Production Update for December 2018-January 2019
Happy New Year!
Today’s update will contain our progress from December 2018 to January 2019. Since our progress for December slowed down due to the holidays, we decided to include it in our January update for bigger and juicier news!
At this point, we're approaching the last leg of Love Esquire's development. This means that majority of the base content are done, and we are now shifting our focus to on one of the most important aspects of a game: polish.
We have finished writing and editing all of the main content that the game needs (story arcs, special scenes, topics). We made sure in the editing phase that all of the events are consistent with each other, and that we’re satisfied with the development of our plot and characters.
Now that the most difficult part is out of the way, our writers will proceed to the last step: final polish. In this phase, we will be reviewing everything and adding/editing miscellaneous content that we’ve overlooked.
We’re planning to dedicate the whole month of February for the final polish, before sending everything to our voice over director for recording.
Unfortunately, CGs continue to be a bottleneck.
The good news is that the basic colors for all our CGs are done. The bad news is that the final polish is taking a long time because we’re aiming for quality. Our original estimate of finishing everything by mid-February is extended until mid to end of March.
Here’s a sample to give you Squires an idea on how the basic colors differ from the final polish:
This also impacts our timeline for the CG animation because we can't proceed to this step unless they've been finalized.
In an effort to speed things up, we have posted a job hiring last week. We're looking for animators who will help our lead animator with his tasks once the work starts pouring in. Animating 100+ unique CGs will require hundreds and hundreds of man hours, but with more animators, hopefully the work will be done much faster.
We'll be sifting through the applications this week. Hopefully we'll have new animators on the team by March!
Moving on to the other aspects of our art department, we have finished rendering all of the 50+ item sprites that we'll need for the game.
Here are some samples:
We're also going back to some of our UI to check which parts can still be improved. One of the ideas that we're playing around with is seeing where your waifu is on the map (one of the requested features from the alpha demo). After several studies, our team decided to go with this:
Here's a new BGM preview!
There are a lot of things on our programmers' plates. In no order in particular, here are the tasks that we're working on and will continue to work on until release:
- Improvements to RPG flow and gameplay
- Improvements to existing system features
- Implementing finished art assets and animations
- Implementing miscellaneous features (i.e. gallery, achievements, etc.)
- Modding System
- Polish, polish, polish!
Right now we have about 1 month of playable content ready, which we'll be sharing next month through our Patreon.
As of writing, we have raised a total of $85,000 HKD (or $10,800 USD) thanks to 211 generous backers. Unfortunately, this is still not enough to unlock our RPG Expansion goal.
Some of you have suggested in our Discord that we make the RPG Expansion a buyable DLC instead. We're seriously considering this option, though the likelihood of this happening would depend on the game's sales, post-release.
So what happens to the funds that we've raised in BackerKit? It will go towards polishing and further improving the game. Despite not reaching the RPG Expansion, we'll do everything in our power to ensure that Love Esquire releases in its best condition!
Hiccups with Funding: An Update
If you'll recall, we shared a minor funding issue back in our October update. After weeks of investigation, it turned out that our HK bank did send us the full $487,808.85 HKD (or $62,178.07 USD at the time). It was wire-transferred to our US Dollar account here in the Philippines. But our PH bank, instead of calling us to confirm/ask what we want to do about the money (which is their SOP), took it upon themselves to automatically convert it to US Dollars using a very, very expensive rate.
To make matters worse, they initially gave us wrong information when we inquired about the issue. They said that when the remittance arrived it was already in USD, when in fact it was still in HKD, which led us to believe that the fault lay in our HK bank.
After filing a formal complaint, our PH bank said that they would credit $2,290.30 USD back to our account, which we accepted. So that resolves our funding issue. :)
Apart from English, we are planning to support a Chinese and Russian version of Love Esquire. Since our budget is limited, we are looking for dedicated volunteers who are willing to help localize and/or proofread the game in these languages. If you're interested or know someone who is, please let us know!
Because Love Esquire's scope has expanded beyond expectations, we have decided to increase its retail price from $19.99 to $24.99 USD. We do not want to devalue our game; we feel that this is still fair considering the amount of features, content and quality that Love Esquire has to offer. The new price will also give us enough leeway to set bigger discount sales in the future.
The new price will apply on the game's release. In line with this, we are no longer accepting new Paypal pledges starting February 2019. However, old backers can still adjust their pledge via BackerKit.
Just to clarify: if you are an existing backer, you do not have to adjust your pledge amount to match the new price! You will get a copy of the game as long as you pledged to the ✪ DIGITAL BASIC ✪ tier or above. This new price only applies to our non-backers and future customers. :)
Before ending today's update, we'd like to shill a wonderful game that's made by our equally wonderful friends! If you're looking for a high-quality visual novel to play while waiting for Love Esquire's release, then we highly encourage you to try Bloody Chronicles by Igrasil Studio!
The story focuses on Koyama Kazuki, a young detective employed by Igrasil, an agency that investigates murders that the authorities have deemed unsolvable. While working on several, seemingly unrelated cases, you find clues pointing to the person who killed your parents. Can you stop this new cycle of death before it's too late?