finishing that dumb twitter rant

i honestly don’t even know why i’m still writing this but whatever i guess. it picks up from here if for some reason you care https://twitter.com/rikofanvnwhen/status/943255926705762304

anyway, i no longer really cared about Missing Stars because it was just a shell of the project i’d started off really passionate about, and also the other people working on it and their attitudes changed and just… yeah it was No Bueno

but there was Alienworks, and HRP. through SP we suddenly had access to all these connections that I’d never really imagined were possible. famous japanese singers, artists, voice actors… people who you don’t really dream about working with, because it doesn’t even seem like a conceptually feasible idea. a dream is generally something that has a nearly impossible, but tiny chance of actually happening. for a random english vn dev, working with someone like Sasaki Sayaka seemed farfetched even as a dream. but here we are. or were. or at least i was. you probably weren’t.

to me, i wondered if people felt about alienworks the same way i had once felt about missing stars. did they see what they were doing, and then redouble their efforts in an attempt to match us? did they follow our social media, hoping that maybe one day we’d want to hire someone with their skillset? i felt like we were the best, even without releasing a game, and then when highway blossoms came out that just confirmed it.

but the cracks were starting to show. we were hemorrhaging hitomi writers. our art style was inconsistent. a lot of cg’s were off-model. most of us were suffering from burnout. i realized that for the most part, we (or at least I) were just getting hyped off our own potential, rather than our own accomplishments. the hrp demo was… okay? our reworked stuff is… pretty good? but it’s not amazing. basically everything that had gone wrong with missing stars was kind of happening again, or at least starting to.

so i decided to start elan. i’ve said before that i don’t intend to leave alienworks after hrp, but i don’t know if i’m telling that to myself or to the rest of AW or what. i’m not really sure who would care, honestly. but i digress. with a new group came of course new ideas, and with new ideas came new potential.

it’s extremely arrogant of me to say, given that, once again, we don’t actually have any released games, but i feel the same way about elan now that i felt about alienworks for a while. that we are, and will be, the best. a huge part of that is SP and the support I’ve received through them, which made things like working with namie possible. but i hope that part of that is also myself.

i’m not sure if it’s generous or narcissistic, or perhaps both, but i enjoy giving people their “first shot” so to speak. i guess in part it’s because i appreciate the appreciation, but also because i think back to how i felt when i first got asked to write for missing stars, and i want other people to feel that way about elan. i think maybe that’s what i was getting at with this whole thing.

 

i want to recreate that magical feeling of self-certainty and potential, but without the dropoff and the burnout. i want a team that feels like a team, not just a bunch of people working on the same project. i go out of my way to hire people that i think will get along with each other, rather than just who i think is objectively the most skilled at a particular thing. nothing makes me happier than hearing that elan folks dm each other, chat, etc. outside of the server chatrooms. i want people to be friends and work for each other’s sake, not just mine or their own. i think that, if nothing else, i’ve succeeded at that fairly well. i want both that chemistry and that talent to be obvious to people on the outside; people who in turn want to be a part of it themselves. i want everyone who is part of studio elan to always feel the same way i did when i first joined missing stars, and i don’t want that feeling to fade away. i want people to feel proud that, out of all the dev teams and projects out there, that they got picked to work for elan. i don’t know if that’s noble or if that’s arrogant. maybe both. honestly, same.

and i want to do that while still making better games than anyone else. sorry syon.

2016 Thank Yous

I’m writing this instead of working on HRP stuff, which is what I should really be doing. I’ll get back to it when I’m done.

 

Before I get too far in, I’d like to say thank you to a few people who were a crucial part of my year. That way, if you just wanna see if you were mentioned, you can read this part and then skip the wall of text below. I know that I thank people a lot, and maybe even too much, but still… Can’t hurt to be too grateful.

 

First and foremost, thanks to Mondo, Syon, Auric, Jack, Kevin, Jasper, Katz, Myuto, Rosu, Weee, Shiyun, Tim, Cali, Faust, Red, Vogue, Z, Aimless and TOP. I’m immensely proud of what we’ve created together and will continue to create, and though I’ve said it before, I’m honored to call each and every one of you a friend. I know that I’m not always easy to work with, and I know that most of you have probably wanted to punch me in the face at some point or another (and half the time, I’d probably deserve it). While I can’t guarantee that that won’t be the case in 2017 as well, I’ll try to minimize the instances.

 

Thank you to Andrew (who will probably never read this) for being my best friend for most of my life. I’m glad we were able to spend more time together in 2016, and even if it’s the last year where we can do so, I’m confident in the fact that our friendship can survive oceans’ worth of distance. ありがとうございます.

 

Thank you to Chris, Raymond, Evan, Ben, Aaron, Frances, Nicole, Nick and Steph, and especially to David and Sam. It’s been my pleasure and honor to have worked with you for at least some part of my life, and I’ve learned so much from all of you. I will always wish that things had turned out differently in some regards, and I know that I’m not the only one. Still, I will forever be in the debt to everyone who has worked at Sekai Project, and who have at some point put an immense amount of faith and trust in me. I will do my best to continue to live up to those expectations.

 

Thank you to Howard, who, knowingly or not, has been an inspiration for years now. More than that, I’m glad that we’re friends and I hope that we can actually work on something together, eventually. Regardless, I hold for AiD and Fault the utmost respect, and hope that I can create something just as great someday.

 

Thank you to everyone who read Highway Blossoms, whether you loved or hated it. I appreciate your giving it a chance. And especially to Ally, Miki, and Ema: I know that times can be hard for you, and feel that nobody cares, but please know that I do. Even when I’m too anxious to say anything or feel that it’s not my place: I would miss you if you were gone.

 

Thank you to Samantha, as well. I have high hopes for TWB and am looking forward to creating it with you. I’ll do my best to always do my best. Let’s make this one a gamechanger.

 

Thank you to Noa, Rachel, and all of the other new internet-friends I’ve met this year. You all make my timeline a brighter place and I hope we can be better friends in the upcoming year.

 
And finally, thank you to anyone else who reads this. There are lots of other people I should probably mention, but this is already shaping up to be longer than I expected. Please know that if you feel like you deserved a mention on this list, you’re probably right, and I’m sorry for not including you by name.

About Me

My name is Josh Kaplan. I’m a 21 year-old writer currently based out of Colorado, in the United States. I am one of the writers and the producer for Alienworks, a Western-based visual novel company. Our first game, The Human Reignition Project, raised almost $50,000 on Kickstarter – over double our funding goal. Our second title, Highway Blossomsis a linear yuri visual novel and will be released in May of 2016.

In addition, I wrote Melody’s route in the upcoming visual novel Starlight Vega, est. release Q2 2016.

While I am not currently seeking additional work, I will consider project offers. I can be reached via email at [email protected]

I work for the California-based localization and publishing company, Sekai Project. We specialize in bringing Japanese and Japanese-inspired games and visual novels to a Western audience. All inquiries regarding visual novel publishing or other Sekai Project services can be directed to my work email [email protected] or [email protected]