Bloody Chronicles puts players in the shoes of Kazuki, a young police academy graduate who’s been drafted into an organization that solves extremely difficult murder cases. Set to be filled with mystery, drama, and personal connections, players will help solve cases while growing closer to their coworkers on the unit.
Now, with a brand new Kickstarter due to assistance from MiKandiJapan, Igrasil Studio talks about the challenges of complex, player-controlled stories and the inspirations that have set the developers to work on a visual novel of their own.
What convinced you all to work together on a visual novel? What was the story you all needed to tell?
Well, most, if not all, of our staff love anime, and we kind of wanted to channel that love together into a worthwhile experience. We all wanted to make a mark on the industry that we adored, and creating a visual novel is something that we could see as being our contribution. As for the story, we wanted to create a story full of twists and suspense and try to break away from some of the more common anime tropes.
What games inspired Bloody Chronicles?
We were inspired by some popular visual novels like Fate/Stay Night and Ace Attorney. We wanted to create Bloody Chronicles because we’ve noticed that the market for visual novels seems to cater towards adult dating sim games, which isn’t very accessible to those who want to experience a visual novel for the first time. We want to show people that the visual novel is a genre that can flourish here in western territories, much like how Telltale revitalized the morality system and adventure genre with things like The Walking Dead and Sam and Max.
You project that the game will take over 40 hours to complete. How much work goes into writing a story that long? Into recording voices and creating meaningful decisions for the player to make?
Well, it’s a bit comprehensive. Concept planning alone took three months, and we ended up spending a year to actually write the whole story. We’re taking additional time for our editors to localize and edit the dialogue (since most of the story was translated directly from Japanese, and as such, contains a number of phrases that might be unfamiliar to our target demographic.). The lion’s share of that year was mainly due to creating alternate choices in our story, hence the whole “twisted” theme we’re emphasizing. As for voice recordings, we have voice actors for all of the main cast, and they act out their lines as the edited dialogue gets processed.
How many characters are you looking to have in the game? What can you tell us about them?
The main cast consists of five main characters; we have our main protagonist, the brooding Kazuki (who we’ll talk about a bit later), the strict leader Suzumi, the humorous brother/sister pair of Akito and Aki, and the aloof Karou. We also plan to have a few side characters, and one other character that will shake up the current list. Each of the characters will have special sprites and will interact differently based on the decisions you make, much like a traditional visual novel.
What sorts of relationships can Kazuki have with the other characters in the game? Who will he be able to get closer to?
The side characters may just remain flat, but Kazuki can interact with all the Igrasil members; by spending more time with the cast, you can unlock special events and cutscenes for a given character. As aforementioned, we won’t have sexually charged scenes as some visual novels might include, but there may be romance involved.
Bloody Chronicles stars a main character that solves crimes. How will this be done in the game? How will it affect the story?
Kazuki is the main protagonist of Bloody Chronicles, and is the one that players control. Players will go through crime scenes through his perspective in the style of a visual novel (choices that you make throughout the investigation may alter evidence for example.) We’re planning on developing three different acts that we call cycles; consider it like an episodic visual novel.
How do you work the various relationships and decisions together toward one of the game’s ending? How do you take all of the characters and potential storylines and merge them together into cohesive narratives?
We admit that this is a bit daunting; citing The Walking Dead, we consider that while choices might carry over throughout the game, the end result remains the same. Depending on your relationships with the characters, there will be minor epilogues describing Kazuki’s current interactions with them, but the underlying narrative will remain unchanged for the next title.
You’ve recently received help from MiKandiJapan in getting a Kickstarter going. What help are they bringing to your project beyond the Kickstarter?
MiKandiJapan created a successful Kickstarter campaign for Libra of the Vampire Princess, and the company is going to help us with layout and making sure the process runs smoothly. They’ll be with us afterwards as we handle anything PR related regarding the campaign details; we’re very happy for them to have teamed up with us!