Making visual games from an existing CoG/HG

Today I received an email from a fan of one of my latest game. Basically, he asks me:

I have been a fan of Hosted Games for a time now, and I bought Hero or Villain: Genesis that you wrote and im so happy that I did because im enjoying it very much. now the reason that im writing you is since im into playing games and making them I want to make a game from your story. pixel and Visual novel-like game. it’s not going to be a full-time project or a profitable one. I just want to make a game of your story out of passion and love, I still don’t know if I can make it or not but I just wanted to ask your permission. let me add that im, not ganna share the game and I will only publish it if you are ok with it.

Obviously, I am really happy that people like this game enough to do this. However, I am not sure whether this is allowed (from the point of view of CoG/HG), and if it is, whether it is necessarily a good thing.

Any thoughts, comments?


The guidelines state that while COG allows authors to retain the IP, COG gets exclusive rights to interactive versions of your game. So this fan could make a visual version of your game, but it would have to be completely linear.

As for whether it’s a good idea stylistically is a matter of opinion. Personally, I feel like translating the written word to visuals makes it lose a lot of nuance and artistry, but at the same time, it can add a lot of both if done well. I guess this is just a new version of “should books be made into movies?” :joy:


Isn’t Hero/Villain HG-published though, which the author retains the full copyright of the IP?

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The last time I looked at the guidelines for the contract (not an actual contract, just the HG submission guide), it said that authors retain the full IP (characters, world, plot, etc.) but COG retains all rights to any interactive version of that IP. I can check again tomorrow.


Hello! I would highly suggest emailing Jason or any CoG/HG staff (the support email would probably do) to clarify this situation. Majority of the people here in the forums aren’t employees of CoG/HG, getting an answer from CoH/HG is the most safest approach.


Trevers is correct. The contracts preclude you from repurposing the content for a competing format. So, you could make a novel, a movie, a comic book, a TTRPG book/setting, a board game, a collectable card game, or an open-world computer game (like Witcher or Skyrim), but you can’t use the same content in a CYOA book, a Visual Novel, or another IF language like Twine, Ink, Ren’Py, Inform, etc etc.


I’ve seen visual novels which are pretty linear and gives as much choice to the player (or reader would be a better word here I guess) as a book or a movie. Would that kinda VN not allowed either?

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It would not. I don’t want to be in the business of adjudicating such, so just no.


I’ll add that we get a …lot of emails like this. They tend to be from young, often non-native English speakers. Their emails offer to create art, translations*, adaptations, fan written sequels etc etc etc. They offer to do these things for free or that they don’t want to be compensated for their work, or don’t need recognition. Then they ask for permission. I strongly suspect these are not things that would ever eventuate even if the people writing in did have permission to do so. It is merely one way in which fans express their love of the work.

(Best are the offers of translations which want to “traduce” our games).


Thanks for all the replies, it really helps (I guess 15 years in Japan have made me lazy about reading contracts, as this country seems to rely heavily just on the spirit of things, and interpersonal relations and reputation).

@Mary_Duffy I also understand that many authors probably get such requests, and that nothing would have probably come out of it anyway. Just, in this case I was slightly confused as to how to reply (it’s only this last game of mine that has gathered enough attention to get these comments… I am a bit new to this, so please forgive me!)

@jasonstevanhill, great, I guess that is a completely resolved issue. To be honest, I was not keen on the idea to start with, as I started to imagine the number of potential headaches (and issues of losing control over my own story, etc). To be honest, at the moment I have enough trying to improve my current game, attempting to finally start the second chapter and making this card game I was telling you about (which is, slowly but surely, moving forward!)


Traduttore, traditore!


My apologies for asking a stupid question in an old-ish topic, but this point is kinda important to me. :thinking: Does this cover also spin-offs and the like, that have different story albeit sharing the same world and partially the same characters, or is it only the content in the book itself that can’t be provided in another interactive digital(?) format?


“Different story” presumably means it’s a different story.


If the answer still eludes you, then you are allowed to create spin-offs based on the setting of published works, since it’d be a “different story.”

CoG or fellow mods may correct me if that’s not the case.

I think we should leave Jason’s answer as the final word; if anyone has further questions, sending an email into support seeking clarification is recommended.

Anything else said is above our pay grade.