Kickstarter for Venus Blood Frontier

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#176 by sanahtlig
2018-09-29 at 21:18
I made a statement on this matter on Fuwanovel. Since Fuwanovel moderation deemed the entire episode a pointless tangent and hid all of the related posts (including mine), I'll reproduce my statement here.

I wrote the first page or so of the 'Venus Blood Frontier Community Engagement Plan' that's been making the rounds. The goal was a virtual flier campaign: publicly posting customized appeals in various VN and hentai communities to announce the Kickstarter and generate interest and discussion. The 'project' was still in its planning stages; I didn't have time to manage it so I specifically stated on that first page that any activities should first be cleared through JAST or Ninetail representatives. Ninetail had no involvement (Fateburn was off-duty or asleep the entire time), and low-level JAST staff knew some fans had an idea for a community engagement activity but the details had not been approved (nor were they even hammered out yet).

Some fans were already registering in various communities to spread the word with generic announcement posts; I thought this was spam-like and unlikely to be effective. So I drew up the rough scaffolding of a plan to hopefully improve on this. In the document, I used words like 'infiltrate' for chuuni flavor: simply because they sounded cool. The basic idea was that community members know their community best and how to appeal to them. The idea was to find enthusiastic fans, e.g., in /r/visualnovels, ask what other active community they might be part of, and have them post a message customized to appeal to that community (e.g, if it's a hentai game community, emphasize the gameplay and corruption aspects). Creating the first page of the document was pretty much the extent of my involvement; I was busy with other things. Edit access was granted to one member unaffiliated with JAST or Ninetail to manage the document (but not the project). Various people were commenting it, but other than that I wasn't aware of any new actions based on this proposal being taken.

What ended up happening is that some users in the channel got excited and decided to take matters into their own hands. One user seems to have started cold PM'ing people he didn't know, which is a nuisance-type of behavior I hadn't intended. I'm sure other things I hadn't intended happened as well. But to reiterate: no action was to be taken without approval of project leaders. Project leaders had not yet been assigned or briefed, and therefore no action was to be taken. At this point, it was just supposed to be a proposal.

I do apologize for the nuisance and confusion that I appear to have instigated, and I've told those involved that I disapprove of their activities. Hata, who is in many ways the face of the Discord server and is now being accused of being responsible for this, had no involvement. He did not approve of it, nor was he even consulted to obtain his approval. He didn't understand the concept of astroturfing and understandably got defensive when accused of something he had no involvement with that at face value seems like aggressive (but legitimate) marketing.

However, I would like to remind everyone that crowdfunding is fundamentally a multi-level marketing endeavor. The whole point is to inspire enthusiasm in users and get them to 'sell' the project to others. While we clearly crossed a line here, the model itself encourages this kind of behavior. It's something to think about.

In response to a post from another member of the channel, I clarified that the original title of the document was "Venus Blood Frontier Community Engagement Plan", not the silly title fabricated for it by the 'Twitter detective'. This title, which clarified the intention, was mysteriously absent from the pastebin dumps (I wonder why?).
Title screenshot

I hope this definitively ends the rampant speculation on the matter.Last modified on 2018-09-29 at 21:21
#177 by eacil
2018-09-29 at 21:29
Finally, the press release.
#178 by ramaladni
2018-10-10 at 21:51
I wrote about the VBF gameplay trial and the environment that surrounds it here.

I found that the gameplay was fun, engaging and complex but it could benefit from an interface upgrade and improved tutorial. Translation is decent, with a couple glaring issues that are a cause for concern. Overall, the demo is certainly polished in comparison with the first one, but it’s still rough around the edges.

I also talk about localization mistakes, but the bigger issue is with the original script itself.

Would appreciate any feedback or criticism, but either way, it'd be nice to revive this discussion thread. Honestly, it's quite vexing how low of a presence Ninetail have, barely even engaging with the community. It's also surprising how the stretch goals have yet to be revealed, 20 or so days in the Kickstarter. I believe that the initial goal will be reached, but there's a lot of wasted potential. Like, just imagine if the mikandi guy was running the PR campaign.

(I know about the issue with the images loading slowly. It seems to work completely fine with certain browsers, but try clearing your cache).Last modified on 2018-10-11 at 16:41
#179 by encrypted12345
2018-10-11 at 13:18
Heh, 90% because of new tiers and an influx of whales (a second person backed the highest tier).

In any case, they revealed the stretch goals.

170k: New heroine ep (different from the Yggdrasil money pool), new English ED, 6 more pieces of OST, and retranslation of the interface

190k: New Heroine episode and improved artbook

210k: New Heroine episode, 6 extra common units, Goddess System voices if you get the soundtrack

250k: New story scene (A Disturbing Memory) and new commander unit Imperial Queen Disir

300k: New story scene (A Chaotic Future) and new unit Odin, the absolute God of Evil

I think the highest stretch goal which is conceivable is the 210k one. The 170k seems really likely at least.Last modified on 2018-10-11 at 13:20
#180 by ramaladni
2018-10-11 at 15:32
I would be really happy if we reached the first goal, mostly because of the interface retranslation.
#181 by eacil
2018-10-13 at 22:07
100% funded. 6 days remaining. Thanks encrypted12345 for the suspense.
I am glad they succeeded despite the fact HRPG is not my cup of tea.
More variation is always a good thing and anything that takes money out of Alice Soft's pocket is one too. :pLast modified on 2018-10-13 at 22:08
#182 by kiru
2018-10-14 at 07:42
^That's like saying "screw Gust, Yay Compile Heart!".
Mind you, I don't dislike Compile Heart.Last modified on 2018-10-14 at 07:43
#183 by being
2018-10-14 at 12:10
I was worried this wouldn't make it
#184 by varcetti
2018-10-14 at 12:30
A lot of work for a kickstarter that's probably going to fail anyway. Goal is a bit too high for something this niche.

Granted I guess there could always be a miracle(probably in the form of a whale)

what happened haters?
the infiltration was a success and so was the Kickstarter.Last modified on 2018-10-14 at 12:30
#185 by warfoki
2018-10-14 at 12:46

Come on now, are we really going to start conspiracy theories over some people being skeptical / pessimistic?
#186 by sakurakoi
2018-10-14 at 16:53
Ironically enough, there are at least two whales who pledged over 10k, dunno if 3921$ also already counts (that'd be another two then) or 2450$ (+1), I consider even 1960$ too high (+3) but I guess 1176$ is not anymore, maybe? (+15) But with those... (Note: I only converted the yen prices, otherwise I'd be writing in € which Americanos can not comprehend)

yeah, a third was funded by like 20 people. Not sure if normal but if I look at the few Kickstarter I was part of:
-Grisaia Trilogy had only 4 people pledge 5000$ (nothing higher) and 10 people 1000$, it got 3 times the amount.
-Libra of the Vampire Princess had like 10 pledge between 1000$ and 1600$ (nothing higher), about the same amount.
Also, currently 1107 Supporters vs 4348 and 2285 Supporters.

Pretty much carried I'd say...
and I would not even write in jest that that "the infiltration was a success", far from making one a shameless sore winner, the reasons for doubt were and are pretty much reasonable. Not to mention concern, one always gotta love it being confused with hate, that's why we can't have nice things. I don't even want to imagine if this was not written in jest but one is indeed proud of that, I know there is something "so shameful one could die" but "someone else being so shameful that oneself could die out of embarrassment"?

Now if a whale or more were to abandon ship (I humbly ask you to imagine this literary~) shortly before the KS ends because they intended to due to this "infiltration"-debacle (it should be obvious that the first line should have been "First and foremost don't be obnoxious." but welp~), then I can not help but lol utterly hard. Ofc I'd feel too guilty to do something so vile myself (even though fake pledges rather boost real ones, I'd say such high amounts just ask for such attempts, to crush spirits) and I actually give the officials the benefit of the doubt.
#187 by alexlung
2018-10-16 at 18:33
ggwp guys, glad its a success. gj on the whales and everyone that supported it
#188 by dk382
2018-10-16 at 19:38
Most of the whales were probably japanese mega-fans trying to fund the creation of new bonus chapters and shit. A much higher percentage of backers are from japan compared with other VN kickstarters.
#189 by eltonan
2018-10-16 at 21:12
Well their overspending is the western visual novel's community's benefit I guess.Last modified on 2018-10-16 at 21:13
#190 by sanahtlig
2018-10-17 at 14:53
The top-heaviness of the pledges raises some concerns about long-term sustainability: whether the games can appeal to a sufficiently large audience to justify future releases at a set price point ($30-50). While I think that Ninetail's games can achieve wide appeal, this KS certainly doesn't demonstrate that. Grisaia, Dies Irae, and Vampire of the Libra Princess all had 2-3x the number of backers, and the latter was by no means an exceptional game with wide appeal. If I were Eushully looking at these numbers, I wouldn't be convinced that there's strong demand for long gameplay-focused eroge in the English market. And if I asked Ninetail about their experience, I'd probably hear that navigating the English market and its expectations is a lot more difficult than they'd bargained for.Last modified on 2018-10-17 at 15:05
#191 by bakauchuujin
2018-10-17 at 15:57
Considering that they are also going to sell it at some later point outside of the kickstarter they will probably get some numbers better showcasing how they do with a set price point. One thing to remember is that many people dislike kickstarters for VNs due to most of them ending up being delayed by a long time. I don't think they will have a clear understanding of the english market before they have released it.
#192 by pincenez
2018-10-17 at 16:51
Assuming the game's development goes well enough, I wouldn't be surprised if the retail release is better received than the crowd-funding project. Except for maybe big-title games, I'm wondering whether there's a growing fatigue for projects asking people to back all-ages releases with adult patches? The backer is taking all the risk that the final game will meet their requirements, while the various add-on enticements are generally compromised, due to the inherent all-ages nature of the project.

Full transparency on my part: I'd have rolled the dice and backed an 18+ physical release; I'm not about to give a company money for a digital-only product, with a planned year's worth of development time.
#193 by ramaladni
2018-10-19 at 13:33
I might've been a little skeptical myself, but the second stretch goal has been reached. With 12 hours left to go, BackerKit adjustments and PayPal pledges, I wonder just how far we can go.
#194 by encrypted12345
2018-10-19 at 18:46
I think the third stretch goal is possible. I wouldn't expect any higher than that, and it's not particularly guaranteed since Backerkit never goes too far past the original KS pledge.Last modified on 2018-10-19 at 18:59
#195 by sanahtlig
2018-10-19 at 21:17
I might've been a little skeptical myself, but the second stretch goal has been reached. With 12 hours left to go, BackerKit adjustments and PayPal pledges, I wonder just how far we can go.
The project has picked up a few hundred backers over the past 2 days. This somewhat mitigates my earlier concerns, though not entirely. With the $170k goal reached, the release should at least meet the current standard for professional eroge releases. For a while, that didn't look guaranteed.Last modified on 2018-10-19 at 21:20
#196 by eacil
2018-10-20 at 02:00
KS closed.
23 606 140 ¥ total with 1 705 backers. 141% of base goal.
Third stretch goal (at 23 100 000 ¥) achieved.
Not bad. Someone contacts Eushully.Last modified on 2018-10-20 at 02:01
#197 by encrypted12345
2018-10-20 at 02:57
I'm really happy with the third stretch achieved for the KS, mainly for the extra common units.
#198 by zimbobwa1
2018-10-20 at 11:34
If this, steam opening its doors, and the success of Evenicle isn't enough to convince the other gameplay vn makers, then I'm afraid nothing will, assuming there aren't any other underlying factors that may make a western release an issue.
#199 by kominarachromer
2018-10-20 at 21:09
#198 The "underlying factor" is straight up xenophobia and consumer distrust. All Western PC gamers are pirates, after all.
#200 by [deleted]
2018-11-01 at 16:28
Here we go again AruNaru....


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