The Japanese public has always been a different breed when it came to animation. Now national trademarks, Manga and Anime support huge development and distribution networks to appease the insatiable appetite of fans. Unfortunately, the booming amount of releases saw the rise of an industry standard, where commercial (instead of artistic) concerns rule the quality of the work. In a do-it-yourself effort, Japanese studio Buredo and Curious Factory publisher released the Blade Engine, based on a professional Visual Novel engine being used in Japan.
The main goal of this unprecedented effort is being an easy to use tool in the creation of Visual Novels, a free game engine and construction kit, fully localized in English. With help from the Blade Engine, individuals that do not posses the technological expertise to handle game development can put their imagination to good use and start their own stories. Visual Novels use multiple storylines to achieve different endings, which in turn leads to non-linear action and freedom of choice. Decision points within the novel often enough present players with the option of altering the course of events. The games usually consist in a text window, background graphics and manga-like character images. Music, sound and even voice are the dramatic additions to complete this story-driven interactive fiction. With the Blade Engine one can turn their web comic or magna into a Visual Novel, a far more economical solution than printing a paper publication. Whether or not you plan on selling the work via electronic formats there still are some restrictions to the standard version.
The developers wish to extend the Otaku trend outside the borders of Japan, with hopes that it would spark greater interest in the western animation medium. Developer Ayaka Hahn talks about a common misconception: "In the West, there is a stereotype of: "Visual Novel = Dating Sim Game = Hentai", but that is wrong. Visual Novels CAN be Dating Sim games, Ren'ai games, Bishoujo games but also can be Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure and Horror Fiction games, or anything that the user's creativity comes up with."
The First Free Visual Novel Engine Released
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