Comparing the Visual Direction of Tsukihime VS Mahoyo

The classic April Fool’s joke as old as time is now our realityโ€”here in the West we’re finally able to play not only Tsukihime officially in English but also Witch on the Holy Night (Mahoyo). It’s a dream come true for many visual novel fans to not only have one Type-Moon visual novel officially released in English, but for multiple to be available after years of pleading.

The version of Tsukihime you can now buy from Walmart is the recent 2021 remake of the original game, removing the erotic content and updating the artwork and story, making it feel fresh again. But this remake wouldn’t exist in the capacity it does now without the prior work, Mahoyo. Today, I want to look at the visual direction similarities and differences between these 2 stunningly cinematic visual novels.

This will be a mostly spoiler-free article, but I will be talking about the general premise of both stories. If you’re a fan of modern fantasy stories with magic and such, try them both out! You can even play Mahoyo on Steam.

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How to Sell Visual Novels at Conventions

Or, “how do you table at an anime convention and actually get people to stop by your booth and actually get interested in visual novels????”

Picture this – me, someone who’s never been to California nor flown alone arrived to the Hyatt at the San Francisco Bay, being greeted by several online friends I’d known for years but never met in person. After a great time walking around the surrounding Burlingame area and meeting back up with the rest of our group, we had to actually put in some work for the day.

That is, setting up our booth for the convention starting the next day.

We unpacked box after box, taking turns standing around with our hands on our hips and heads tilted wondering “how the hell are we going to set all of this up?”. I decided to make it my job to set up our keychain display. All I had to do was get a copy of each keychain we had and pin them up – we even had a box from prior conventions that had a single copy of (most) of our keychains, for displaying. But as I opened more boxes, I found more and more keychains…

After threatening to change the password on their Vograce account, I found we had 10+ boxes of merchandise for niche visual novels that we were trying to sell at a vtuber convention. Not an anime convention, not a gaming convention, a vtuber convention! Going to bed that night, already tired, I was sure there was no way we would make a profit…..

…And yet, we made more on Friday than they had for the entire convention in 2023. By Sunday, we had made more than double that, having sold items to over 100 customers with most purchases around $40 each. We weren’t selling fanart, we were selling a majority completely original art.

We lived the dream of a lot of indie developers – we sold physicals of our indie games and people bought them. But how did we do it??

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Developer Interview โ€” Marketing A Date with Death

6 months ago, a brand new self-insert romance visual novel hit the market called A Date with Death, created by visual novel veterans Two and a Half Studios. Coming off of the success of The Divine Speaker, they dived into the chat sim space in visual novels with a huge splash. A Date with Death is currently sitting at over 5,000 positive reviews on Steam with a Kickstarter for an after story launching this week.

Today I’ll be talking to Gabby, the lead developer at Two and a Half Studios about designing and marketing A Date with Death!

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How to Make a Visual Novel in a Weekend

Making a visual novel is already hard, so how do you make one in a game jam where you have a set deadline? Or worse, how do you make an entire visual novel in only a weekend? What about when you have to use certain themes in the game and can’t go fully freeform?

Game jams are such a great way to get started making visual novelsโ€”I first got my start with Ludum Dare 10 years ago, as of this August. They force you to downsize a lot, to focus on what matters and most importantly, have a tight deadline hanging over your head that you can’t push back. Some game jams, like my upcoming Otome & Josei Jams, allow users a much longer timeframe of 2 months and don’t restrict on themes. Others like Ludum Dare only give you a weekend (though there are other formats now) and require you to use a user-voted theme that’s only made public when the jam starts.

With the tight deadlines and possibility of restrictions, how do you make a visual novel that quickly? Is that even humanly possible??

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Talking to Your Visual Novel Players

Whenever you reach out to a company’s support line or interact with their social media, you’re engaging in their public relations personnel. These people are trained in customer relations and depending on their exact job, they’re usually well versed in different aspects of marketing.

But for indie game devs, we don’t have the luxury of having one person to answer emails & Steam support, one person to manage social media, one person to reach out to press, etc…. So how do we end up talking to players?

what is public relations

Public relations are essentially the communication (relations) between an entity and the public. In this case, it’s how you (and your studio) communicate to players.

There’s a lot of venues for this, including but probably not limited to:

  • social media comments
  • direct messages
  • emails
  • fan mail

Press relations are how you “voice” your studio to others. Don’t overthink this- it’s just how you talk to people and how those words come off to them.

For large companies, it’s not often that users can directly talk to employees (you don’t follow grocery store employees on social media and ask them about deals, do you?), but for indie studios it’s something that can happen often. While not every interaction may be with a potential player, there is more room for your teammates to talk to players.

So who on the team will be the designated person to communicate with players and how will they do it?

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Tips for Marketing Visual Novels in 2024

Social media and algorithms are changing weekly. It’s hard to keep up, and it’s my job to keep up, so how are regular creators supposed to understand all of the nuances that change all the time?

I could make new posts about updates to strategies for Twitter or TikTok or whatever, but that wouldn’t cover the full scope of things visual novel developers should be aware of when tackling marketing in 2024. So today I want to try something new- think of it as a collection of tips and mini advice for marketing visual novels going into 2024, ranging from social media to Steam to best practices and more.

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