and about 25% done, but very different than anything I’ve done).

Part of me wants to keep going with superhero and really lean into the brand I have developed thus far, but honestly I wonder, in this world of interactive fiction and gaming, does anyone on the customer side care about author brands? If not, then why not take the (rare) opportunity to write in different genres?

When you see an author’s name pop up on the “Upcoming Games” threads, do you think to yourself, “Ah! Another game from Author X! I sorta know what to expect! That’s a must buy!”

Are you such a huge fan of a given genre that when you see a game description that seems to hit that genre, you’re like, “Yup, those are the trappings/tropes/storylines that I like! Must buy!”?

If you’ve been buying let’s say romance games from an author, and she turns around and writes a horror story next, would you be put off? Would you follow the author to such a different genre or just focus on other romance games that would be coming out? What would inform your decision?

So for customers/fans, which of these best sums up your approach to buying and supporting these products and writers?

  • I tend to follow and support CoG/HG/HC authors who write in my preferred genres.
  • I tend to follow and support CoG/HG/HC authors whose writing/plotting I enjoy; I’m not picky about genres.
  • I’m more interested in the genre than the author when it comes to buying CoG/HG/HC games.
  • I don’t think about genre much. I can be hooked by things like promotional blurb, cover, story length, etc., regardless of genre.

0 voters

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Although I have a preference for science fiction or fantasy as well as its subgenres, the truth is that it is more important to support a creator of creative content when they want to make works of other genres, for example @Rustem_Khafizov I really liked his superhero work and a few months ago he wrote a story of suspense. Although I have no taste for these genres, I was happy to release a work that he wanted to create as the one that I liked and his universe, therefore I do not think it is correct that by imposing the whims of a consumer it spoils the craftsmanship and creativity of a creator just to satisfy the market since it prevents the creation of new stories of other genres and even change the paradigm in how stories develop in general these days

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I picked that one because it’s the one that is 100% true for me. I will admit story lenght is one of the most important factors for me, as I like longer stories the most, but yeah, the promotional blurb is usually what I look at first. And if I then notice I know the author - and like them - it’s a nice surprise. With that being said, if it’s an author I had a bad experience with, I’ll be more wary (but most likely still give it a try, unless I had disliked multiple works of the author).

With that being said, I DO have some genres I usually dislike. BUT! I’ll still check the blurb because I may actually love a specific work despite disliking the genre. A good example is wild west - I don’t like wild west stories, but I adore “The Ballad of Devil’s Creek” - it’s one of my top 5 favorite WIPs.

As for the original question, though you may have deduced that from what I said, I don’t care much about what genre an author writes. If I like the author, I will check the blurb regardless of genre, and if I like the blurb and the story is long enough, I will give it a try. If I don’t like the blurb or if the game is too short, then unless I really REALLY loved another work by the author, I may skip.
Now, I’m more likely to check the blurb if it’s a genre I like, so it may take more time for me to play a game that isn’t in my usual genre-choices.

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I do Not mind authors changing their genre. While I do not read every genre, I read what sounds interesting. Some genres I prefer but I take a look at most titles and see, If the story is interesting.

For me it is more relevant If a game is stat heavy or story telling, that is the criteria which counts most for me. To many stat checking stops every fun for me.

If I like someones writing, I will more likely try the next game too. Regardless of the Genre.

On the other side I really love horror or apocalyptic settings, so I will try those always no matter if I like the author or not.

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I’d be all over both of these.

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To CoG/HG writers, do you have a preferred genre in which to create games/stories? Yep.

Do you consider yourself to have a brand?
No. I try experimental stuff and shift around in length and genre (although I tend to stick to fantasy more because that’s what I most enjoy writing/reading. I also tend to lean into mythology and folklore often for inspiration because I know a fair bit about it and enjoy the topic.) I think it also helps I don’t have a run away success like CCH. No one will be terribly disappointed if I don’t release another game like the ones I have out already.

when a CoG or HG writer creates a game in a certain genre, do you anticipate that the writer will continue writing in that genre? At the very least, would you prefer them to?
I think this is almost being looked at in a back to front way. Superhero stories are very topical at the moment and pull in a big audience. You’ve proven you can write a popular superhero story therefore if you wrote another, your current audience is likely to enthusiastically support it.

BUT

Many people who like superhero stories also like fantasy and would happily read games you wrote in either genre. Also, some people who like fantasy aren’t overly fussed on superhero stories, but they may decide to try CCH anyway if they liked something else they read that you’d written first. So, you may pick up some new supporters, while others might go on hold depending on what the project is. It’s more of a risk than writing another superhero game but it doesn’t mean it’s definitely the wrong thing to do.

From a buyers perspective, I’m more likely to consider a game from an existing author whose work I’ve liked in the past even if it’s the type of game I usually wouldn’t buy, but if it’s way outside my interest area and the intro doesn’t grab me, I still may pass.

For authors I don’t know I’m fairly picky about genre unless a game really grabs my interest in some way, so I’d be one of those possibly picked up as a fan if an author changed their genre to try something different.

Edit: Just as an additional thought, genre popularity can go in waves. Superhero movies are really big at the moment. There’s no telling if and when they’ll become oversaturated and decrease in popularity in time which probably has a follow on for HG game sales. In saying that, they’ve been around for a while and are still insanely popular, so it might be here to stay long term.

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When it comes to choosing what to play, the two main things for me are the setting of the game (which I guess counts as a genre?) and romance options: those are the two main ones. I usually don’t pay attention to who the author is, so I wouldn’t be upset if they write a story that differs from their previous work.

@Francisco_Mendez Thank you very much! :blush:

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I would have so much fun with either of them! But I suspect that the market for superhero romance is much larger than the market for “gritty fantasy/anthropomorphic avian crime/mystery.”

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Agreed. And I would probably prefer the romance story myself. And if you need any help with the romance part of things, PM me if you want.

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Genre is important but I do give a lot of leeway in the fact unless it is a genre I actually dislike I’d look into it if it is an author I generally like.

I don’t know how representative my view will be of the CoG user base, but I tend to favor authors. If someone has interesting things to say or interesting ways to say them, I keep an eye out. That said, voice and themes tend to repeat, regardless of packaging. A writing instructor once told me that, yes, any writer can write anything–middling well. But they should write what they, alone, can write exceptionally well, since others exist who can write what they write middlingly, exceptionally. If that’s useless or confusing, feel free to toss it. To even move from fantasy to SF responsibly involves reading and absorbing cultural landscapes, I think. Even just to know that if you name a space marine “Rico,” genre fans will know that’s Heinlein’s title character in “Starship Troopers.” :space_invader: :rocket: :gun:

I haven’t read many authors who genre-jumped that I felt wrote both things equally well. In spec fic, Glen Cook would be one. His military fantasy campaign “The Black Company” is exceptional (the inspiration for Erikson’s “Malazan Book of the Fallen”), yet his “Garret P.I.” comedic supernatural investigation series is exceptional in an entirely different way (the inspiration for Butcher’s “Dredsen Files”). However, he wrote some space stuff he liked a lot which didn’t sell. I didn’t think it was as good, and I do like space stuff. Even big names in genre fic, like King and Martin, don’t diversify (I think) as well as they (or their publicists) seem to think. Then, there’s people like Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman who do four or five pieces of different(?) yet solid work, though I maintain I could tell Gaiman’s voice from a hundred others. Moore: From Hell, Swamp Thing, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen . . . but he had decades. So did Frank Miller: Ronin, Daredevil, Sin City, Dark Knight, 300 . . . maybe they were different people in each decade? My best examples from CoG? I bought “Pon Para” after reading Marquis’ “Night Road.” I much preferred the latter. I bought “Blood Money” after reading HPS’s “Creme de la Creme.” I preferred the concept of the first but the execution of the latter. :man_superhero: :bat: :mantelpiece_clock:

TL;DR: Know thyself, or some such? If it sounds like I have a formed opinion, I don’t–just trying to sort through it with you. Cheers! :beers:

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I’ll be writing fantasy CSGs for the next decade, but I hope my fans will follow me into the sci fi and potentially even literary fiction ideas I have for when XoR is done. Let’s see how much I back myself into a brand I can’t escape. :slight_smile:

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I chose this option as it is so difficult to really determine genre and there is so much overlap. Preferring fantasy, I do like to read other stuff occassionaly but it does not always depend on the author. Difficult poll to answer, all of them are true :slight_smile:

Thanks for the suggestion!

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While I have a slight preference for scifi, particularly space-based or space opera scifi and on the other hand fairytales and myth I am willing to go for practically any genre if the writing appears to me and in most cases of my mc or the protagonist is or can be a gay man.
I do tend to have a slight dislike for some kinds of horror though, again, if the writing plot and characters appeal to me enough it need not be a deterrent.

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This is a great topic.

My favourite read is usually fantasy, so it’s not surprising that I’ve written two wizard games and a fantasy trilogy. :slight_smile:

Sci Fi seems like a small step from that, and I’m a huge space enthusiast. :slight_smile: So, a time travel game and a starship captain game.

You know, I never really thought about it. I loved writing Life of a Mobster, which wasn’t fantasy or sci fi.

My readers seem okay with me jumping around a bit. :slight_smile: But then again, I’ve always broken the rules. I write for fun, not as a job, so I don’t mind doing things differently.

As was said, I think the author brings their own flavour and style to their projects, so even if I cross genres, they still feel like my stuff.

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So as of the time I’m writing this post, 73% (of 108 respondents) answered that they either aren’t picky about genres or don’t give genres much thought. That’s higher than I thought it would be.

Assuming those answers stay in that range, it appears that fans of CoG/HG/HC are much less fickle about genre elements than are traditional readers. From a writing perspective, it looks like that’s the green light to write whatever you’d like (although you’d still want to make sure there is a market for it, and we all know that fantasy and romance sell the best).

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