If you didn’t already know, people really like visual novels. Time and time again Kickstarter seems to show that well put together, and maybe even not so well put together, visual novels attract backers en masse. At the time of writing this article the two most contributed to and active Kickstarter campaigns in the Games section are for the visual novel projects, “Clannad” and, “The Grisaia Trilogy.” Both have massively overshot their initial funding goals and, currently, have a combined total of more than $600,000 in backer funding.
More recently, the visual novel aficionados seem to be casting favorable glances at one of the newest campaigns to hit the website. With over thirty days left remaining in the campaign, “But I Love You,” presents a unique concept that lies somewhere between dating sim, horror game, and visual novel. Having already met their comparatively modest funding goals, developer Gorshatastic! has lined up a series of stretch goals they hope to meet to make their game exactly as they envision.
Dating sims and visual novels are recognized by many as completely different categories, and at first glance “But I Love You” seems to identify as the former. A lone man seeking reprieve from the busy city life stumbles upon a virtually abandoned village except for a number of cute girls who seem all too eager to win his affections. Pretty standard fare for fans of anime and manga, but Gorshatastic! decided to turn those conventions on their head a bit by adding in the horror elements that players can choose to either ignore, or delve deep into, and find the clues that potentially expose the dark secrets the empty village and overly affectionate inhabitants keep. With plenty of, “romantic,” paths to take and plenty of girls to court, or flee from, “But I Love You,” seems to offer a varied experience for those who want to add a little spice to their next visual novel experience.
While full voice acting support is generally something that many studios who specialize in visual novels like to support, Gorshatastic! has decided that other priorities come first. Instead, the team hopes to implement downloadable art, additional scenes, and even the option to play as the opposite gender, while providing some minor voice acting and sound effects, before trying to meet the demands of a project that is fully voiced.
While full voice acting is a feature that will be added if the group hits a particularly high stretch goal, it is again considerably modest compared to the other extremely successful visual novel projects currently on Kickstarter. The fact that Lead Writer and Programmer for “But I Love You,” Mel Gorsha, is also a voice actor probably helps make it a possibility, but with a cast of six characters, at the moment, she will likely need some assistance.
Currently no release date expectation has been set for the project, and Gorshatastic! seems largely focused on product promotion, Steam Greenlight, and gathering as much support as possible for their Kickstarter. Thankfully, the risk to backers seems relatively low compared to other projects as well considering that the $15 pledge secures a digital copy of the game upon release.
If you ever thought love could be creepy, or if you’ve always thought love to be creepy, then this might be a title that knows exactly what you mean.