UPDATE #1: On November 25, 2014, the former VA Director for The Guardian’s Spell sent us a response to this statement. You can read that here.
UPDATE #2: On November 30, 2017, Sekai Project formally retracted their statement on The Guardian’s Spell. You can read the full story here.
On April 5, 2014, Winged Cloud’s reported next otome game, The Guardian’s Spell, completed its Kickstarted campaign. Originally asking for £2,500, thanks largely to the success of Pyrite Heart, the game was funded to the tune of £3,314: a bit over five thousand American Dollars. Since that time, the Winged Cloud website has been scrubbed of all works and information outside of Sakura Spirit; which was released during the summer to financial success and critical disdain.
That has been where things have stood for The Guardian’s Spell for the last eight months. There were questions about what would be next for Winged Cloud’s otome game, but nothing concrete to say whether or not the project was still being worked on or if it had been cancelled. Then, within the past week, publishing house Sekai Project released an exciting teaser of Winged Cloud’s next game!
…Now, I’m no expert in anime girls, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say WC’s next project isn’t related to The Guardian’s Spell. Wild guess.
After raging for a moment, a good friend of this website asked me directly what happened to The Guardian’s Spell, so I decided to take a deeper look into the game and try to find resolution to a few standing issues. I had a lot on my mind concerning Winged Cloud and their works, but I managed to settle those questions on a few key points: whether or not The Guardian’s Spell is still in production, what is going on with that production, specifically recent rumors that the voice acting, something promoted as a major feature of the game during the Kickstarter, had been cut, and where this new, teased project ranks in priority as opposed to the crowd-funded Guardian’s Spell (which is going to be finished and released first).
While the options I had to reach out to Winged Cloud were extremely limited, VNs Now does have the means to contact their publisher: Sekai Project. I reached out to Raymond Qian, CEO of Sekai Project, with my questions and Mr. Qian was gracious enough to release a statement to VNs Now concerning The Guardian’s Spell. I would like to thank Mr. Qian for his rapid response to our inquiries and will now let you read his full statement:
Things don’t always go as planned; this was no different for the Guardian Spell.
It is absolutely true that Winged Cloud did intend to voice the game. The price of voice acting was calculated within the budget of the Kickstarter after getting quotes from the representatives of the voice actors named on Kickstarter. However as the Guardian Spell Kickstarter got more successful, the voice actor representatives also wanted a larger share of the money, which did not fit in the budget anymore. Winged Cloud did not assume that they would change their quote after naming it once, which was making it impossible for them to afford the new price of the voice acting. That is what caused the problems with the voice actors. Sadly there was at no time a contract, so they were not hired before the project. But that’s only normal; it is not possible to hire anyone without ever knowing how the Kickstarter will work out. All Winged Cloud could do is asking for their rates and tell the people on Kickstarter “Those are the prices of voice actors, this is what we need”. If the voice actors changed the price afterwards it is of course causing problems.
The other sad news is that the writer was hired and paid on a friendly basis without a contract. About 2 month ago, after confirming us that the writing was almost done, the writer decided to disappear without a word even though she was paid on a monthly rate. Winged Cloud is left with 20% of the completed story, and that cannot be used because there is no formal agreement of the copyright, since the writer decided to disappear. After receiving the money from Sakura Spirit, Winged Cloud hired a full time writer for their otome game, which recently started working under contract on Guardian Spell. Sadly he has to rewrite it from the square one, but at least this time it’s in a more official way and with contracts right from the start. It should be done in a more swiftly manner this way.
The artworks, sprites and CG’s made by Wanaca where done a long time ago and are now waiting for their writing counterpart to catch up. Same goes for the backgrounds made by Badriel.
It was maybe the wrong way to keep people not update on the progress; however Winged Cloud hoped they could resolve the issues without causing too much problems for the backers.
There are a few other things to note as well regarding the projects they currently work on. The writers working on the otome game and their Galge (Sakura Spirit and the upcoming titles) are different persons. Sakura Spirit predecessor is released more swiftly because that writer did finish early. However that person had no intention on writing an otome game. Winged Cloud is not able to force their writers to work on a genre they are not familiar with.
So, to review: the voice acting of the game was cut because the voice actors wanted a higher rate than was originally agreed to, the original writer ran out on them and they had to start fresh, the lack of communication was a rookie mistake and the game behind that ridiculously scantly-clad graphic above us will be released before The Guardian’s Spell because its writer wrapped things up nice and neat.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is the end of the story, because it isn’t. Mr. Qian was very gracious, but his statement raises as many questions as it answers. VNs Now will begin reaching out and conducting a deeper investigation into this matter that will, hopefully, answer those questions as well as provide a timetable for The Guardian’s Spell’s release. We have no evidence that anything is out of order or if there has been any impropriety on either side to be absolutely clear if anyone was wondering about that. However, considering that this is a crowd-funded project, we here at VNs Now fully believe that open and full disclosure isn’t just advisable, but it is necessary to ensure the people who put their hard-earned money towards games like The Guardian’s Spell get a proper return on investment, or if the project falls through a full return of their hard-earned money.
For now, we are still working on this particular story. We will update you when we have new information. This has been JP3 reporting for VNN.