By Andrew Dodson on January 15, 2015 at 10:18pm
Every now and then, a project will appear on Kickstarter that grabs my attention - even if it's in a genre that I know nothing about or have never really investigated. That is what happened when I first came across "But I love you." I remember thinking: "This is a dating simulator. You're a 27-year old man. This is not for you." But there was a little tag in the campaign title:
[A horrific take on dating sims]
That made me click and watch the video. I have never really gotten into the visual novel/dating simulator genre of video games, so all I really know about them are things that I heard - you're a character, you find girls, you hook up with the girls and somewhere in there you live happily ever after, I suppose. Not really my cup of tea. In "But I love you." however, the game not only provides players with the standard dating simulator setup, but it also provides you with a mystery.
Because you're alone in this town with these girls. There is no one else here. And there is something seriously very wrong with this picture.
I managed to get a hold of Mel Gorsha, the brains behind "But I love you." and ask her a few questions.
Player Theory: So, you have a little more than two weeks left in the Kickstarter campaign, and you've already blown by your goal. How has your experience been on Kickstarter so far? Were you expecting this kind of immediate, positive response to your game?
Mel Gorsha:I definitely was not expecting such an immediately positive response to the game; in fact, I kinda thought that the highest we would get to funding-wise would be $20,000. Boy, was I wrong...
PT: With "But I love you." it looks like you're making the jump from a voice actor to a game developer. I understand that you have some other games in the concept stage (Galactic Embassy), but will this be your first time diving into the development process for a game? How has that experience been so far?
MG: I've had some experience with coding before (BASIC and Python, at least), and plan on getting familiar with C++ as well, but yes, this was my first time making something as big as this. Thankfully, though, the way funding's going, I'll probably be able to hire someone who's more experienced and likes the idea of the game just as much as I do and make the development process go much faster and smoother. It's very tedious and not quite my cup of tea, but I'm more than willing to buckle down and do it if that's what it takes to get the game made.
PT: What aspect of putting together a visual novel like this turned out to be the most difficult? Has anything turned out surprisingly easy?
MG: It's an ongoing process and I think that getting the funding done and figuring out exactly what everyone wants out of this game is the most difficult part. Putting everything together will be a challenge, sure, but at least we'll know what the result will be. Communication between myself and the other team members, even though only myself and one other person know each other and can talk face-to-face about the game, has been surprisingly smooth and easy, though part of me feared it would be the hardest part.
PT: This game is certainly a really unique take on dating simulators. What inspired the idea for "But I Love You?" Is there a story behind the story? Or are you just a fan of horror/thriller twists? What kind of pizza were you eating when you thought of this?
MG: I have very conflicting interests...I love lovey-dovey and funny games and shows (Pacthesis' flash games are a favorite of mine), but also absolutely love action and suspense and horror. I'm looking to make something that's a good blend of those. And the pizza I was eating, by the way, was extra cheese cheese pizza with alfredo instead of tomato sauce.
PT: You've made the promise of over 40 endings in the Kickstarter. That is quite a number. Is there going to be a significant difference between some of the endings or will they all follow a single, central theme/idea?
MG: It sounds like a big number, but keep in mind that a) there are nine girls and b) the game can be played as either a horror game, a dating game, or both. So that's twenty-seven right there, assuming each girl gets one ending each way; and it's common to find "nothing happened" endings in dating sims as well (no romance, no dying, etc.), and then there are some endings that can only be obtained when playing as one gender or the other. So if we put a modest number right there, that's another, say ten, and we're at thirty-seven. And then there are the ways you can die, assuming that the horror endings for the girls aren't them killing you...the numbers stack up pretty quickly. But while some of the endings will be similar, there will be a preeeeeeeeetty big difference between most of them.
PT: You've assembled quite the team of artists, programmers, musicians and voice actors for this project. Have you worked with members of this team before? Was it difficult getting the group into the project, or did you already have an idea of who you wanted to try to work with?
MG: Some of the voice actors, I've been in contact with before, but everyone else, no. I was a fan of Nick Beja's work already, and was delighted when he agreed to be the character artist for the game, and the same can be said for Glenn, our musician. The others, while I absolutely love them, I only found through coincidence when I was combing through artists who might fit what roles I needed filled. Thankfully, everyone who's working on the project with me was my first choice for what they're doing.
PT: As your campaign has progressed, you seem to have noticed that people are more excited about voice acting than having more mini-games. Did that surprise you? Are you planning on switching around your stretch goals to accommodate your backers' opinion?
MG: In a way, yes. I know a lot of people like to turn off the voices for visual novels in the first place, but more people seemed interested in having voice actors than having additional content like mini-games...I guess visual novel fans prefer for their visual novels to stay novels. Which is understandable.
PT: I've noticed that some (very little) of the response to 'But I Love You' has been negative - mostly accusing the game of female objectification and the girls looking underage. You've addressed these accusations in other Q & As. Were you expecting those types of responses when you first started the campaign for 'But I Love You'? Is there anything you'd like to say here to address those comments?
MG: I hoped that the game wouldn't get any feedback of that sort, but in a way, I expected it. It's very easy to offend people on the internet, and there's not really a way to please everyone. However, I think the people who accuse the game of "female objectification" mostly jumped on that boat because of their past experiences with anything that has "dating sim" tacked onto it being something where you're specifically trying to get into a girl's (or guy's) pants...they might have just not read the description for "But I love you." properly, haha.
PT: I am a 27-years old, and this game will likely be my introduction to the dating simulator genre. What should I expect?
MG: Ooooh, if this is your first experience with dating sims, don't let it be what defines the genre for you, haha! Dating sims are typically very focused on "routes", and trying to score with one person out of many and get a happily ever after with them...and while you can do that in this game (though you won't go as far physically/erotically with the girls) if you choose, I hope that anyone who plays it goes through it at least once as the combination of genres that it is. You can expect some chances to woo the girls, but the game is a lot more story-based than many dating simulators.
PT: Which of the characters revealed so far is your favorite? Since you the know the plot already, can you reveal which one scares you the most?
MG: Out of the five girls that are revealed to the public, I'd have to say that Allison is my favorite. I have a weakness for quiet characters and characters with glasses, so she's like a two-for-one. But the scariest out of the girls...I'd definitely say that's Emma, who coincidentally, I voice. I don't want to go into why, but let's just remember that all of the girls are a little bit crazy...and she's the one who the player lives with while he's in town.
PT: What is love?
MG: (Baby, don't hurt me. Don't hurt me. No more....) No, but on a serious note, love is accepting a person as a whole, even after finding all of their flaws, and holding them as your equal and your best friend and your partner. And if there's one person in the whole world whose opinion matters to you, it's the opinion of the person you love.
Will you find love? Will you solve the mystery? Will you escape? Will you end up murdered? All of these are valid questions when you go on a date in real life, but they're especially relevant in regards to "But I love you." There is a lot to be said about this game and its little twist on the whole idea of the dating simulator, and since the Kickstarter campaign has already reached it's funding goal (and shot right past it), all we have to do now is wait to play.
The expected delivery for "But I love you." is September of 2015.
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