A lot of people have the wrong idea about “the sequel”, and it is probably my fault for calling it “the sequel”, so maybe I should take a post to clarify my master plan and set the record straight. I suspect that, like the character update, there will be those that will say “That sounds awesome!”, and others that will say “That sounds stupid!”, but I am mostly doing this to satisfy my creative endeavors, not to please everybody.
So here is the deal. The project is not really a “sequel” in the literal sense. The truth is, the original Date Simulator pretty exhausted all of my ideas in regards to what can happen on a date that makes sense in the rather chaotic format that it was presented in. There is nothing new to do in the confines of that format.
So I am changing formats. Specifically, the new game will take the form of a Visual Novel, a game format I originally wrote about a year ago. I am writing the game using a visual novel engine called Renpy, which can create playable programs for PC, Mac, Linux and Android. (Technically speaking, the Dating Simulator is itself a “visual novel” but lacking sophisticated dialogue and coherent plot it is sort of an odd example of what they are like.)
Visual Novels are extremely popular in Japan and to a lesser extent Korea, but they have never caught on in America. The primary subject matter of these visual novels is romance (renai), and sex (hentai), and a fairly large fraction contain erotic images (eroge). Having played about a dozen visual novels (there are not that many available in English), it is obvious to me why they are not popular in America and everywhere else not Japanese. Mostly it is because no one has ever created a visual novel to really try to appeal to people outside of Japan. Not that there haven’t been attempts, but the creators of such attempts still fall back on visual novel conventions that annoy western audiences. Lots of rambling chit chat, settings like prep schools that don’t really exist in America, Manga style art work, girls that are way too young looking to be “legal”.
My philosophical goal is to write the “Great American Visual Novel”, though that is unlikely to be the case in the long run. A much less lofty ambition is to take the Visual Novel format and westernize it. Like the most popular Japanese Visual Novels, mine will be about romance and sex. Also like most popular Japanese Visual Novels, there will be a large number of potential dates.
Pretty much every other convention is being tossed aside: First of all, potential dates are women, not girls. Second, Manga art is out, 3D art is in. Third, an actual plot, with good guys, bad guys, surprising twists, and humor. Fourth, a focus on American style modern story telling, inspired by Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Joss Whedon and others. Fifth, instead of a story that takes weeks to develop your character and your relationships, it all takes place in a single day. With all of this in mind, my current working title is Date Night in America, which I know is a bit cheesy, but it conveys the theme and philosophy of the project. If anyone has a better title, I am definitely open to suggestions.
I still unfortunately have a long way to go. I think of building the game like playing a video game. I am currently “grinding” right now working to finish story #1, but I know I got a “big boss fight” in the form of creating an animation, before I can level up and move onto story #2.
Pictured above: Top row – The Smart girl, the Good Girl, the Rock Star, the Super Model*. Second Row – The College Student, the Athlete, Rebecca*, the Air Head Bottom Row: The Artist, the Business Woman*, the Bad Girl, the Wing Man. * = Appeared previously in The Dating Simulator. Some of these are subject to change.