VN(ish) remakes/remasters?

Almost every time I look at a game’s cover art, I find myself asking: why couldn’t there be any more of that in the actual game?

The answer of course, is simple and obvious:

  • More art = additional costs
  • Choicescript can not work as a vn engine [the few games that use in game art do it either in the start of each chapter (or in key moments), or outside the story (character portraits, maps, etc)]

But what about bestsellers with an established fanbase? Couldn’t the returning fans along with new players from the vn community offset the cost of the art and coding (since the game will most likely have to work on a different engine)?

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Well, another simple answer is that games published in ChoiceScript (through Choice of Games, Hosted Games, or Heart’s Choice) can’t then be re-published in competing interactive fiction formats (like visual novels), the same way a book published through Penguin Random House can’t be re-published with pictures through Harper Collins. :slight_smile:

Also, from what I know, art is extremely expensive, especially high-quality or VN-level art. The amount of time, effort, and money it would take to painstakingly convert a text-only game into a visual-heavy illustrated one would be a really high and risky investment, and I just don’t think there’s enough of a guaranteed fanbase to make that cost worth it or even guarantee that such an endeavor would break even or make a profit. If I bought a ChoiceScript or text-based game, it’s really unlikely that I would buy a much more expensive version of the same game that has the same story, just with art. It’s like, if a text-based version costs 3$, but an art VN with virtually the same exact story costs 30$, I’d be willing to bet that many new buyers would simply buy the text version… and only a fraction of fans would buy both versions if they already owned the text one–not enough to recoup the money that would go into the art version. That’s my take, anyway!

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As a “visual novel person”, I can guarantee I would buy an upgrade that would have art in it, IF I like the artstyle, and that is an issue. Some people like realistic art, others like cartoony, others like manga-like… The artstyle can make or break a story too. For example, in a lot of cases I think “man, this story would be even greater with art!” - but when I see some cover arts, I think “man, I’m glad this game has no art if it would mean the entire thing would have that artstyle!”… so yeah, it really depends. I rarely like anything else than manga-like styles.

I also want to mention not all visual novels are worth $20+ - you can find free ones, some great, or ones that cost less than $10. And not necessarily short ones. But there is a reason why text based IF are longer than most visual novels on the cheap side. Art is time consuming, and with the amount of branching text based IFs require, it would be hard to make.

With that being said, yes, I know a lot of people who don’t like IF because of the no-visuals aspect, including people who bought text-based IF on Steam only to get a refund because “it’s boring”, so certainly, it WOULD attract new people with visuals. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of people in this community who are VERY unforgiving towards visual novels, so it could also loose fans, for all I know :woman_shrugging:

With that being said, there IS market for visual novels that would have as many customization options as text based IFs, as proven by “Our Life”, which has to be the VN with the most customization I know. But as stated before, one couldn’t make a “visual novel remake” because of the policies, so it would have be like… an illustrated book, done with CS, I guess?
Surprisingly, that would be easier to an extent than a full visual novel, as long as it doesn’t have illustrations for every single scene. But then again, I’m speaking as a person who can draw, so it’s not the same as if someone had to hire an artist. I can just look at it from a workload point of view for myself.

If I was making an IF, I’d probably add more art to it, because I like it. But I’m not cause the visual novel format suits me better for a lot of reasons so yeah.

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I think the only way this would happen is if the author was also an artist. As Clay Puppington once said, money is very expensive these days.

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So are Warhammer models, both are much cheaper when you print them yourself.

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Aside from the legal ramifications, there’s a lot that goes into a visual novel. Think about it this way…

  • Character sprites - You’re going to want a sprite for every major character. You may also want different outfits to show the passage of time. And most VNs have sprites with emotions and some with different poses. Aside from the main characters, you may also want to have NPC sprites to account for any minor characters the player might bump into, which is another expense.
  • Backgrounds - Every location means a new background. VNs will often have day and night versions as well, for repeat locations.
  • CGs - It’s generally expected that VNs will have CGs for major, plot important events.
  • UI - The title screen, save/load menu, dialogue box, choice menu, etc all need to be designed and programmed by someone. Most likely, you’ll also want to hire someone to illustrate something for your title screen as well.
  • Music - VNs can’t go on in total silence, so that means music and sound effects.
  • Programming - Programming VNs can be very complex, especially programming UIs. While there are some more user friendly options out there, plenty of people choose to shell out for a programmer.
  • Proofreading/Editing - Of course, a CoG would need this as well, but it’s yet another cost to take into account.

All of these things add up, especially for folks who can’t do things themselves. And a lot of CoGs are written in ways that would be extremely costly as a VN. For example, most CoGs have customizable protagonists - often being able to choose skin color, hair color, and hair length. All that means, if you want to have a visible MC, you’d need to have the artist redraw both the sprite and every CG they’re in to account for these options. The number of characters and locations can also exceed what is generally feasible in a VN as well.

Overall, making VNs is just a different beast and requires its own planning for scope and cost. Converting a CoG to a VN would be switching to an entirely different medium, so even if it was legally possible, it’d still be a pretty big financial risk and potential time sink.

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I’m sorry, what’s a CG?

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CGs are illustrated art that are used during important plot events in visual novels. So rather than having the sprites just standing there, you have the illustration. CG supposedly stands for Computer Graphics. It’s a holdover from the beginning days of visual novels.

As an example, here’s a typical game screen from the visual novel Raging Loop, which has sprites and a background:

Sprites & BG

And here is an example of an early CG, which is used to set the tone of the novel (in this case, a spooky horror game).

CG

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