Over the past few days, the Dizzy Hearts Kickstarter reached its $10,000 goal. This will fully funded a voice bank system for the game. If donors want full voice acting, that tier is still a ways away. However, no matter what happens now, the project has the extra funding Lupiesoft requested. It will be interesting to see how it affects the plans around it this year and we will continue following its development here on VNs Now until its release day.
Interestingly enough, before the campaign hit its mark, we did get a response from Taosym on our previous news articles and the inquires we raised. This was done with The Forsaken One acting as a middle man and I want to publicly thank them for their professionalism. Anytime we’ve had to interact with TFO on any story, they’ve always been solid and it has continued here. So, I’m going to put up the statement here, respond and from there I am more than happy to let you guys be the final judges. Here is the statement we received;
“I don’t talk to him because he dumped Menagerie’s script on 4chan and wrote blogs about rewriting the game, which even his own editor at the time told me was totally disgusting behavior. He can’t discuss the merits of people’s work as a journalist, he has to try to destroy them as people. If he apologizes for his behavior of making line-crossing personal attacks against us as people and other scumbag behavior when Dizzy Hearts first started I’ll talk to him.
That said every one of those questions he raised in his blog has been answered by multiple updates, especially where the $3000 is going from the first Kickstarter’s stretch goal (hint: voice acting is really fucking expensive and you need more than $3000, so this is purely to cover the difference to deliver professional dub quality from world class VAs in the dub anime industry)
JP has had a grudge that transcended just ‘not liking our games’, and for that I can’t trust him to discuss things with me in good faith. If he wants to actually discuss this because he thinks it has merits as a story, I’ll talk with him, but not before he acknowledges what he did in the past crossed a line not just with us, but several developers he tried to bully into the ground. He is afterall a self-admitted misanthropist.”
Let’s start with the actual news here and some mathematics, because we love math here at VNs Now. The original Dizzy Hearts Kickstarter campaign asked for $5,500. The stretch goal for the voice bank system then was $11,000. The original Kickstarter ended with $16,691: $11,191 more than what they intentionally intended to have. So, of the $11,000 windfall; only $3,000 of it went to that particular stretch goal?
I’m assuming that this time the full amount will go straight to the voice bank as stated in the new campaign. However, it goes back to the questions that the original post brought up of learning lessons and changing behavior. I fully agree that voice acting is expensive, and frankly, $13,000 may still not be enough. But I would note that once this campaign ends in four days, Dizzy Hearts will have a combined budget of over $42,000 between the crowdfunding campaigns and Lupiesoft stated investments into it. It could be far more expensive by release day depending on how much longer it has to go. It is not unreasonable to ask at this point where the money is going. Especially with a project this far back in its developmental cycle.
Ultimately, I can only go with the numbers and information we have on the table and this is something I want to emphasize before I go into a personal statement I’d like to leave you with. In doing my research for these articles I kept coming back to a graphic posted on the second Dizzy Hearts campaign page to show the current progress of the game. It is inserted between the hype about voice acting and can be easily missed, so I want to highlight it here:
This, for me, is where all of the questions begin. I understand that all projects take time, however the admitted current progress of the project by Lupiesoft themselves is that its going slow: less than 50% in five years is dead slow in fact. This doesn’t account for any potential revisions in the storyline, ensuring proper programming, whether or not the developers hit another snag like they did five years ago and, oh yeah, the voice acting that has just been funded. I cannot, and have no desire to, make Taosym or anyone at Lupiesoft devote any more time or energy than they are willing to on Dizzy Hearts. However I can and am asking the question what exactly does this campaign do to ensure the project is finished in a timely manner? Have the lessons of the past five years been learned? It’s unfortunate Taosym is unwilling to answer those questions, but I do hope that the new supports of Dizzy Hearts push them. After all, they deserve what they paid for.
And now, for a personal statement.
First off, let me make clear that I, as a personal and professional policy, do not make anonymous posts anywhere: especially on websites that glorify the sort of debasing behavior that has led to the tribalist atmosphere in gaming I am fighting against right now. I have and always will play my cards face up and never shield exactly what I think about what I cover: come what may. I have and will continue to critique Taosym’s work the same as I do for everyone else: which includes suggestions on improving the story in early developmental stages while there is still time to do so. I started doing demo features in the first place because it was asked of me to do just that. My advice is only that and all are free to take or leave it.
I have never personally attacked Taosym or Lupiesoft, and therefore have nothing to apologize for. I have critiqued their work and, now, how they’ve gone about their business the exact same as I have done and will continue to do for every visual novel developer and publisher (heads up Fred Gallagher and Jake Chapman). Ultimately, I neither asked nor expect for developers to love me. If everyone loved or even liked JP the Third or VNs Now, then I haven’t done what I set out to do with this website. VNs Now is about trying to reach as many people as possible an expose them to a genre of gaming they would enjoy, as well as provide critique and conversation about a genre that is so heavily fandom invested that it is rarely thought critically of about outside of those circles. I will continue in that assignment and, in time, even the Devil gets his due.
For now, JP3: OUT.
PS: I’m a self-admitted cynic, not a misanthrop.