On Monday we published the first part a trilogy of interviews we did with Frontwing and the Director of Corona Blossom, Hantenbosi. In that interview we discussed Corona Blossom as a whole. This time we’re going to delve more some more specific topics including crowdfunding and the games 18+ content. For those of you unfamiliar with Frontwing they developed The Fruit of Grisaia, it’s sequels and spinoffs. As well as published Purino Party and The Afterglow of Grisaia. Please enjoy and be sure to grab a copy of Corona Blossom on Steam as well as the 18+ Patch from DLsite ecchi.
Operation Rainfall: What made you decide to release the game in the West on Steam before the Japanese Physical Edition?
Hantenbosi [director of Corona Blossom]: Up until now, we’ve only produced games for distribution in Japan, but for this new project we wanted to be able to release the game worldwide. Steam was an essential tool in making this possible.
Additionally, since the Steam release contains Japanese text as well as English, it truly is a worldwide simultaneous release – Japan included.
We’re releasing a physical version in Japan as well, along with tapestries to sell and small giveaways, but the physical production for these items takes time, so the release date ended up being a month later than the Steam version. Timeframe aside, we’re releasing the same way we usually do domestically, so Japanese fans can also rest easy.
“Localization is, of course, just as demanding a task as scenario writing is.”
OR: Why do you think people in the West enjoy Visual Novels, despite the fact the voices they’re hearing aren’t in their native language?
H: Of course the quality of the visual novel itself is one factor, but I think the skill of the voice actors also plays a large role. Even if the language is different, you can get a lot of immersion just from hearing the tones and speaking style of a voice actor. In fact, regardless of language, voice acting can reveal thoughts and feelings that text alone can’t.
Japanese anime may also have an influence – I’m sometimes taken aback by how much Japanese our overseas fans have learned!
OR: This is the first game that your new in-house translation team is working on. What made you decide to do this in-house rather partner with another company?
H: Localization is, of course, just as demanding a task as scenario writing is.
Doing localization in-house makes communication easier, everyone functions as a team and scheduling issues are reduced as well. Incidentally, for the longest time, Japanese was the only language you’d hear in the office, so it’s fun to start overhearing other languages as well!
OR: For our readers out there who aren’t familiar with it, what is a “JLPT N1” certification and why is it important for your translators to have?
H: I actually wasn’t familiar with it myself – I’d like to try my hand at it, haha.
In visual novels, there’s often a lot of otaku-oriented slang and other Japanese that you don’t necessarily see in ordinary life. Additionally, the script is often closer to spoken language than written language, so being able to understand the speech patterns used in anime and manga is another important qualification.
Maybe they should make an OLPT – Otaku Language Proficiency Test.
OR: Was there anything in particular [that] you had difficulty localizing or translating?
H: Translating the game while it was in development was interesting! Sometimes things appeared differently to how we imagined them to be initially, so some changes had to be made before release.
We also made sure to keep the sci-fi theme prominent throughout the game. Most of the staff, including writer Yuhi Nanao, are big sci-fi fans, so it contains quite a few references to other works – even in the X-rated scenes! Keeping these references recognizable in English, but without sounding like they were forced in, was one of the difficult aspects of the translation. And since mechs play a large role in Corona Blossom, translating all the technical lingo required some research as well.
Another difficulty we faced was to accurately convey the character relationships, since the characters use lots of quirky ways to address each other in Japanese. We came up with nicknames to convey these in English, but had to use a chart to keep track of them during the translation process, and ensure consistency.
OR: The Corona Blossom project was successfully crowdfunded with 151% of its goal reached [on IndieGoGo]. How does that make you feel?
H: I really want to personally thank everyone who contributed! I was definitely moved by the amount of support we received. I was especially pleased that our first attempt at a worldwide simultaneous release was received so well.
We plan to keep being as proactive as possible in the realm of overseas support, especially in regards to making a wide range of goods available.
“For this title, the 18+ scenes take the form of a sort of ‘what –if’ scenario.”
OR: Will there be ways for fans to get a physical copy and other goods for Chapter 2 and beyond?
Well, what I’m curious about is, books seem to be heading swiftly down the digital route, with devices like the Kindle being extremely popular, but do most people still want physical packages for games?
The demand for physical releases is certainly strong from the otaku crowd here in Japan, is there a similar demand from die-hard fans worldwide?
As far as goods are concerned, as mentioned before we’re currently lining up a variety of goods to be sold overseas!
OR: Do you find yourself surprised by how receptive Western fans have been to Corona Blossom?
H: You’re absolutely correct; I was blown away by both the scope and the strength of the support we’ve received.
The illustrator for Corona Blossom, nanaca mai, was also involved with the Grisaia series, which has had an anime adaptation, so I expected a positive response to a certain extent, but I was very pleased that the story and background of the game have been well-received too.
OR: In addition to the Steam release, there will be an 18+ patch available for Corona Blossom. Do you think that the Eroge scenes in Corona Blossom add anything to the narrative emotionally or romantically?
For this title, the 18+ scenes take the form of a sort of “what –if” scenario.
The upshot of this is that during these scenes, the heroines act much more erotically than they do in the main story.
Across the three volumes, there are adult scenes for all of the heroines, but we felt that if these scenes were part of the main story, the protagonist would feel like too much of a ladies man, so we decided to change it up a little. This also meant that we could focus more freely on the story when writing, without having to worry about working in erotic scenes.
OR: About how much content will be added to Corona Blossom with the 18+ Patch?
H: There are three adult scenes in Corona Blossom Vol.1. Additionally, two of these scenes are animated, giving them a vivid, smoothly slippery quality.
Just a 2-dimensional picture in motion is nice enough, but our special animation technique makes the scenes that much more erotic! Of course, if you prefer still images for your viewing experience, that’s an option as well.
OR: How are you going to distribute the 18+ patch for each chapter release?
H: For overseas customers, the 18+ patch is currently available on DLsite ecchi. Sale of the patch through other digital storefronts is currently under consideration.
OR: Why did you decide to offer an All-Ages version and an 18+ version?
H: We wanted to provide a version of the game that anyone could play, essentially, though there is also the fact that Steam currently doesn’t allow the sale of games with strong sexual content.
OR: Do you think Corona Blossom will appeal to a wide audience of people? With or without the 18+ patch?
H: Even the non-erotic parts, like seeing our heroines get along – or not get along – are a lot of fun, so we think a wide variety of people will be able to enjoy the game!
This is Part Two of a Three-Part interview. Please return on Friday at 9 am for Part Three, where we talk about the various characters of Corona Blossom with Hantenbosi!
Why do you think Western fans enjoy Visual Novels so much? Were you a backer of Corona Blossom? Does DLsite ecchi work for you as a place to purchase the 18+ patch? Let us know on Twitter, on Facebook, and of course in the comment below.