I'm coming out.
I, Sammy, am a heterosexual female.
Now if you want to go and clicky that little "x" box right up there on your browser or de-follow me or something, I'd completely understand. Just know that your bigotry is not appreciated by the world at large and I don't need your acceptance to love myself. I know that maybe reading the blog of a straight girl who writes games for straight guys might make you uncomfortable. But I hope you can look beyond who I am as a person and see me for my ideas.
All joking aside, it sometimes weirds me out how much I enjoy playing and writing bishojo games despite being a straight lady. I guess the romance novel aspect of it just really hits home for me.
Don't kid yourself, I enjoy playing bishojo games, but hot damn do I LOVE playing Otome games. For ALL the wrong reasons. Read: 1.) the guys are hot, 2.) the guys are hot, 3.) Hot damn that's some pretty art and 4.) the guys are hot.
Now don't get me wrong, I can tell a bad Otome game just as easily as I can call out a bad bishojo game. And I hate suffering through either. But my libido just gets to me when playing super cute games about adorable heroines getting swept up by their prince charmings (or Prince Meganes, as I happen to often lean towards. =3=)
Still, Project "O" is an otome project, while Project "G" is bishojo. (Project G is my first title and is further along at this point). Project "O" isn't necessarily any easier to write than Project G was. Why is that? Shouldn't my perspective as a straight girl make it easy for me to develop some super likable guys that I just know will make girls' heads spin?
Yes and no. There are certain qualities about various characters that certain women find attractive and others consider a total turn-off. For instance, in Yo-Jin-Bo, a bunch of fans went crazy over little Yo, the youngest character in the game. I found Yo to be adorable, but not necessarily hot stuff. His ending, for me was "meh" at best.
So how do I approach making a game where I want each character to appeal to the player? Surely, I can start by making them all appeal to me in some way. But what about diversity? I'm certainly not the final word on what makes any person attractive, female or male. How can I make sure that I'm not just making a cast that appeals to me and people like me?
Well, I can of course pull from the tropes. They're tropes for a reason - they work. And to a certain extent, I've done that. But to make my characters more human, I've fleshed them out more, made them more down-to-earth, a bit more likable. I've also made sure to include characters who may not be super-OMG-hotstuff at first, but perhaps will grow on the player. Each guy is going to be super cute, don't get me wrong. But I want there to be a serious discrepancy in personality. I don't want carbon copies of my favorite Otome character, or anyone's favorite otome character for that matter.
I don't want to rely exclusively on the tropes and stereotypes because I don't want my player to write off my characters as "oh, the tsundere" or "oh, the tortured type" or "oh, the prince". That's not doing them justice. And it might be fun to play a game with your favorite guy in it once again (oh, Megane-sama), but that won't leave an impression - that won't make someone care.