The interest in Russian visual novels

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#1 by fazz321
2021-02-06 at 10:45
< report >Hi, I'm Russian and I'm visual novel developer.

I'm aware that non-Japanese visual novels have a bad reputation in VN community (understandably so), and I'm aware that Russian games in particular also have a bad reputation (which is also understandable, even if there are some notable exceptions). So I found myself in a pretty weird situation where I can't really hope that western auditory will at least try my game out before throwing it in a trash, and VN community in Russia is still a very small niche which no one really knows about, so I can't really count on that either.

So the question is, what will turn you off from Russian visual novel, and what will make you to give it a chance? I myself imagine that the main turn off factor will be non-Japaneesenes of the game, the second one is slavjunk reputation and the third one is probably translation quality. As for "turn on" factors, I can't really image any except for boobs and asses.

This questions with some variations were already discussed hundreds of times, but I think that everything is constantly changing in VN community and it'll be interesting to hear some fresh opinions once more.Last modified on 2021-02-06 at 10:56
#2 by fazz321
2021-02-06 at 10:55
< report >Edit: Sorry added one more option to the poll. Before that there was 1 for not buying at all, and 3 for buying if it exceptionally interesting.Last modified on 2021-02-06 at 10:58
#3 by tomm01p
2021-02-06 at 11:21
< report >
I myself imagine that the main turn off factor will be non-Japaneesenes of the game

Not this for me. The main problem most non-Japanese VNs have is that their developers try to imitate Japanese visual novels too much, from school settings to names to character behavior. The problem with that is, the writers' only understanding of these things usually comes from other visual novels, which often results in the Vns being a cliche-ridden cringe-fests of popular archetypes written by people who don't fully understand how to make them work - see, any VN from studio Pixelfade.

Look at something like Highway Blossoms, Heart of the Woods or even National Park Girls. Western titles that, while they still do keep the classic anime stylization and have certain trends seen in Japanese games, mostly manage to have a personality of their own. The characters have traits you wouldn't be able to see in Japanese VNs because of cultural differences, the stories are more down to earth and human, the writers use settings they themselves are familiar with (example: certain states in USA), which makes them much more fleshed out than if they just forced the characters into a Japanese high school.

So do your own thing, don't just try to capitalize and imitate the same formulas Japanese writers do. Fill your Vn with things unique to Russia and use things you're comfortable with writing, because that's what will make it unique. If you'll do a good job with that, the word will get around. As for other things, yes translation quality is very high on the list. And the VN either has to have an interesting idea, or be of very high quality. Ideally you'd have both, but a classic SoL or romantic story can still be worthwhile if it's written very well. I would look at it as any other visual novel, means if it interests me, I'll buy it.

EDIT: I just realized you maybe meant Japanese as a language in the sentence I quoted, not things found in Japanese games, which is what I thought. If that's the case then sorry for the misunderstanding, but I'll leave this up just in case, I think it's important to note anyways.Last modified on 2021-02-06 at 11:28
#4 by ffthewinner
2021-02-06 at 12:57
< report >Since you have some hurdles to overcome, you should focus on a few things. First and foremost, the story should be really strong. This is a VN, so unless it is a nukige stories matter a lot. Second, The art style can be your own style instead of the traditional anime artstyle, but it still needs to be appealing and not look amateurish. Third, if you intend to sell it you will need to try to promote it a lot using review copies and the like to get the word out and the ball rolling.Last modified on 2021-02-06 at 21:06
#5 by butterflygrrl
2021-02-06 at 14:12
< report >The poor writing/translation quality that I have encountered in many Russian-written games is my main turnoff. If the text looks good I don't care at all who wrote it.

I've played some Russian-written games that were entertaining enough for me to complete, but the English text was still bad enough that if I hadn't gotten the games super cheap or free I wouldn't have touched them.

I've seen several Russian games with interesting art at least.
#6 by hansfranz77
2021-02-06 at 15:04
< report >It's pretty much the same thing as with chinese games, imo. If the tl quality is good and it doesn't read like it came out of a MTL plugin i do not see a reason why not.
#7 by yunari13
2021-02-06 at 15:08
< report >Hi there! As someone who's Russian, I think our "vn industry" is more miss than hit. There are a few reasons I think this way:
1) rarely do I see someone making vn with some kind of writing and/or artistic talent
2) 99% of Russian devs don't have enough of a budget, so the vns tend to be very simple and forgettable
3) the target demographic are usually Russian players only, and those are (in)famous for consuming and mindlessly praising anything made by fellow Russians(see: anivisual(dot)net userbase).
I know some of those points might sound unfair(especially point 3), but I'm talking from my own POV here. As you might know, the most popular Russian vns to this day are Everlasting Summer and recently released Moe Era. ES is very avarage in terms of everything, but it gained popularity due to being free and released during the time where there weren't many vns on Steam. ME was bleh too, but it's free as well and has a clickbait-y title.
There's also Guilty Parade(another recent release), which isn't free unlike ES and ME, so predictably isn't as popular. Unlike the other titles, however, it had very questionable English translation that turned many people off. As a game, I personally didn't find it very interesting either. It's also episodic, so if devs abandon it, it'll be incomplete forever.
Those 3 games are just examples, but they're the only ones I could think are popular enough to find an English fanbase. None of them are particulary strong titles in terms of writing or art(GP at least had an interesting premise) and don't really stand out when compared to Japanese or even English titles.
So my advice to you: concentrate on writing and visual aspect first and foremost, and if you can afford it, add some kind of interesting mechanic or "trait" to your vn. Even if your work will be short(1-2 hrs long), it will at least stand out thanks to those things alone.
#8 by ffthewinner
2021-02-06 at 21:18
< report >^Just took a look at the 3 titles you mentioned and honestly, The first two felt like they were trying and failing to copy the style and look of Japanese VNs. Guilty Parade is the only one that felt like a title that could stand on its own. It does have some engrish, but (from the screenshots at least) its engrish doesn't seem bad enough to ruin it. Your point about it being episodic is indeed an issue though, especially considering that it took them a year and a half to release chapter 2.Last modified on 2021-02-06 at 21:18
#9 by trashfanboy
2021-02-06 at 22:47
< report >> So the question is, what will turn you off from Russian visual novel, and what will make you to give it a chance?

1. The story has to pass my "care about it in one hour" test. In other words, after reading your story for an hour, I should be concerned about the main characters and their fictional world.

2. The premise should not seem like a hand-me-down version of your favorite seinen or josei demographic series. There's a lot more fiction to experience outside of mainstream manga published during the last three or four decades. Think about other entertainment that you like, no matter how it's categorized. Take inspiration from prose fiction, stage plays, movies, and anything else.

3. Distinct art helps. I bought Monster Prom and LongStory, partly because I enjoyed their cartoon illustrations. I also purchased Cinders and Across the Grooves, though I only sorta liked their borderline photorealistic art. That said, I like how their illustrations help establish a tone.
#10 by poudink
2021-02-06 at 23:17
< report >I think visual novels shouldn't try too hard to feel japanese. As long as the story and writing is good, I won't mind playing it.
#11 by mutsuki
2021-02-07 at 01:08
< report >My big beef with non-English non-Japanese visual novels is that I can't get a feel for how good the translation is because I don't know any of the source language. That and usually all VNs made outside of Japan (excluding some chinese and korean ones) kinda look dodgy in the graphics front (i'm also not a fan of the creepy 3d english ones seem to be going for) so I'd rather stick to my moeblob.
#12 by fazz321
2021-02-07 at 07:28
< report >Well, I never actually intended to make my question centered on me or my project, but I assume I'm failed.


you maybe meant Japanese as a language

Yep, I meant OJLVN from Japan. Sorry if I was not precise with my wording.

I'll agree that weabooism is a bad taste. My personal inspiration sources are mostly of non-VN origin: classical Russian literature, JVNs soundtrack and old movies. But I do believe that my goal as a Russian creator is to adapt the VN reading experience for Russian audience. I think that, if my reader will get the same experience as japanese reader get when he reading a japanese VN, I'll reach my goal as a creator. That's why I try to keep traditions intact by using modern Russian school as a setting, writing a story with romantic relationships and using bold plot twists. Western audience is just an afterthought, but paradoxically I think that this kind of negligence is what make my game more interesting for that same western audience.


I don't really agree that artstyle can be of non-anime variety, just because I successfully read quite a lot of visual novels with low quality anime art (some doujin games for example), but reading cartoonish or realisticly drawn visual novel is an exception among exceptions for me. Dunno, maybe it's just me.

I do agree that publicity is important. I think that at some point I'll need to create some spreadsheet so that I could keep track of people I send my promo keys. I also thinking of putting some money to make a good OP, because it basicaly a trailer/hook for the game.

As for my story, I don't think that it's my place to judge. I'll try my best. x)


The poor writing/translation quality

Yup, even hiring "a professional" will not guarantee a good outcome. Most of translator companies in Russia are working with translating documents and mail, not fiction, so their translation become stiff and at times non adequate. That is a big problem actually, but there is no way to solve it other than spending a lot of money and trying out a lot of translators before you found a good one.


Hello, fellow comrade.

1) Talent is a lie, there is nothing but knowledge and effort in art.
2) Well, yeah, money is a problem, but it can be easily solved — all you need is work. I actually saving some money so that I could hire some people (editor, music producer (for OP and ED songs) and translator).
3) I think, that there is nothing wrong with making Russian readers your target audience, but I do agree that most of Russian VN reader have a bad taste. Can't fix that though.


Those are "the popular" ones, this are the good ones: Alyj Sharf, Big Dipper, Zajchik. I think it's a peak RuVN quality right now, even if it's not perfect by any stretch.


1. I like to think that a story should make reader interested in about five to ten minutes, but I still need somehow convince him to start reading it, and that is a problem I'm facing. But I think you are already somewat ansewered that question in your second point.

3. The art is a hard one. All my abandoned project were abandoned because of artist leaving (my fault actually, but that is not the point here), and It's a bit too pricey to hire a professional one. So I gave up on artists and spent 3 years learning how to draw on my own. I'm not that good at it so the best I can hope is some doujin game art quality. Fine by me, but I can imagine that it'll turnoff some people.Last modified on 2021-02-07 at 07:42
#13 by kratoscar2008
2021-02-07 at 07:49
< report >Just let me name the protagonist in the game and I'm in.
Except if it's one of those 3D abominations.
As for buying that will depend on pricing.
Maybe post some art, I dont mind average art so long as it has style.Last modified on 2021-02-07 at 07:51
#14 by zakashi
2021-02-07 at 15:28
< report >For me, it's not really a turn-off, but a preference to anime-like artstyle, so VNs with art like that pick up my interest easier.

And also, I'm already accostumed to Japanese voice acting, and am trying to lern the language, so I have a preference for that.

That's about it, artstyle and voice acting, that's why Katawa Shoujo might be interesting for me, there's no voice acting, so I do not feel "strange". But I might give it a try, when I started watching anime I could not stand the voice acting so I looked around for anime dubbed in Portuguese, but since they're almost non-existent I had to listen in Japanese. After some time I got used to it, and now I prefer hearing in Japanese rather than my mother language.
#15 by ninius
2021-02-07 at 17:20
< report >I don't care where the novel is from, as long as the translation is good quality then I might buy and read it if the story sounds interesting.
#16 by lucumo
2021-02-07 at 17:22
< report >Don't think I have played any Russian VNs since I generally don't play non-Japanese ones. I wouldn't mind them but typicallly they are the horrible 3D ones or bad copies of the bad Japanese artstyle (I highly prefer the pre-Windows era, followed by the early Windows era). In addition, the writing is usually bad and there is often a lack of polish.

So for me to be interested, the Russian VN would have to have decent writing, a good translation and art that I like or is acceptable (would have to see it first to judge). A modern Russian school as a setting would be a negative for me (school settings are meh in general but the Japanese have a special connection which isn't really the case in other countries, so at least there it makes some sense). There would be nothing wrong with the main character moving into the city or the countryside for reason X and getting to know new people there. Of course, avoiding bland stereotypes would be good. Japanese like their tsundere, yandere, whatever nonsense but personally, I prefer something realistic with actual depth. But obviously, such a thing is rather rare. Meh.
Ah, also, if you want to sell it, don't limit yourself to shitty DRM-stores like Steam but also offer it on something like DLSite.

/edit: Just looked through some Russian VNs regarding the art...and man, too much furry/yaoi/otome stuff in there...

Personally, I think something like this is ok: link (the general style, not exactly the characters themselves) or link (wouldn't exactly call the characters "pretty" though). If it has to be more Japanese-like, some uniqueness would be good like here link or even somewhat link (some female characters actually seem to cut their fingernails properly, unlike the normal, dirty Japanese ones and there are some other minor differences (there is a random Edward in there for some reason too)). This link would be too much of the "bad Japanese copy" for me.Last modified on 2021-02-07 at 17:45


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