First of all, and to tell the truth, we're all very excited and very anxious regarding the release: it's the result of two years worth of effort that we are finally presenting to the world. But we believe that you, readers, should be the only ones deciding whether our work is something that will stay as a memorable story or not. We've done pretty much all we could to ensure that Lucid9 would be of the best quality possible, and we don't have any regrets regarding that.
Whether you've followed our project for a while, or whether you've just stumbled upon it a while ago through one of our numerous announcements (by the way, big thanks to Sekai Project for helping us spreading the awareness about Lucid9), I believe it would probably be a good idea to summarize all the stuff you should know about tomorrow's release. I'm most likely only going to repeat stuff that was already said, but I want to avoid people starting to read Inciting Incident with false expectations. And maybe you'll be able to appreciate our work even more by knowing our circumstances?
Things you should know about the game in general:
- Tomorrow's release is the first part of Lucid9's story. I guess you could consider that Lucid9 is somehow episodic. If you're more familiar with how VNs work, Inciting Incident can identify as a common route, though unlike most VNs, this common route has a self-contained story and is actually plot driven. The next release (which should be a patch to the current release) should continue directly onto the different heroine routes, though we're still a long way to go.
- Inciting Incident is free, and the entirety of Lucid9 will be free as well. Though I can't swear that I'm a hundred percent sure it'll stay that way. The chances remain very high still, it's just that if it happens that going commercial is the only way to lead Lucid9 to completion, we might consider it.
- The voice acting patch is scheduled for 2017. We've been repeating that everywhere, but just to make sure, recording the lines of the voice actors is a lengthy process, especially when considering that all the voice actors are doing it for free as well, we can't expect them to put the recording sessions as one of their priority, which is only natural. Currently, nearly all of the lines for the first in game day has been recorded. We'll make sure to share progress regularly with you about that.
Things you should know about the team:
- The creation of Lucid9 so far has been achieved with a $0 budget. While we're not exactly bragging about it (maybe a little), it's more of a reminder so that you can set up your expectations more accurately, and understand better our limitations. Basically, we have to work with what we have, and the people who agreed to offer their skills for our project. Beggars can't be choosers after all. Though I'm not one bit dissatisfied with how the end result turned out, and tons of people with amazing skills joined us in order to create a memorable and enjoyable game.
- We are all hobbyists working on Lucid9 in our free time. Which ties in directly with the previous point: for such a large scale game, we had to compensate our lack of available time involvement by more manpower. Which in turns can cause some slight issues, mainly some inconsistencies. Inconsistencies in art (male and female sprites), music, writing (though that won't be the case for Inciting Incident, since there was only one writer for 95% of the writing). Some people will argue that we could just have made a less ambitious game, shorter, with less characters, so that it could have required less assets. But to be honest, that's not what we wanted to do. And I believe that precisely because we were ambitious that we managed to interest and gather so many skilled people around us (though there's also luck factoring in the equation).
Things you should know about the story:
- Inciting Incident will be mostly linear. Still, the choices that you'll make can lead you to a bad ending. Those bad endings are quite interesting, and we'd recommend you to try reading one or two.
- You'll have lot of in game choices, but since we didn't want to make the process too tedious for the reader, most of the mystery related sections are forgiving and the choices are set up in a way so that you never get stuck (except for two special instances that we'll let you discover yourself). Some of the choices are more important, as stated previously there are some moments where making a bad decision (or a series of bad decisions) will lead you to a bad end.
- You'll be able to unlock in-game achievements: we hope that it will give some replay value to the game, though we made sure that the achievements wouldn't be too tedious and wouldn't require 10 different playthroughs to complete. We're not really fans of completion achievements, so you'll nearly only find choice related achievements, which ties in with the choice system we opted for in the mystery segments: you'll be rewarded with achievements if you don't end up picking the wrong choices during the investigations (and here is an additional challenge from us, try to earn those achievements on your first playthrough!)
- It has a Japanese setting. And we know that it will probably annoy a lot of people, and even probably instantly repulse some others. "Why not go for something more original?" some people often ask. Well, mostly because at the time, we wanted to make something that takes place in (fictional) Japan. And at the time (though it's still true now), what mattered wasn't what our possible audience would want to read, but what we wanted to do. And the more we progressed with our story conception, the more bothersome and difficult it became to change the setting, so naturally we never really questioned it. I won't deny that us being influenced by Japanese VNs played a big role in deciding the setting. But in the end, a setting is only a setting. At the end of the day, it's only a location, a language, a currency, and maybe a slightly different social system. Lucid9 could have happened pretty much anywhere without many big differences, though if I was given the chance to remake this choice, I'd probably think twice. But if some people want to judge our work and dismiss it solely based on the setting and without actually trying out the actual content, it'll be their loss I guess, they will just forbid themselves to experience our story because of their narrow-mindedness.
Pfew, that was quite the wall... Let's take a break, shall we?
For the last section of this blog post, I'd like to write some special thanks to the whole team who made Lucid9 became a reality. Everyone has been working very hard, executing and following all the different requests I had. As a leader, I'm very lucky to be surrounded by such skilled and amazing people who work like me everyday to make our dream come true. I can't thank you all enough for believing in the future of this project, and I hope we'll all be able to lead Lucid9 to its completion.
There are two people I really want to thank in particular in regard to the colossal amount of work they dedicated for the release of Inciting Incident:
- Luna Chai Li, who is the main writer of this release, and who directed Inciting Incident with me for nearly two years. She's been one of the most important member of the past two years, and her contribution to the game can be seen nearly everywhere. She is also probably the person who dedicated the most amount of time working on Lucid9, writing for it nearly daily in order to reach the nearly 200k words that is Inciting Incident (without even counting the numerous rewriting she had to do). Unfortunately, even good things must come to an end, and she had to leave the team for her own reasons a few weeks ago after finishing her part on Inciting Incident. Without her, Inciting Incident wouldn't have been even half as amazing as what it is now. I dare say that maybe it would have never gone to fruition without her, and probably would have gone into development hell. If you have one person to thank after reading tomorrow's release, it's undoubtedly her.
- TheCodeCat, our main programmer, who gave life to our project in the form of a concrete Visual Novel on ren'py. Not only did he put an absurd amount of time into converting the script and all the assets into a real game, he also gave an extraordinary amount of care to the details. Every time we had an idea or something we wanted to implement in the game, he would always do it in a flawless way. Not once would he reply "It's too complex", or "I don't have the time". Even better, he'd always go out of his way to implement some amazing animations that we didn't necessarily ask for, making sure that the scenes were as good looking as possible, and that the screen would remain as dynamic as it could. His work really granted a high production value to Inciting Incident.
That concludes this long pre-release post.
We hope you'll enjoy reading Inciting Incident tomorrow as much as we enjoyed creating it!