Through the blueprint of: Stella Hoshii

You know, as much as cyberpunk likes to tell you about gaps between the rich and the poor, you don’t actually see the rich that much. Many times the rich might just be a myth for all you know. And when they do show up they’re really flat characters or just plain villains by default.

So what if we explored the idea of rich people in a cyberpunk setting?

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How VA-11 Hall-A drew inspiration from reality TV

Pic taken from The Hollywood Reporter

Back in the early development of VA-11 Hall-A’s full version, at a point where we just managed to spit out a demo and were confident enough to start the full version, we ran into a very particular problem.

We knew we wanted to make character-focused plots like with the prototype, but we needed a way to string them all together on an in-game day. We were working on day 1 and we had Donovan, Ingram, and Sei almost fully written but we didn’t know how to contextualize them together.

Then Kiririn just said “Well, how does Pawn Stars do it?”.

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Through the blueprint of *Kira* Miki

She’s the star that always shines in the dark night sky. She’s the glow that will guide you through your sorrow. She’s the northern light that will show you your dreams.

She’s *Kira* Miki and September 3rd was her birthday.

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Through the blueprint of Betty

On August 19th 2014 we released Prologue as an experiment of sorts. We wanted to test the grounds of a full release (in which we found out the glass ceiling of RenPy… which we’ll discuss at a later date). We also wanted to release… something, anything. Not helped by the fact that people were expecting the game like it had been years in development or something.

And even if she’s not as much of a central figure of the plot in the final version, Betty was for all intents and purposes a trailblazer for us. She’s a very important character in VA-11 Hall-A’s development history.

We made her birthday the Prologue release anniversary for a reason, so let’s talk about Betty.

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Through the blueprint of Streaming-chan

Please note that this post assumes you’ve played through the game at least once. Potential spoilers will be left unmarked.

I love writing off-the-wall and crazy characters, they’re just so much fun. Streaming-chan might be the character I had the most fun writing scenes for.

And since today’s her birthday (August 8th), let’s go through what went into making her, shall we?

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Through the blueprint of Alma

Please note that this post assumes you’ve played through the game at least once. Potential spoilers will be left unmarked.

The reaction to Alma has been interesting. It doesn’t seem like people dislike her, but rather that they like everyone else more. As such, it sometimes feels like even Streaming-chan gets way more attention than her.

And so, the least we can do for her birthday is put her in the spotlight, right?

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Cut Feature: Secret Properties

We’ve seen people theorize if VA-11 Hall-A had content cut at some point, how the ending feels like it’s missing something. The only thing I can comment on that topic is that we’re guilty of many things… except cutting stuff out.

VA-11 Hall-A’s development was a constant rush. From learning how to make a full-fledged game, to dealing with people that claim they’ve been waiting two years for a game that wasn’t even half a year in development, to figuring out what the hell we want to do and where we want the game to go. When you’re in that kind of mentality you calculate every move. Cutting content requires time, effort, and resources you can barely muster as it is. When you add something you make god damn sure it’s there to stay.

For graphical depiction of how it felt to make VA-11 Hall-A, here’s this GIF of Gromit.

There’s a fun story on that topic. Originally the game was planned to have 20 days… but that’s because I can’t do math to save my life and swore the game would end on December 31st with that amount.

Said day was more breather before the ending. It had Alma’s day 17 dialog, Kim’s day 14 dialog, and a brief stint with the dogs that was added to their dialog on day 11. As you can deduce, it wasn’t so much “cut” as it was “relocated everywhere else”. Even the dialog between sets of clients was merged into other days.

That’s not to say there isn’t any stuff we dropped deep into the dev cycle, there’s one such thing in plain sight, actually.

You’ll notice while navigating the recipe book that there’s three properties.

A good ol’ Bad Touch.

The first is the flavor of the drink, the second is the kind of drink it is, and the third… is a “secret property”. Every drink would have this third property marked as “???” at the beginning, only revealing itself if you served it to the right person at the right time.

Someone asked for something to wake them up? Serve them a Bleeding Jane and suddenly the drink would have “Sobering” unlocked in the recipe book, making it easier to know that drink was meant to wake drunkards. A client asked for a strong drink? Pick the right manly drink and you’ll unlock the “Strong” property and a bonus tip! This idea also branched off from an earlier one of manipulating the mood of the clients through the drinks (which is why one of the properties is “happy”).

Why did we cut it? We just didn’t deem it necessary. Development moved on and we just felt like all we needed was “flavor” and “kind”. The closest thing to dialog reflecting this early idea is *Kira* Miki asking for a “soft” drink. We also left the secret properties there because they weren’t hurting anybody and it was easier than fixing all the entries of the recipe book.

The bottled drinks almost followed suit, but we weren’t gonna waste a good Simpsons reference.

The Lewd Report Vol. 3

And here it is, the third edition of the section where we show love to the people drawing our characters making love.

In The Lewd Report we give a shout out and share all the NSFW art we usually refrain from sharing elsewhere. Because we love to death anything VA-11 Hall-A fans make, but we also try to keep our social media feeds as clean as possible. If you get any awkward moments while browsing your feeds they certainly won’t be because of us… or at least not because we decided to share a pic with naughty bits.

Give us a shout on Twitter or Tumblr if you made or found any piece of art/cosplay/altar/etc anyone made. Sometimes people just forget to tag and we can’t share what they do if we can’t find them.

Click here for more details.

Popularity Poll Results 2017!

The popularity poll ended and the results will surprise nobody!

An amazing total of 1318 people participated and chimed in with their opinions, resulting in 6590 votes… of which 3975 are null votes and account for 11832 unassigned points.

Now, here’s the full results!

  1. Jill: 2784 points
  2. Dorothy: 1471 points
  3. Dana: 811 points
  4. Sei: 606 points
  5. Stella: 558 points
  6. Alma: 468 points
  7. Anna: 170 points
  8. Gillian: 169 points
  9. Rad Shiba: 163 points
  10. Kira☆Miki: 161 points
  11. Streaming-chan: 153 points
  12. Betty: 129 points
  13. Virgilio: 54 points
  14. Deal: 51 points
  15. Donovan: 43 points
  16. Jamie: 36 points
  17. Mario: 30 points
  18. Gaby: 28 points
  19. Ingram: 25 points
  20. Art and Kim: 9 points each
  21. Nacho: 8 points
  22. Norma: 7 points
  23. Taylor: 4 points

And here’s some words from the top 10 themselves!

Kira☆Miki: Thank you! Thank you! Everyone who voted for me is also in my personal top 10 of amazing people! All of you tied on the number one spot. Can I get their names to thank them one by one? No? You sure? Pretty please? Oh, you didn’t ask for their names when voting. Bummer.

Rad Shiba: So every dog DOES have his day!

Gillian: Uh… thank you? This feels weird.

Anna: Yay! Thank you for ranking me so high in this not-so-reliable way to measure popularity! Especially considering that for the longest time people had no idea why they should even care about me.

Alma: Man, this kind of stuff is always great for your self-esteem. At least this time Anise Gregor wasn’t here to steal my victory by giving the judges a blowjob.

Stella: Hey Sei, people really love you!

Sei: And I love them too! B-But not in a romantic way, more in like a… platonic way? Is platonic a good word here?

Dana: So proud of y’all.

Dorothy: Thank you everyone! Dorothy loves you too!

Jill: …why?