There are certain things in life that turns into an Nathan Drake adventure without you even trying. After today, I think it's fair for Mitsumata to be in that category. Tracking down Rosegold Games was far from simple, but after starting at DeviantArt, then digging out an old-email address, I was able to get in touch with someone inside of Rosegold: let's just call them RG until they e-mail back a name.
Back again from the walls of the Forbidden City, this month I come bearing news about the upcoming release of Mitsumata! What happened for Kin-ou to become Rosegold? What is 'Marketing Guy' working on? And will this be one of the longest EVNs made? All of the answers are below!
VNs Now: When we first heard of Mitsumata, it was being developed by the Kin-ou group. Clearly, something changed since then. Can you tell us what led the original management to leave?
Rosegold Games: The original team had a lot of people and a focus that was a bit scattered, and unfortunately the artists were having trouble keeping up to the time schedules so that made the process very stressful. On top of that, the second person running the group ran into a lot of issues with university which slowed things down. The other is still writing for us, so the story is still being handled by its creator.
VNs Now: To the best of my knowledge, it is rare for an English Visual Novel project to continue after the original minds behind it leave it. What about Kin-ou or Mitsumata encouraged you to come in?
RG: Well, one of the minds is still with us, just not as a head role! I had already been following the project and Erin read the opening script and loved it and joined on right after that. Besides the gorgeous art, the story is amazing and unlike any VN I've played before. I'm awful at the mini-games, but there are ways to make your game easier and it's one of those stories where you don't mind sitting there for a few extra hours trying to figure out a puzzle because you desperately need to know what's going to happen next.
VNs Now: After the change in management, a lot of the platforms I found Mitsumata on disappeared. The website and blog were taken down, there are no Facebook or Twitter pages that I know of and you guys are not on the usual EVN forums. Until I found the DeviantArt page, I seriously thought Mitsumata had been put down. What was your reasoning behind that?
RG: We wanted to make way for new things, and specifically, because we do work on this in our free time and we want to put our resources to good use, we wanted to spend less time showing and more time doing. That's also why we're going really slowly; we want to make this perfect, and because the game is ~100K+ words, not including text outside of the script, we have a lot of game to test. I'd say it's probably going to be THE longest VN originally written for English speaking audiences. Just one run-through of the game from beginning to one ending will run a player about 8 hours, without the player trying to collect everything, and there are so far 4 good endings (we may add one more) and a good 10 or so for bad ones.
VNs Now: While I’ve learned a lot about Mitsumata, I still know very little about the team behind it. I know there are six people on the Rosegold team, what can you tell me about them and their contributions to the project?
RG: We're all anime fans in our early to late 20s, we all have lives outside of this work. Our artists are both students, everyone else works. We do commissions for other people to raise money for our own projects, whatever we can't handle, and Erin does a lot of freelance translation as well. Our main programmer is a pretty decent guy and good at what he does, and we also have a second programmer who just helps tie up loose ends. One writer runs a gaming site, and another writes for some online columns. We live all over the place, in the US and out!
Wait...her clothes weren't on in my other dreams...
VNs Now: There are several different gameplay elements in Mitsumata including platforming that, frankly, surprised and excited me. Were those elements already apart of the game or was that something that came with the change in management?
RG: I'd say the platforming mini-game and the farming mini-game were the only things that were really fresh; everything else had been in mind already. Though the platforming game took a lot more out of us than we expected, but once we get the animated background moving just right, we're really excited for the final look.
VNs Now: The story of Mitsumata is set up as a pretty dark spin on the whole ‘finding out you're actually kind of special’ trope, but from what I’ve read the game doesn’t solely focus on Riku who, I’m assuming, is pretty much the main character. What can we expect from the rest of cast and story once it begins to branch out?
RG: Riku is the first character you really get to know, but he's far from the only main character. Roman is something of a second main character; the game shifts between their narration once you get to know Roman and his life a bit more. The story is linear, but each path focuses on different characters. So you can choose to keep up with Riku throughout the game, who does his own thing, or you can choose to hang out with Roman, who you often see with Soume, OR, you can choose to hang out with two other characters and get more insight on what happened in the past, before the story started. Each path is a different part of the same story, told by a different character, and to understand the entire thing, you have to complete them all.
VNs Now: You have talked somewhat about ‘Marketing Guy’; someone who is supposed to be helping get Mitsumata to a larger audience. What progress has he made and can we expect for there to be other Mitstumata-related projects coming from your group?
RG: He's actually gotten us some meetings with pretty major companies, but we don't want to say too much outside of that until we have some word from them. Ideally, Mitsumata will be a trilogy, each its own complete story.
Dark skin...gold eyes...siblings. Definitely Siblings.
VNs Now: What’s the current status of Mitsumata? Last we heard things were close to being done.
RG: At this point, we're doing all the little end-game things that need to be done. Making sure every scene works. Making sure every scene works in relation to the other scenes. Doing screen effects and finishing up CGs, doing Photoshop effects on any remaining sprites so that they fit well into the backgrounds, and seeing if there's any other art that would benefit the final look of the game. Tinkering with mini-game code and battle stats to make sure they're not too hard or too easy. Making sure that the player can easily get in and out of each screen, adding status messages everywhere we can think of, checking and editing the script so that each piece fits together without odd transitions, making sure the instructions are understandable, making sure that not only does everything work individually, and scene-by-scene, but altogether. Because the game is so long, we have to play the entire thing through quite a few times, and in between work and school, and 20+ hours of game, you can imagine that can take quite a while with so many endings.
VNs Now: Thank you very much for taking time to speak with me and good luck with Mitsumata!
RG: Thank you for asking!
Find out more about Mitsumata on Rosegold's Deviantart Page!