** UPDATED ** Reward Tier information updated again - see the bottom of the page for more information.
Piro, an obsessed anime/manga fan, and Largo, a hard-core American gamer, are two friends who fly to Japan on a whim and get stuck there, unable to afford the trip home. With their vastly different ways of looking at the world, the Tokyo each of them experiences is very different. Piro's Tokyo is a place filled with manga shops, school girls, kitties, enjoyable life experiences and maybe even a girl or two who might like him. Largo's Tokyo is full of battling ninjas, rampaging zombie armies, gigantic monsters destroying the city and vending machines that sell beer, ammo and medipacks.
It is like they are playing two completely different games. In Megatokyo the Visual Novel Game you will be able to play these games as Piro or Largo (and possibly other Megatokyo characters) to see the story from their unique and individual perspectives.
What is a Visual Novel?
A Visual Novel is a form of interactive fiction that typically features static graphics, background music, sound effects and a story with multiple paths and numerous possible endings (good, neutral, bad, etc.) Gameplay involves clicking to advance the dialogue and graphics with choices that cumulatively determine your story path. A good visual novel is an immersive experience that can draw you into the story from the protagonist's point of view.
Megatokyo the Visual Novel will offer the Megatokyo story from a different perspective than the comic - the perspective of the character you are playing. At the start of the game you will be able to choose which character you want to play - in the base game, you can choose between Piro and Largo. From this you will be able to experience just how vastly different the same story can be from different character's points of view.
What is Megatokyo?
Megatokyo is a long-running manga-inspired webcomic that has been entertaining readers for over 13 years with its involved storyline and large cast of interesting characters. Noted as being "the best-selling manga series ever by an American artist" by ICV2.com in 2005 and as one of “the 30 Most Important Comics of the Decade” by Comic Book Resources in 2010, Megatokyo has held its own against many popular Japanese-created titles. In 2009 a Japanese edition of Megatokyo Volume 1 was released in Japan, the first Original English Language manga title licensed by Kodansha for the Japanese market.
Released directly to the web as an online webcomic, Megatokyo is free to read by all visitors (www.megatokyo.com). Megatokyo’s most recent print collection, Volume 6, was published by DC comics in June 2010. Coming later this year will be a new Omnibus collection of volumes 1-3 from Dark Horse Comics.
As the writer, artist and one of the creators behind the Megatokyo comic, I will be the primary lead on this adaptation of Megatokyo into visual novel format. This will be an official Megatokyo project and I will be doing much of the writing and art production for the game myself.
Proof of Concept
One of the more frequent questions I am asked about Megatokyo has been "When will there be a Megatokyo game?" It's a reasonable question, since Megatokyo is a world that is built around gaming and is heavily influenced by visual novels (like Kanon, To Heart and Clannad). Part of the reason it was not pursued was that for years the tools and software needed to produce a quality visual novel game were simply not available (in English, at least). With the advent of stable, robust, customizable and open-source platforms like Ren'py (the software we will be using to build this game) it is now possible to make a visual novel without having to developing your own platform from scratch. This means that we can focus on content: gameplay, path development, writing, artwork, and other programming elements that will make the game a polished and enjoyable experience.
One of the first things we did after assembling a team of people to help me develop this game was build a "proof of concept" sample scenario based on this scene in the Megatokyo comic. We wanted to get a sense of how the Megatokyo story would feel in a Visual Novel format. Surprisingly well, it turns out:
Please note that this is a rough idea of what a small sample of the final game might look and feel like. If you like, you can download this short playable sample scene and give it a try: PC version, Mac version or Linux version. Please note that this sample game is a very short, sample and is NOT representative of what the final game will look like. Only Piro's route is accessible for now. This sample is a work in progress and we will be updating it over the next few weeks with other character routes and more refined content. (note: background music in the sample game is by Kim Justice from his Megatokyo music collection Urusai no Fanart)
Ph33r My Reality!
In the Megatokyo comic there is really just one story line for each character. In the game there will be many choices that lead to alternative paths and different endings. This is the real challenge of producing a visual novel game but also what will make it interesting to play and a unique new way to experience the story. You will be able to see what happens if Piro or Largo make different choices at key points in the story. There will be a 'canon' route for each character that follows the story in the comic up to a certain point, but there is no guarantee that the 'canon' routes lead to "good ends."
The base game will allow you to choose to play as either Piro or Largo. If certain stretch goals are reached, we hope to add the ability to play as Kimiko, Erika, Miho, Ping and Yuki as well. Since each character's view of the story is different, the more playable characters, the more interesting the game will be.
A game in three parts
Megatokyo is a long running and complex story that has filled six volumes and is not close to being over yet. That's a lot of material to cover. We did the math: The comic has so far covered 71 days, 488 different scenes and roughly 144 different locations. When divided into the different viewpoints of different characters, adding additional story branches and developing multiple endings that go beyond the scope of the current comic... it's a big game with many hours of gameplay for each character. Like any good adaptation, the game won't reflect a word-for-word, panel-by-panel approach. We will edit and parse things as needed to make the game flow smoothly, but the intent is to abridge the Megatokyo storyline as little as possible.
Given the overall size of the game, we have decided to produce it in three parts:
Each part will offer four to six hours of gameplay per playable character (though this will vary, depending on story branching). All paths in Part One will come to some sort of stopping point that you will be able to continue in Part 2 and Part 3 when they are released. These parts will be available as packages you will add to the base game much like downloadable content to eventually form one complete game.
The base goal for this Kickstarter is to raise enough funds to cover the production of Part One of Megatokyo the Visual Novel with Piro and Largo as playable characters. Additional playable characters and the production of part 2 and 3 will be stretch goals. Release dates for Part 2 and Part 3 will be announced if and when they are funded.
This game will not contain any DRM (digital rights management). When finished, the game will be available for purchase as a download or by physical media from the Megagear store and possibly other outlets. It will NOT be a free game - each part will cost $15 to purchase a download, but there will be no DRM scheme to enforce this. (Note that if you support the Kickstarter you will get your copy of part 1 of the game at the $10 support level.) I am simply going to rely on the concept that Megatokyo fans who want to play the game will understand and recognize the effort that has gone into making it and do their share to support it. We are not licensing this out to be produced by others - I will be doing a large bulk of the work myself with the support of a team of people I have worked with on other Megatokyo-related projects for years.
Our first goal: making the basic game - FUNDED!!
- Choose between two playable characters - Piro or Largo.
- Four to six hours of gameplay per character
- Experience the Megatokyo story entirely from their point of view.
- Game will cover material from books 1-3 (chapters 0 through 4)
- Multiple save points for each character.
- All artwork will be full color.
- Consciences will appear as screen sitters on the dialogue boxes
- Each character will have his original song (no vocals) and opening sequence (pan and zoom, simple animations)
- CG artwork galleries where you can view unlocked artwork and scenes.
- Wide screen format - 1280 x 720
- Numerous easter eggs, hidden content and secret codes (Largo IS in this game after all)
- Game will be available in Windows, OS X, and Linux versions.
We can't guarantee there will be an Android or iOS version, but if it is possible we will port the game to these platforms.
The basic game does not, of course, include everything we WANT to do, but is a very reasonable, solid game that we can produce at that funding level in a reasonable amount of time. One of the best things about Kickstarter is that it gives fans and end users the opportunity to help make the project they are supporting better before production starts. If you want to see more elements added to this game, help us reach some of the stretch goals:
$25,000: Add Nanasawa Kimiko as a playable character. FUNDED!!
$30,000: Add Hayasaka Erika as a playable character. FUNDED!!
$35,000: Add Tohya Miho as a playable character. Note that this will be a locked character that you will have to reach certain points in the first part of the game with other characters to be able to play. FUNDED!!
$40,000: Add Ping as a playable character. Note that this will be a locked character that you will have to reach certain points in the first part of the game with other characters to be able to play. FUNDED!!
$45,000: Add Sonoda Yuki as a playable character. FUNDED!!
$75,000: The next installment of the game, Megatokyo Visual Novel Part 2, funded. This will continue all paths from Part 1 for all seven playable characters and include story material from books 4,5 and 6. There will be a later delivery date for part 2 if is funded. We will be focusing on delivering Part 1 by February 2014, and tentatively August 2014 for Part 2. Also, if funded, all reward tiers $25 and over will include a copy of Part 2 which will be a digital download once it is done. - FUNDED
Wow. Since we reached this rather lofty goal, i'm going to add something extra for everyone who has helped us get here. I'm going to make a series of downloadable Megatokyo Visual Novel wallpapers that will be available to all backers as we work on the production of the game. When i post a new wallpaper I will send out a link to a special download section where you can download wallpapers to use on your any or all of your digital screened devices. Thank you!
*UPDATED* More Stretch Goals
Now, the playable characters up to this point I consider to be 'primary' character routes in the game. That means that the routes you can play as each of these characters will be long and involved, each one much like a light novel with multiple story paths and endings. This doesn't mean that these are the only Megatokyo characters I think it would be fun to play as. Playing as some other characters, more like a short story with multiple endings than a full sized light novel, I think will add a lot of color and fun to the game as well. Think of them as little mini-games in the game. With that in mind, I offer some more stretch goals for your consideration:
$80,000: Add Sawatari Komugiko as a playable secondary character. FUNDED!!
$85,000: Add Ibara Junko as a playable secondary character. FUNDED!!
$90,000: Add Dom as a playable secondary character (yes, there will be stick figures. Yes, there will be a much larger stretch goal to remove SFC (Stick Figure Content) later on. FUNDED!!
$95,000: Add Ed as a playable secondary character. (please note that we will need to invest in a large library of explosion and gunfire sound effects for this one). FUNDED!!
$100,000: Add Junpei the L337 N1NJ4 as a secondary playable character. FUNDED!!
Yet there is ONE more thing i am going to add... one more thing the game is missing. The big goal is to get the last part of the game funded, but on the way there...
$125,000: add Boo as a secondary playable character! One of the first thoughts when i was going over the concept as playing AS Megatokyo characters was that you would have to be able to play as Boo... and now you can! - FUNDED!
$150,000: The final installment of the game, Megatokyo Visual Novel part 3. This will continue from Part 2 of the game which covered content from books 4-6 and will move into completely new territory - All the Ends. This part will require a lot of work, not just wrapping up and finishing all the potential scenarios for all characters but will involve a LOT more CG Event graphics, but it will give us a COMPLETE game that covers the whole Megatokyo story from start to... potential ends that don't exist in the comic yet :) - OMGWTF... FUNDED!!
Really, I'm amazed beyond words that we were able to reach this point where ALL THREE parts of the game were fully funded. THANK YOU for giving us this opportunity to build this game. It's going to be a LOT of work, but hopefully it will be a big, enjoyable game when its all done.
Of course, here we are having reached all the Stretch Goals (well, all except the one listed below, but more on that later). The scope of what has grown considerably given the massive support we've received. I've tried to be really careful about what else we add to the game and to add responsibly. :) You don't just add stretch goals to add stretch goals, you add them to make the project BETTER. To that end, I've been working hard to pull together other things we can add to the game that will make it that much more of an enjoyable game. As we roll into the last couple of weeks, i'll share some of those potential goals with you. For now, here is the first of these new stretch goals:
$190,000: Add vocals to two of the opening songs for the game. When you choose a character to play, you will get an opening sequence that is specifically for that character. Obviously, the opening sequence for Piro is going to be vastly different than the one for Largo. Same goes for the music the sequence is set to. With this stretch goal, we will add a vocalist to sing as Kimiko for two tracks - Piro's opening song and Largo's opening song. This will be a challenge on many levels, including writing lyrics and working with a vocalist to sing two totally different songs the way I think Kimiko would do it. The songs will be in English, which Kimiko IS capable of doing (i can discuss this detail later). These will have the potential to be like theme tracks for Megatokyo itself, so this is a big deal. - FUNDED!!
Gyaah... i'm out of stretch goals again. >_< Ok, not panicking, i almost have all the info i need to set two other stretch goals. Uhm, till then, there is this stretch goal...
$500,000: Excessively Romantic Content. Anyone familiar with visual novels know that most of them contain love scenes of one kind or another for various paths. I typically shy away from showing this sort of thing, but in good humor i present the possibility as a stretch goal. I call it the 'blurred' stretch goal. Can I go there? Yes, I can. Will I? Make me :)
UPDATE - Rewards
I'm adding this section to try to answer some questions and clarify reward tiers. One problem with Kickstarter is that once someone selects a reward tier you can't edit them. Understandably, you can't change a reward once someone selects it, but it would be nice to update and add to them when stretch goals get reached. Hopefully this section will help clarify things.
The first thing i wanted to clarify is that now the stretch goal has been reached at what support tiers you will get a copy Part 2. All tiers at $25 and above will include Megatokyo Visual Novel Part 2. All tiers at $35 and above will also include Megatokyo Part 3. This will be a savings over purchasing these parts of the game separately.
We also offer the ability to ADD items to your pledge. The way this works is, say, you select a $50 tier and you want to add a t-shirt. You simply increase your pledge to $75 and leave your selected reward at the $50 level. For all pledges that are MORE than the selected tier by $25 or more, we will contact you and verify with item (items) listed below we will be sending you. Do NOT select a higher tier! These are ala-carte additions! :)
We have a few items that you can add ala carte to pledge levels $50 and over. If you increase your pledge by $25 you will be able to chose to add one of the following to your order: Kickstarter exclusive fine art print, a Kickstarter Exclusive Orignal Soundtrack CD -OR- your choice of Piro's new "B4k4^3" tshirt, Largo's new and improved "3V1L L337" tshirt OR a Megatokyo Visual Novel Beta Tester tshirt (sizes: S-5XL) We will inquire as to which of these items you want when we contact you after the Kickstarter is complete.
**NEW** Another item you can now add to any pledge levels $50 or over - if you increase your pledge by an additional $25 you can get a 2014 Megatokyo Calendar! I will be producing a LOT of full color artwork AND backgrounds for this game which will be more than enough images to make a really nice full color 2014 Megatokyo Calendar. Since this is a calendar and we assume you'd like to use it starting in January, if you choose to get a calendar we will be shipping your stuff (including the calendar) to you in December BEFORE the game is finished. Please note that this will mean that your flash drive will be blank, but you add it to your drive when you download the finished game in February 2014. Calendar will be 8.5x11 12 month format
Listed below are all the reward tiers with what some simple clarifications to explain what each tier comes with:
The Project Team
The project team that we have put together are all people that I have known and worked with many times over the years. It's a great group of talented individuals who will help me do all the things that I'm not good at doing, like programming and making music.
- Art, writing, path development - Fred Gallagher
- Writing, path development - Thomas Knapp
- Path development - Ray Kremer
- Path development - Anthony Danducci
- Art, backgrounds - Jorge Rivas
- Music/audio- William Chrapcynski
- Project management - Jeremy Wagner-Kaiser
- GUI design and programming - Shawn Morford
- GUI design and programming - Kevin Lange
A special thank you to Jason Pier for putting together the promotional video for this Kickstarter.
Risks and challenges
Doing a Visual Novel of this scale is quite a large project. While it helps to have a stable software base to build on, the volume of artwork the game will require is daunting. The amount of writing is also rather substantial. Each playable character's story will not only be a novel in and of itself but a novel with numerous endings and a wide variety of story paths.
We've done the numbers and worked out an estimate of the amount of character artwork, backgrounds and CG event works the game will require. We've set the release date to be more than six months from when substantial work will begin (when this Kickstarter is over), which i feel will be enough time to do all the work required, but as with any creative endeavor some of it might take longer to produce than hoped. The biggest challenge for us will be to keep writing and artwork production on track so that it does not cause a delay in the release of Megatokyo the Visual Novel Part 1.
I am very open and public with things as i work on them. I can usually be found working live on my JustinTV channel where people can watch me draw and color stuff live. I often post screenshots and share examples of works in progress on Facebook, Tumblr, PIXIV and Deviant Art. I also like to keep people posted on what i'm doing via Twitter. As work progresses on the game, i will be constantly sharing how things are going.
Working on the proof of concept sample really helped me get a sense of how to organize art production for the project. This project has really come together amazingly well and both my project team and I are looking forward to making this game.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Now that both Part 2 and Part 3 of the game are funded, at what pledge level do I get these parts of the game?
If you are at the $25 pledge level or higher you will get a copy of Part 1 and part 2 when it is released. If you are $35 pledge level or higher you will get a copy of Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 when they are released.
Right now, no, the game will not be voiced, though we are researching how much it would cost to add some smaller level of voicing to parts of the game and possibly offering this as a stretch goal. Please keep in mind that full voice for a game like this would be like voicing an entire season (or more) of a TV show. ^^;;
Will this effect the release schedule of the Megatokyo comic? Will you be doing any comics at all while working on the game?
My plan for production for this game *includes* the time to produced one full Megatokyo comic per week for the duration of game production.
Will you be offering the game with translations into different languages (like Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese)?
While the initial release of the game probably will not have localization for other languages, I know that the MT comic translation guys over at megatokyo.it are interested in translating the game. The Ren'Py engine has localization options built in so it might not be too difficult to offer localization at some point
I see that the game will be available for PC Windows/Mac/Linux. What about Android and iOS versions?
I would very much like to see Android/iOS versions of the Megatokyo Visual Novel. Tablets are actually a great format for this sort of game, so hopefully we can do this. There are some issues with porting to Android and even worse ones for iOS which are why I am not promising we can do it, but if we can, we will.
We are looking into other potential ways of distributing the game, including possibly Steam. I don't know about any other platforms like the WiiU or PSP or Xbox or PS4 right now - that can be pretty expensive, and i'm more concerned about making the game right now. We will keep you posted as we start looking into more distribution options.
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