Recently Dharker Studio released a game with the biggest budget we have ever had... Galaxy Girls. This game and perhaps some of our decisions with Negligee has led to a small minority of loudly shouting people criticising our choices, and so we felt it was time to address some of those concerns with our plans as we move forward into 2018...
We are not above saying that perhaps mistakes were made in the development of this game, whilst the game still holds a 60% positive rating on steam, we had hoped for better on release though we had not expected the backlash from the inclusion of DLC content for the game.
DLC Content Explained
One of the big comments we currently get is why Galaxy Girls is a cash grab, firstly game development, production and sale of games is all a cash grab, we are a business and whilst yes we want to make interesting and colourful content, we do also need to think about the bottom line.
Now to explain the DLC, during the kickstarter we did well, so well that we promised five DLC packs for the game, now at the time we felt this was reasonable, however as time went on the costs to develop Galaxy Girls spiralled higher and higher. Making the DLC now an expensive proposition to include. However we have always done our best to keep all promises made to those who back our campaigns and thus fund the development of the games so we pushed on ahead.
The DLC is extra stories. The game was literally designed by the original Blossoms Bloom Brightest Writer and only after that entire story was completed did we then ask them to write bonus stories. These extra stories are not meant to be part of the main story in any way. They are bonuses only and yes we took suggestions and ideas from our kickstarter backers who helped fund the game to make these stories. This seems to anger people who are now playing them, but I feel the people who helped us fund development should have a say in these decisions, since without them everyone else wouldn't be playing this game in the first place.
So ultimately what I am trying to say is this. We promised DLC content to kickstarter backers, we do not believe in making exclusive kickstarter only content, so we made the release of these DLC public. However work did not go into these stories until after the main game was finished, hence why they are not part of the main game and are released afterwards.
Season Pass - Why?
In the past Steam have always allowed us to create a second store format for the Deluxe Edition, however due to recent changes on Steam this is no longer allowed, instead to create Deluxe editions we have to make a Bundle for that purpose.
However a bundle only includes released games and DLC it cannot include unreleased DLC, we wanted the Deluxe edition to include all of the DLC and so Steam advised us to create a Season Pass DLC pack that includes all of the DLC, release that on day 1 of release and then include that in the Deluxe Edition bundle.
This created two issues, one for our Kickstarter backers and one for those looking to criticise our choices. The latter of the two took this to be another way of us being 'cash grabbing' when in fact all we wanted to do is give those who wanted all of the DLC a greater discount on the games price by buying a deluxe edition. For the former it meant they did not get the few days of early access to the DLC content. This is because we had already sent keys to the main backers for the main DLC packs and if we gave them the season pass as well, it would cause conflicts in the game as they would have multiple duplicate files in the game directory, which would not be good. So our hands were tied in that regard, we of course are sorry, but ultimately they only lose out on 2-4 days of early access to each DLC so we hope that is not to upsetting for them.
Content Decisions & Difficulty
Looking back on it now, I and the writer agree the game was too hard on initial release, though sadly this never came up in the beta testing, and our steam stats showed that over 180 people played the game for over 4 hours each in our beta testing phase. These people all reported bugs to us that we fixed, but no-one reported that the games difficulty was too high. We trusted that test and so yes to us when those reviews came in it was a surprise.
Of course we worked to resolve and fix this issue as soon as we realised adding into two features to make the game easier.
1. A easy mode
2. A choice
The second was the key to making the game easier and also more direct for players to understand, the choice comes at a key point, in the original version, the game used a mathematical algorithm to determine based on choices made throughout what ending you had and upon looking at it, it was skewed a little towards the bad endings. We removed this and added a choice so that the player could choose any route he had unlocked rather than being forced along a specific route. Easy mode simply made it easier to unlock different routes.
As noted above the DLC stories have been decided mostly based on feedback from the original kickstarter backers and we will continue to focus most of our energies towards making sure our backers are happy, this is because put simply, they decide the budget and style of our games, whilst we may suggest our own ideas in the kickstarter, it is the success of these campaigns that determines the final content.
Negligee: Love Stories
This final comment content brings us round to the content of Negligee: Love Stories. We have had again some criticism that we have chosen to include Het content in the Negligee follow up game, however again we feel this is suitable.
First let me address one thing... We do not decide to make a game yuri, het, both, otaku, or whatever on a whim, or as a cash grab, or to appeal to fetishes or anything like that. We create a story, then based on that story and the characters of that story we determine if it will be yuri or not.
Yuri Content, DLC or not DLC
The Negligee game idea was created by me in its entirety and the script was then written by Kayzda who has written for me for a long time now, and will continue to do so. Please note that Kayzda did not write Galaxy Girls. As Galaxy Girls was written and developed by the same person who created the original Blossoms Bloom Brightest game. I only say this to ensure that people do not think Kayzda didnt do as well in one game or another. Kayzda and Jackie both work hard in every game and I am happy and confident with their abilities, so much so that both are as far as I am concerned permanent members of the Dharker Studio team.
With that pointed out, Negligee's story was initially a het game, with a male protagonist managing the store... But over time as we developed it, we felt this story simply did not work so we changed the protagonist to female and the game from then on focused on Yuri content. This was obviously the right decision as the game was our biggest success both commercially and critically.
The point here is that we designed the game first and from that we realised it worked best as a Yuri game, the 'sexual' aspects were secondary to the actual story we were sculpting.
With history completed we then worked on ideas for additional stories for Negligee, the first story we initially considered for DLC but as it was written and outlined we realised it wouldn't work as DLC for two reasons.
1. The stories naturally included Het content, rather than pure yuri.
This is because the stories focused on the girls past before they went to the Negligee Store.
- Sophie, as noted in the original, was a crazy promiscuous woman who was interested in men and women, as such her story sees her having sex with men during college, leading towards her hitting bottom.
- Charlotte, was the 'innocent' of the group of girls, but it was clear to us something must have happened for her to realise she was only interested in women. We felt the best way was for her to have a boyfriend, in her story she initially struggles with the fact she does not want to be with her loving and very nice boyfriend and is perhaps more sexually excited by her female best friend.
- Karen, was shown to have run away with another man, having left her husband again her story would show this in more detail, show the abuses she endured with her husband that led to her choosing to run off with another man.
- Jasmin, was the 'sex' worker, though it was seriously toned down in the original Negligee, Jasmins story was going to show how she decided to leave her original life as a stripper behind and why, as she explores the adult industry.
In all of these stories Het content would be included (except perhaps in Charlottes, where it will not be included anymore - again as we felt it doesnt suit her character to proceed with actual sex with a man in the end but instead to reject him) so they are not suitable for DLC of the main yuri-only game.
The second reason was because the stories were both individually and collectively getting too large to simply be DLC, even with the original success of Negligee we could not afford to release these as DLC which was for us an untested market. Since then with the failure and backlash surrounding Galaxy Girls DLC I feel we made the right decision in turning these stories into a complete Stand Alone Game.
Store Page Discrepancies - Pressure on Yuri
So a little while ago we had a huge backlash from ignorant people on Steam complaining about our plans for Negligee: Love Stories. All of these people were ill-informed and were just assuming the worst. in truth I think they were simply haters that were looking for something to complain about.
The problem was they started posting everywhere and complaining about everything, so much so that for a short time I considered bowing to this pressure and changing the stories we had planned to be purely Yuri. To that end I adjusted the games store page based on some pure-yuri ideas and began discussing re-writing the scripts we had already completed with our writer to change them in this way. I even posted an update to kickstarter about such a possibility.
Please bare in mind at this point in time, Negligee: Love Stories Kickstarter had already completed and was fully funded for development, also we had pitched the ideas above which included the het content, which was a bit of a slap in the face to many of the backers, who had backed it wanting the het content and seeing the characters suitable past stories.
The store page was prototyped and accidentally published. We had not meant to publish the changes, only prototype them for feedback from our backers. This is why the store pages changed over a short period of time to yuri only and then back again. Essentially we realised we accidentally published it and then reverted it back to the correct format.
During that period of time discussions with the writer made it clear some of the stories would not work as yuri which would mean complete re-writes, also those stories would then conflict with what occured in the original game and the information it provided. Which meant the games would no longer be stories of the past but would have to be written as stories set after the original game. And then if we were going to do that it might as well be a pure sequel. We even considered releasing four games instead of one, giving each character a full game of its own to go into detail of their story.
Ultimately we realised that none of this would be suitable, and we were making our decision based on essentially peer pressure, only instead of pressure from our peers it was pressure from a small minority of ignorant people who do not care about our plans/opinions or ideas they just want what they want whatever. they want only yuri content, they want only het content, they want only a certain fetish or they want a game to be free. they want all of this but are unwilling to actually support a game, they throw stones instead of support.
Whereas conversely our kickstarter backers have done nothing but support us, they have seen some failures from us, some bad games, some average games and some amazing games. Not every game can be a hit and they have accepted this and continued supporting us regardless. Also this is not about the money, it is about constructive support, criticism and belief. Though obviously the kickstarter supporters are helping to fund the game, some of them do so with just £1, others go far beyond, but whatever the amount the point is they see what we want to make and try to support it either financially or just with feedback and ideas. They dont sit on the edge and simply complain that they dont get their own way.
So we decided yes we would mainly focus on our kickstarter supporters when it comes to develop games for several reasons, but our two main reasons I state below.
1. We pitched a game idea, which was successful.
With that in mind it would be wrong to change the game in anyway beyond what must be changed, to make the game work. So minor adjustments to Charlottes story to make it Yuri only are fine, but major adjustments to the others are not fine. Thus Negligee: Love Stories will contain mixed adult content het and yuri as appropriate.
2. The game is being developed because of kickstarter.
Had the kickstarter been unsuccessful, this games development would not have continued, or a significantly smaller version of it would be made instead, and yes it might have even become simply DLC. Ultimately it is there wishes we must abide by and when we announced the possibility of change, they were against it. Which is really all that matters.
Whilst it is unlikely we have answered every critisicm of late, we hope this explains some of them, to those who care.
Sorry comments have now been deactivated as we have had several posts from different people (which all co-incidentally had the same ip address), who all posted hateful posts and didn't read this article or simply called us liars without any basis for their accusations.
Those few who cannot have a civil and constructive discussion have spoiled it for everyone.
However thank you all for your comments, we got a lot of good responses from people who now understand why we made these decisions, and as we say the choice ultimately is up to you, if you do not like a game then do not purchase it. But posting hate and making up lies or twisting our words is simply unfair and not helpful to anyone. We will continue to make games and those of you who wish to can continue to enjoy them.