ESR : The state of the game

December 17th, 2013 by IcedFairy

This update is somewhat late, so the first thing I want to state is we haven’t given up on the project. It’s still moving along, and while we’ve had our problems with jobs and other real life events slowing things down, we’re still doing our best to finish things. So you don’t need to panic about us quitting.

When we started making ESR we had six writers and four artists. Most of us were in college. Now we have one artist and two writers, and all of us are doing various work. The change has slowed us a great deal. Now that we’re all settling into our lives we’re getting a lot more actual writing done. I personally am trying to get 15000 words a month into ESR and LT is keeping apace despite his schedule. Still we can’t keep up the same level of writing we used to, much less meet what we’d originally planned.

To be fair, our original plans were terribly unrealistic. We wanted six plots with ten endings, AND four subplots on top of that, in a open enviroment where players could interact with characters in any order. That didn’t work even with our original team, so we cut down the script and made it less open ended.

Now that we’re here near the end with so much more to go before our script pieces become a game, it’s obvious that our cuts just weren’t enough. So while it’s painful, we’re going to take a knife to a lot of our original ideas, including some of the ones that appeared in the demos.

So what’s on the cutting room floor? Probably the entire Youmu subplot. It just didn’t fit well, and honestly many other doujin writers have done it better. We also had a ridiculously complex finale for the Gensoukyo 5 planned out… and I’m sure Graph will be happy that we’re making it less insane. The Harem route is dead. Sorry. And I expect a lot of unneeded detail work is going to get sliced away.

On the other hand our drive to keep moving is also giving us some new ideas we’re looking forward to writing down. Getting events to chain nicely into each other is something of an art, and we’re putting what we learned on the project earlier to good use in that field.

Hopefully out of this massacre and rebirth of ideas we can get a set of good solid endings that we can use to transform our game from a lot of scripts into a game that you’ll all enjoy. When will that be? Given how far 15000 words goes in our endings, I’m not sure I can give a good estimate still. Especially since we’re still considering what should be cut for brevity and what we need to keep the game amusing and consistent. I know that’s not really inspiring, but it’s the best I can give.

Graph’s still going to be putting out Touhou Mecha, which you all should read, and we’re going to keep working away at this project. I admit to being tempted to quit, but the good friends I have on the dev team keep bringing me back. I’m sure all our staff feel the same way. We’re gonna keep scripting words, and hopefully someday soon we’ll have more upbeat news to give.

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24 Responses to “ESR : The state of the game”

  1. Sagus says:

    I’m glad you’re all still working on this project. It was this game that really got me into Touhou in the first place, and to this day I still enjoy replaying the demo from time to time, since it’s so weel written. Congratulations on what you all have done so far, and congratulations on persevering despite the difficulties! I’m sure the final product will be incredible!

  2. Hunter says:

    Good feelings all around for this to still being worked on. I’ll wait as long as it takes to reach the finished product and i know it’ll be awesome!

  3. Ankoku says:

    It’s sad the project had to get cut down. You’ve all done a great job, though. Both the serious parts and the comedic parts were really great, so I’m sure the final product will be awesome. Keep up the good work and be sure I will be waiting for the game.

  4. 28JFJ says:

    Nice to see this project isn’t dead. I wasn’t aware making a visual novel was this hard…
    Side note, is the secret girl route still there or is that part of the cuts?

    Anyhow, best wishes to you all! Take as long as needs be for the finish of this great project

  5. Opalord says:

    Oh hay, news. Nice to see this is still happening, good luck powering through

  6. Yamato says:

    It’s always sad to see content get cut mid-production, but it has to be done sometimes. Will you be giving us another update when you figure out what all is and isn’t being cut?

    Either way, looking forward to the eventual completion of this and Touhou Mecha! Keep up the good work!

  7. Raineh says:

    Sad to see things going, but I honestly can’t say that I feel too keenly about what, precisely, you’ve stated to have cut out. But good to see it’s ongoing!

  8. MasterAaron92 says:

    Being a Youmu fanboy, it’s a shame to see her subplot go but I’m sure I’ll be able to endure. So happy to hear you haven’t given up, good luck

  9. 3nactiVe says:

    ohh god im glad you still working on the project
    this got me in to touhou plz dont give up

  10. Misty says:

    I’m really really glad to see that the ESR is still alive – I think it’s one of the best EVNs out there! You didn’t cut out anything I was particularly attached to, and I’d much rather stuff be cut than the project die completely – so respect for making that decision and for still working on it! I’m looking forward to the finished product, no matter when it comes out!

  11. jbsnv says:

    honestly, as long as you guys keep giving updates ( preferably monthly or weekly ) you can take as long as you like on the project, why cut parts out when you can keep it full. just let us know what the hell you are doing. its not our fault we love the demo you came out with :p

  12. Aposke says:

    Man, I almost forgot about this project. I’m sad to hear how the team got decimated over time, though. Is Mixtape still with you?

  13. Graph says:

    Yes, Mixtape is still with us. There’s not much more music to compose until the script gets further along, but he still helps us out with the blog and forums.

    I should mention that when Iced said some of the staff has left, most of that happened very early in the project, before we really came to appreciate how much work goes into making a large VN like ESR. I’m pretty confident in saying that the core team will be staying until the end! (And as the remaining artist in question, I’d better be confident about that!)

  14. Mixtape says:

    Yeah, still around. I’ve been busy with university and with other music projects. I kinda stumbled into becoming the lead composer/arranger for a stage group (musicals) two years in a row, so that’s why the youtube channel kinda died.

    But yeah, what Graph said is correct, the soundtrack is almost done. There are a few songs that haven’t been in the demos if I remember correctly, and there’s a handful of themes left to make, but it’s really mainly up to the writers now. They’re doing hard work, and I thank them for it.

  15. The D says:

    Guys? Hey guys! You guys still alive? Any info would be appreciated. Even a demo would be nice, just update, okay?

  16. The D says:

    Seriously, i’m starting to believe you guys are dead.

  17. Jimmy Russel says:

    A shame that Harem route got cut ;_;

  18. Princess says:

    Hello, I log on to your new stuff on a regular basis.
    Your writing style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing!

    https://vimeo.com/86904146

  19. Dawn Over A Lilly says:

    I would like to see at least the monthly update but you missed out on last month and are getting close to the end of this one. Little worried to say the least >.< Also it’s a bit late but congratulations on getting best fanwork and to SleepKirby. To be honest I am personally a big fan of TM but that’s mostly because I just really dislike Mecha in general, but still went through it. ^.^

  20. Chronopolis says:

    Pruning ideas is good! Get more in touch with exactly what is the story you want to tell. Keep at it, I’m cheering for you guys!

  21. Mech says:

    I just read both chapters and am still heavily impressed by your game, so here is what I can say:
    You say: “We wanted six plots with ten endings, AND four subplots on top of that, in a open enviroment where players could interact with characters in any order.”
    If all of this was cut out, I can barely express my feelings: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-
    “Probably the entire Youmu subplot.” – I’m not that big fan of Youmu to be frustrated about it, but anyway, one more FU-)
    I understand your difficulties, but I ask you to not abandon all those ideas to keep them for further development, even if it will take months and years.

  22. jamesfelicia says:

    Keep going at this project, don’t rush though, you can complete this in 2 years from now and I’m sure all of us would continue waiting.

  23. Nailus says:

    Even it still demo2 in release, it was very interesting and funny visual novel of Touhou I ever seen.

    It’s sad to hear that some stuff will be cut.

    I know game developing is very difficult process, by myself.
    It’s awesome to see people who wan’t drop things until the project will be finished, despite of life’s difficulties. You lost some people from your team, but more important thing, that should remember – you STILL the team, you have your common goal, and you will do your best.
    That’s what I believe in you.

    I’ll wait for continuation of this story as long as needed.

    My respects to you.

    P.S Sorry for my bad English. Greetings from Russia =)

  24. aldened says:

    Great info. Lucky me I recently found your site by chancce (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved it for later!

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