Last year was a rough one for developer Yangyang Mobile. They had just raised $33,946 on their 2015 Kickstarter campaign and were in full development of their horror visual novel, The Letter. After barely meeting their goal they found themselves hounded by drama. Eventually, the team had no choice, but to delay the game’s release until 2017.
This year Yangyang is hoping to meet their new deadline and exceed expectations like a boss at the same time. Early access backers got their first hands-on experience with Chapter 1 and 2 of The Letter at the end of 2016. For those of us who missed out on the Digital Exclusive tier, an update on Kickstarter gives us a sneak peek at the progress Yangyang Mobile has made so far.
Perhaps the most impressive insight in the update is the sheer size of the project. The initial campaign projected the story to fall somewhere around 180k words. Yangyang reports that the first five chapters are mostly complete with two more remaining. Despite some delays the game’s current word count sits somewhere over 350k.
The visual aspects have also seen a good deal of progress. All backgrounds in the game are complete. Major and minor character sprites are done with only a few lingering bugs remaining to be fixed. Full screen CG images are still in the works with animations being complete for Chapters 1-3. Rather than go all in on the animations, Yangyang is aiming to keep the movements subtle so as not to distract from the story. While I like some of the light effects demonstrated in the update, the character movement feels incredibly stilted and awkward. Maybe it feels smoother in-game?
Backers will be pleased to hear that a “skip only read text” function has finally been implemented. This will make it easier to go back and try for one of the game’s multiple endings without having to reread the entire story. Text skipping is always a much appreciated addition to any visual novel. The game’s QTE feature, which hasn’t always won over the fan base, can now be disabled in the options menu.
Not Just Another Dating Sim
The Letter wasn’t on my radar before today, but now that I’ve taken a look I’m actually looking forward to this game. Not only does it seem to have massive story clout, but the horror aspect has definitely peaked my interest. It doesn’t hurt that our hands-on with the original demo had the reviewer running scared.
Beta Access Backers will have access to Chapter 3 and 4 sometime in January or early February. The rest of us will just have to check out the updated demo while we wait to get our shot at The Letter.