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- MurderousIntRegular Boarder
4 months ago • Updated 4 months agoSorry for the long reply, but I want to cover a decent amount of information/opinion. (￣ー￣；
- 4 years ago
The overall H-game scene has changed over the years, you have Japan's alternative to patreon for indie hentai creators, you have a booming indie scene on dlsite and a lot of the more traditional game makers have tried making the move to gacha games to make safe easy money. Lots of competition across the board but overall lower sales for the more higher-quality hentai games since they can't compete with RPGMAKER/DLSITE game makers at price to size, just with better production quality. It's gotten to a point of saturation where game makers are also starting to turn to the west for more profits with varying results.
The bottom line is I don't think Empress is making enough money in sales for how long they take to develop games.
Most H-games even these professional looking ones are made by very small teams. Outside of the audio aspect. Hazuki is listed for background cg/color and other art aspects multiple times on these new games more so on Kisaku-tachi game but also GD. DEN, who worked with Empress up to Closed Game, 4 years ago is missing from the credits in both games, so I expect his moved on.
So thinking about why were these games are so short?
I think it's due to Sei's quality taking a lot longer, even more so on the ones he writes the scenes for. Evidence for this is just with how long all his main games took to make. Discipline was forced out by active because Sei was taking too long on it, which in turn played a part in him leave the company to end up over at will-soft. Starless also was in development between 4-6 years, it was listed on a different label before the Empress brand, (www.skunk-works...) skunkworks. His "quicker" turn around games since then have had other writers and the CG has had Hazuki helping out hugely in many aspects.
More info: heiseidemocracy...
Empress did try the gacha model 4 years ago when it was really hitting peak craze and kept it up for a year, but the gacha game was too much grind and a bore fest to play combined with Sei's output of new content being so slow along with tons of reused art, it was going to fail.
Sei clearly designed the main girl used in the Kisaku game but he didn't do the actual CG. He also didn't write the story for it but did for GD, note that Sei is not even listed in the credits on that game (but Hazuki is.) It was likely done to speed up production time for a release. I think they are looking for a model that can make them get enough game out in a quick enough time to make a decent profit over development time.
The surveys I think are a sign they want to have more collab artists on the Empress brand, to increase production. So if anything I see it likely they will do more of these small games with a quicker turn around time (I'd say every 6-months), either be it split games with Sei doing one part and another artist doing a side game tie-in. Or, Sei and another artist collaborating on a bigger title together. The later I don't see working well due to Sei's art style likely clashing. The interesting thing is the main appeal to the Empress brand is Sei so bringing in another artist is an interesting move to balance, but if they got a big name could bring that audience and maybe someone like ODA NON that has a similar appeal/style could off-set it.
Another advantage for them with smaller games is they are much easier to get localisation due to less text. Can be sold at lower entry cost $15-20. While the huge game (9,000 yen) people in the west tend not to not like to pay even $50 for a big VN while in JP they would be sold for $70-80 equivalent in yen, so this also adds value if they are also looking for additional sales going that route.
Of course I would love another huge Starless size epic game that would be my ideal, but I doubt we will ever get a game of that scope from Empress again unless they get a huge budget backing it. Even if we did, we would have to wait a very long time for its development. Hence why I see the whole collaborating thing seeming to be the new direction. I just hope if they do make small games that they can sort of tie-it all into a bigger thing be it episodic, either focusing on individual girls or a piece that builds slowly overall into something more.
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