Pulling back the curtain: Fata Morgana follow-up

Last week, we posted a short post introducing Playism fans to The House in Fata Morgana, a VN by indie developer Novectacle. We asked all of you whether or not you truly wanted the game localized. It’s always been our goal to work our hardest on the titles our fans actually want, and we would be remiss in our duty if we spent our time localizing a title our fans had no interest in playing.

The response we got was overwhelming. We’ve always known that the Western visual novel community is rather vocal, but we didn’t expect the sheer torrent of support we got. Novectacle seemed incredibly excited by the response as well.

Before moving forward, of course, I did want to pull back the curtain, as it were, and offer some insight into our process. There are a lot of aspects of our work that are probably a total mystery to our fans, especially our financials. Hopefully this does help to explain our situation, specifically with Fata Morgana.

Because we deal with indie developers in our localization work, being paid up front for our localization work is not always possible. We don’t think it’s fair to limit our services to those that have the money stashed away. This is especially unfair when you consider that Japanese independent developers predominantly release their earlier games for free in Japan to gain a reputation, making no money in the process.

As a result, we try our best to accomodate our developers by offering a bevy of options. In the case of Novectacle, their interest in localization is obvious. They stipulated that they wanted 100% of the revenue of Fata Morgana’s sales on Playism JP to go straight towards its EN localization. That truly floored us.

As it stands, though, the sad news is that, so far, Fata Morgana’s sales on Playism JP are far lower than we’d need to fund localization. Is that the end of Fata Morgana?

No. Not really. We have a couple options.

  1. Simply put, we could wait and see. We want Fata Morgana to be a success on both sides of the pond, but the cold hard facts are that it needs to succeed in Japan first, before we can bring it to the West. The game only recently went on sale in Japan, and we’re hoping that sales will pick up as we move forward into the summer.
  2. Crowdfunding is always an option. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have proven to be amazing resources for niche titles with a fervent following, but no significant financial backing. To be clear, we’ve only considered this option because we want to bring this game to you guys any way we can.

In the end, bringing Fata Morgana to all of you is something we’ve talked about heavily, and we have a lot of great ideas on how we can do that. We believe in the product, and we believe that those who have already told us they want it are not alone. We’re constantly having internal discussions about how we go about it, and we hope you stay with us through the process.

Until decide upon our course of action, keep tweeting and mailing us, and let us know that you want Fata Morgana!

4 thoughts on “Pulling back the curtain: Fata Morgana follow-up

  1. Have you considered a Kickstarter? I’m not suggesting this lightly, I think the project lends itself very well to such a way of funding its localisation.
    There clearly is a lot of interest in the west for this project, and I’ve seen more than one commenter suggesting that they’d back this were to be put on KS.

    The art is gorgeous, and I know (having stalked their JP site) that they do sell their OST as well, perhaps you could consider making one of the stretch goals a physical copy of the game, and at higher tiers, a physical copy with added stuff (such as the OST and maybe some nice prints).

    The poor sales on your Japanese site aren’t *too* surprising: this title has been sold in physical copies and digital download quite a bit before it hit Playism.jp, as I understand it. On the other hand, there’s no English version of it on sale yet: that’s virgin territory, and you’d get all the sales.

    Also keep in mind that Fata Morgana seems to serve the kind of audience that at the moment doesn’t have much of this kind of product: a VN with gorgeous art, no erotic content, a gothic setting and more focus on a mysteryous story than on sappy romance.

    If you were to embrace the KS suggestion, I’d advise you to try and have the lowest price that allows one to buy the game (in its downloadable, no-frills version) around 15$: I’ve read several articles that suggest that’s the most common pledge on KS, and the sort of price that people don’t think much about spending on that site. Of course, afterwards, you’d sell the game on your site for a higher price, and the backers would have the nice bonus of having had the game for a smaller price to thank them for their support.

    Equally, those who want a nicer version would more than likely be happy to spend more for increasingly nicer bonuses (for a physical copy with some nice pin and poster and interesting packaging with printed art I know I wouldn’t hesitate to pay around 100%).

    And hey, if you do go for a Kickstarter, I will try and promote for you as much as I can, just like I’ve done for your original post. This project is just too great to not be localised in English!

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