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.

VA-11 Hall-A, one year later

VA-11 Hall-A is one year old today, which also means Sukeban Games is on its third anniversary, though me and Lark have been making games for way longer than that.

Anyway, we are people of few words here at this company, despite the type of games we are known for. I don’t think we are exactly transparent either, even if we did unveil a game as soon as we finished its prototype.

Good thing we are not going to do that again.

We like to keep things for ourselves it seems, but one thing we can’t keep to ourselves is our huge gratitude towards each and every single one of you reading this. The success of VA-11 Hall-A is something that was beyond our wildest projections. To give you some perspective, my initial sales target for the game was something like 6000 copies.

The game has sold more than 150k copies since.

Basically Sukeban Games right now.

 

We didn’t even think we would get much fanart or anything of the sort, yet all our social networks are filled to the brim with wonderful fan work from all over the world, including cosplay and even a small doujinshi. That’s something I just can’t describe; it’s an otherworldly feeling. We are used to be the fans, not the creators getting all sorts of homages to their work.

And well, I don’t need to say that these sales numbers pretty much sealed our destiny. We’ll keep making games for a long time, so if you loved Valhalla, you’re in luck, or something like that.

God, actually, there’s a lot of stuff in my head I want to write about but I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like writing a big, thick and sweaty post-mortem about the game’s development, but at the same time I just want to go back to work and shitpost at the Valhalla Discord, which is like 1 year old too.

I guess the less I can do is talk about the future.

We have three games currently in production

Plus whatever quick stuff we come up with. We can’t say much about them because… well, it’s too fucking early. Valhalla was unveiled at day 0, so when it took like two years to be finished people were already lumping us with the likes of Wolf Girl With You, which came out around the same time as Valhalla funnily enough.

This, Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian all came out in the same year. It really makes you think.

 

What I want to say is that we’ll properly announce our new projects once we feel we have enough to show them, and are closer to their respective release dates. That way we won’t disappoint anyone with delays and all that jazz. We’ve learned a lot about the process of making games, and it would be silly to repeat the same mistakes that dragged down Valhalla’s progress, which existence is already a damn miracle considering we didn’t know shit about Game Maker (the program we used) back when we started, much less about finishing a full-length commercial videogame.

I just want to make sure everyone’s expectations are on check.

Oh, and before anyone says three projects are too much for two people; don’t worry about it. Just like Valhalla, we’ll adapt the scope of the games to whatever we can make at the moment, and being a company of two people doesn’t really mean we can’t get some extra help from cool freelancers. We are OK, seriously, we can handle it. We released a commercial videogame without leaving Venezuela in the progress, so nothing is impossible for us.

Our next big project will certainly surprise everyone, maybe due to its unusual genre, or maybe its graphical fidelity, we don’t know! We just like to experiment a lot with what videogames can do as we (hopefully) demonstrated with VA-11 Hall-A, so we hope you’re as excited as us, even if you have no idea what the heck we’re talking about.

I guess that would be all. I swear I had more in my head rather than just a bunch of THANK  YOU’s to give, but I guess this will do for now.

Nos vemos en Tres Alicias, and let’s hope the header picture makes sense in less than a year for all of you.

 

PS: I haven’t forgotten about my promise of official lewds if we sold 100k copies, I’m just practicing some more to do it justice. SERIOUSLY, STOP THE BULLYING.

PS 2: Valhalla will keep seeing some more updates in the future, mostly to add additional languages, but don’t expect new content.