Red here! I’m the protagonist for the game, and I’ll be your host for tonight. I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the game. We’ll start off with… yes, you, behind the screen!
What’s this game about?
Simple! This is a narrative-driven life management sim, presented as a visual novel, with some beat-em all segments. Rolls right off the tongue!
In short, this means you’ll play each day of a 6 month calendar, making decisions about how and where to spend each day, each of your decisions affecting my stats, and the overall plot progress. Every once in a while, we’ll have to participate in brawls: either as random occurrences because of thugs and thieves on the street (ugh! I hate those), or because of the matches for the tournament. Oh, and of course, since I’m still a student, there will be tests at school, and I need to make sure to pass most of them… if not all. So, we’d better make sure we’re ready for just about everything!
I didn’t get that. Can’t you be any more precise? How does the game play?
How about this?
- you’ll spend 80% of your time in visual novel mode.
- in visual novel mode, we will progress through the story, presented as interactions between the characters, and make decisions to increase my stats.
- we need to increase 2 different sets of stats: physical, and academic.
- physical stats affect my fighting performance, while academic stats affect how well I’ll perform on tests.
- during fights, the game plays as a beat’em up presented as a fighting game. Think of the boss fights of Streets of Rage 2, as if it were in Street Fighter 2!
So, there’s fighting! What if I’m terrible at fighting games?
Don’t fret! I’m… not the best either, to be honest. But I intend to be, and that’s why we’re together, right? We’ll train, and make it to the top as one. So, if your beat’em up-game style skills are not top notch, there’s nothing to worry about, because:
- it’s mainly stat based. Player skill is a factor (and will be rewarded with achievements, mostly), but the meat of the beat’em up segments is centered around my stats. If I’m trained enough, I’ll be able to wipe the floors with most opponents! …I think. That’s what they told me.
- there are multiple difficulty modes! If you’re up for a challenge, you can always choose the higher difficulty ones, but easy mode is balanced towards offering a completely narrative-driven experience. That doesn’t mean you can fall asleep at your keyboard, but, uh… you get what I mean!
Keyboard? The game is played on keyboard?
Yup, yup! Oh, and gamepad, too!
But… if it’s mostly a visual novel. Why not the mouse?
Because we don’t want to multiply the number of different inputs, so the two game segments use the same controls. The mouse would serve no purpose during beat’em up segments, right ? What this means, in practice, is that this is a 3-button game:
- during the beat-em up game segment, you have an attack button, a jump button, and a “special” button, in addition to the directional arrows
- during the visual novel segment, the buttons allow you to skip text, toggle the status bar, and navigate the choice menus!
Why do you keep saying “beat-em up segment”? The screens make it look like a fighting game. It’s a fighting game!
Looks like an Egyptian, walks like an Egyptian? Sorry, I don’t buy that! In truth, it plays closer to a beat’em up game locked to a 2D plane, with a few select additions of specific fighting-game concepts like blocking. Don’t expect long combos, juggles, cross and mix-ups, or any kind of complex inputs! The aim of the beat-em up segment is to provide dramatic climaxes to the narration in easy-to-play bursts. It’s a completely single player vs. AI experience, too, so no 2-player mode!
What about the visual novel segment? Does it play like a classic visual novel?
I… think it does? I mean, you choose stuff in menus, read text and move it forward. What else is there?
You know: text skipping, voice acting, scene cancel, multiple endings…
Oh, right! Let me see. There’s no text skipping: contrary to most VN’s, some of the text presented during our experience will be composed on the fly using variable checks and some random number generation. That means it’s impossible for the game to track which bits of text have been used previously! But it also means that multiple playthroughs of some events won’t yield the same text output… sometimes! There’s also no voice acting: the script is simply too impossibly huge to be voiced on a one-man team budget… and the intent is to allow players to imagine the voices for each character either way!
As for the rest, you can cancel most scene transitions to speed up the game (though why would you? It’s not a speed-running exercise! Don’t you want us to spend time together?), some of the match intros (if you’ve seen them previously, at least) and other sequences. Like, feel free to skip if I’m having a nightmare. You can also choose between 3 different fonts, 4 font colors sets and 4 text display speeds, to customize the visual novel play experience to your liking!
Also, there are variable endings! There are multiple premature end states throughout the game, and the journey can end on its most positive note at several points. The contents of the ending won’t be dramatically different between each variation, but who you meet, what exactly will be said, and the ultimate outcome will result from your decisions!
Multiple endings for a fighting game?
What about wrestling, then? Is this a wrestling game?
No… not that, either. I mean, sure, it’s obviously inspired by wrestling. Does it mean it’s *about* wrestling? Not in the least! There are plenty of other inspirations tossed in the mix. The masked fighting tournament follows its own rules, and the game’s themes are centered around the characters’ motivations anyway. Don’t expect any reference to real, actual wrestling!
But I want to play a wrestling fighting game, and I thought this would be that!
Well, I’m sorry… but for what it’s worth, one of the game’s central themes is working hard towards what we aspire to most. In that sense, maybe we have more in common than you think? I mean, I want to fight in the tournament too! There’s just lots of training to do beforehand.
Okay, fine. When is it out, so I can see for myself?
Very soon! October 2016 is the current plan!
Will there be a demo, before then?
Yup! In fact, it’s already here! Check it out: https://pehesse.itch.io/honey-rose-underdog-fighter-extraordinaire
Will the game come on other platforms? I’d rather play it on [x]!
Let me be brutally honest for a second: the chances of that ever happening are *very* slim, and as of right now, there are no plans for other ports. The game is built using Construct 2, an HTML5-based engine with no console-export modules, and the game requires a lot of RAM to run at all. To work on any other system, it’d need to be rebuilt from scratch to work on each new specific platform at all, and also change how it uses memory, and possibly reworked to have a different amount of effects on screen. That kind of work requires tools and money I don’t have.
The only scenario where a port would occur would be if the game was a breakout success on PC first, allowing a budget to be gathered for the explicit purpose of porting, and that would only happen if a dedicated audience was large enough to warrant risking investing into the port in the first place (as I’d probably need to contract another studio altogether – that’s very expensive and adds another layer of risk, delays, etc).
All in all: at this point, if you’re interested in the game but would rather it come to another platform, waiting silently is just about the least impactful thing you could do. To make a port happen, I’ll need hard numbers, both in budget (to pay for the team ultimately responsible for the re-making), and in audience (to get into discussions with the platform holders in the first place). If you *really* don’t want to play the current version at all but *really* want to play it on another system, then make some noise! Contact the platform holders and port studios, band with other like-minded folk and make your voices heard to the powers that be. I’m afraid there’s not much need to tell *me* about it, though I’d be glad to hear your enthusiasm, as the decision most likely won’t rest with me in the end!
Now, in a hypothetical scenario where everything was possible, would the game come on other platforms? If it were up to just me, most likely, yes! I would love to see the game on PS4 and Vita, and possibly other platforms, though they’re less likely. Again, this hypothetical future is entirely dependant on the PC version doing outstandingly well, and you have a critical role in making it happen… or not!
What about translations?
For now, the game will release in English only! For a number of reasons, the game’s script is hardcoded, making it very difficult to translate by external people. Also, it’s *very* large, and would require months of additional work for any single translation. I’d love to be read in as many languages as possible, but the realities of development necessitate me to adopt a “wait and see” approach: if the game does well enough to justify additional languages, or if there’s enough interest expressed (politely), and there’s funding to cover the costs that any localization would entail… then definitely! So, kind of like the above. If you really want to the game to be available in another language, then make yourself heard! Supporting the current release will also be a tremendous help! And if all else fails… the game’s dialog goes at your pace, so you can take all the time you need to read it!
Is it possible to pre-order this game?
No! The game will be available as a pay-what-you-liked release, meaning it will be able for free if you so choose. If you feel the need to support the project, however, first of all: thanks a lot! All the information related to the pay-what-you-liked model is available here!
You can also check the dedicated Patreon page to Pehesse’s ongoing work! It covers this game for now, and will start supporting the next immediately after Honey is released! http://www.patreon.com/pehesse
And that’s it from me! Unless you have something else you want to say. In which case, you should probably ask the guy making it directly, using this adress: honeyUFE (at) gmail (dot) com. Sometimes, I think he knows more about this game than I do, it’s a bit weird!