Our first game as MoaCube is out! This is a very important première for us. It’s just the beginning, the first project of (hopefully) many more to come. Everything depends, of course, on the players. I won’t lie – this is a big risk for us. We have great ideas and potential, but surviving out there as an indie team, without external funding, is challenging.
Before MoaCube, we worked for other gaming companies, but we decided to start our own thing. That way we can create smaller, but very polished products, that we can sign as ours and be proud of them, responsible for every single detail. Last year we were basically living only on our savings (and some commissions in my case) and it was quite stressful. But I think we finally managed to make the game we wanted.
I’d like to tell you why many players should find Cinders fun – from my point of view. I don’t want to promote it shamelessly, just explain why we wanted our first game to be a visual novel, and why it’s a bit different from many other out there.
But first.. some screenshots!
In my opinion a proper visual novel should be what adventure games are – just without the whole point&click or action parts. An adventure distilled to pure decision making. And visual novels are the only genre that should focus solely on that. I always dislike it, in any game, when I’m given a choice and it’s purely cosmetic. That’s why many visual novels were no more than just a guilty pleasure to me. The graphics were usually pretty bad, and I don’t mean it because I don’t like manga in general, but because of their sloppiness and lack of consistent style (using filtered photos for backgrounds with hand-drawn characters). But that’s just one thing. The main problem is usually the story. I always get involved just to find out that no matter what I do, I get one of the few simple endings. Often not coming logically from my actions. Add to that billions of typos, generic music and you get the ‘guilty’ in the ‘guilty pleasure’.
I think every game, no matter the genre, should be done with respect for the players. They should get a complete product, working as a whole in every aspect, polished, tested and checked for typos. It’s not possible to catch every little thing, of course (and in a script 436 pages long we surely missed something), but most games in this genre don’t even try. Don’t get me wrong, there ARE good visual novels out there (it’s certainly a topic for another post), but they’re really rare.
We wanted to change that in Cinders. We don’t have 3D graphics, a big budget and action scenes. But what we do have is the story. A story of Cinderella. Only this time you get to decide how it ends. It’s more like an interactive book, where you really get to re-write it every time you play, but it certainly fits the ‘visual novel’ genre, as much as general ‘adventure’ genre too.
If you’re mean to your sisters – their attitude and actions towards you will be different. Not only in the end, but also during your game. And it will affect some parts of the story too.
If you lose the respect of a certain man – you won’t be able to become his lover. On the other hand, being his friend can prove to be useful too. But not knowing or caring for him will also result in different things.
Regardless of if your Cinders is a pure idealist or a manipulative seductress, if she doesn’t act smart enough, she won’t be a very useful queen for the kingdom. If that is what you will choose to become, because maybe the fairytale ending is not really your thing, and you’d prefer to become independent and restore your own house to its former glory? Maybe you’d like to get rid of your stepmother? Or just the opposite – maybe you always thought this character was misunderstood and you’d like to make her like and respect you?
This is all possible in Cinders, and much more. Not only your direct actions matter, but also your attitude changes a lot of things. And it doesn’t only show in the Ending, but is visible during the game too. That was our goal. And ‘visual novel’ genre felt like a perfect match to make it possible.
And I think we managed. At least, after more than a week of not sleeping enough and testing hundreds of variants, editing typos, bugs and all that before-release craze.. and after many months of general development, I think we’re delivering you a very exciting adventure that feels different each time you play it. Not to mention I hope you’ll enjoy my artwork too.
Even if you don’t like ‘visual novels’ as a whole, at least give our demo (PC & Mac) a try! :)