Okay, now that I got the big announcement out of the way, I'd like to talk about more what that means. Firstly, I am amazed that I have Neverending Nightmares news THREE years after our initial launch! That wouldn't be possible without wonderful fans like yourself. Making Neverending Nightmares has been a really amazing experience, and it is amazing to see it still resonate with audiences.
I already mentioned the mobile version in a previous update, so I'd like to discuss the manga, which I am super excited about. A bit over a year ago, pixiv.net approached me about licensing the Neverending Nightmares IP. I had never heard of pixiv, but they are a big deal in Japan and Asia. It is basically a social network around artists and art/manga that is quite popular.
When I met with them, I realized that they were fans of the IP, and they were interested in working with me to make sure it stays true to the spirit of talking about mental illness. Rather than just trying to make a quick buck, they are very dedicated to making the best manga possible, which is the best you can ask for in a partner - especially when the IP is so important to you on a personal level.
I worked with them on the story and get to comment on all of the in progress work, but it has been going amazingly smoothly, and I rarely have anything to say except how impressed I am. Initially, I had the desire to write the script myself and just have them draw it, but after giving it some thought, I realized I don't know enough about the graphic novel medium in order to properly pace it.
One of the things that always strikes me about comics is that the pacing is very different than movies and video games, which are the mediums with which I am most familiar. For a good point of comparison, have you ever tried to read The Walking Dead comic? It moves CRAZY fast compared to the TV show. Pixiv worked with a company Sunplant to come up with the script since the manga artist didn't have experience writing horror, and they did a great job.
The pacing of the manga is much faster than the slow burn I set up in the game, but I think that is necessary. With a manga, you control how fast you read and how carefully you are looking at the pictures, so it is hard to force people to progress slowly through a nightmare world, which is what I deliberately did in the game. It creates an interesting tension but one that I'm not sure could be duplicated in a graphic novel - or at least I don't how!
Ultimately, they came up with a script that was significantly different than the story in the game, but they incorporated my suggestions, so it is something of which I am proud and feel that it is representative of the original goals of the game in terms of talking about mental illness. It has been really fun for me because when I read the manga, it feels like something new that I didn't make, so I get to enjoy it as a fan. It is kind of a surreal experience because it is built in a world of my imagination, but it is a fresh take on it. Plus, the art is amazing, and I really like the manga influenced look for the characters. I particularly love the way Gabby turned out.
Interestingly, I don't think this would have ever happened had I never released Neverending Nightmares on PSN in Japan. Doing a Japanese indie release is hard without a partner in Japan, so we were fortunate that Playism was excited about the game and pushed us to translate it and port to PlayStation to get more of the Japanese audience. Now that we are on mobile, I think we might be finished with porting! It is a little sad that we never released on Xbox One or Nintendo Switch, but everyone who wants to play the game should be able to find it on SOMETHING they own.
Whether or not the mobile port is profitable or not (and the mobile market is a tough nut to crack for a very non-casual game like ours), I am glad we did it because I like that the message about mental illness will hopefully be able to reach a wider audience. And who knows! Similar to the PSN version, maybe something cool will happen because of it that I can't predict. :)
Anyway, please check out the manga. I think it is super awesome. There will be a prologue plus nine chapters, and it will be updated monthly. Note that it is a manga and not redrawn/mirrored for US audiences, so it goes from right to left in terms of the panels, pages, and the arrows for navigating between pages. While the translation is good, if you speak Japanese, I think it would be better to read in its original language. Plus, the text fits nicely in the speech bubbles. :)
As always, I'd like to end with a big THANK YOU for all of your support! I think it is really amazing what we were able to accomplish. Quite frankly, I'm a bit burned out on kickstarter (as I imagine many of you may be) since there are many exciting projects that I supported that either still haven't released yet or felt kind of unfinished when they did. While I don't think every backer was satisfied with Neverending Nightmares (which makes me sad, but I'm not sure it is possible to please everyone), I was able to make the game that I wanted to make in a schedule that I promised - well, plus a month, but in Kickstarter time, that is practically early. :-P I couldn't have done it without your generous support as well as feedback during development.
So, again, thank you so much, and I hope you all are doing well. I'm not sure there will be many future updates, so I wanted to make sure I finished by thanking you!
PS. I'm not sure if you remember the Checkpoint series that I mentioned in a previous update, but I did my interview with Dr. Jennifer Hazel, and it was AMAZING! The interview went super well, and she asked really insightful questions. I also talked with her about how the series will be edited together, and it will be super interesting episodes that are more than just watching interviews. I can't wait for the series to launch. If you are interested in that sort of thing, consider sponsoring her work because it's going to be awesome and hopefully change a lot of lives!