Dig Baton Rouge

The dating game: Local game developers use Kickstarter for upcoming release

Local independent game studio Jetstreame is currently raising funds for its latest project entitled Cyberpunk Casanova. The game is a product of a partnership with musicians collective, Patchwork Villain and native Baton Rouge game developer Godric Johnson of Jetstreame, based out of Louisiana Technology Park.

“Cyberpunk Casanova is a project that is years in the making,” Johnson said. “We are striving to create a different take on a niche genre that many people can enjoy. The talented people who help create this game need to be compensated for their contributions and up until this point this entire project has been funded out of our own pockets.”

Currently in development, Cyberpunk Casanova is a visual novel dating sim. What sets this game apart from other titles in the dating sim genre is that Cyberpunk Casanova is a thriller set in a dark future, where your choices can lead to money, romance, danger and even death. The “Casanova” in the game is main character Enzo, who comes from a background of wealth. But due to his playboy lifestyle, his parents give him an ultimatum; either join their corporation in 30 days, or be expunged completely from the family records. In between those 30 days, he meets a colorful cast of women, who put him in perilous situations.

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The idea for Cyberpunk Casanova was created by Derek Scott of Patchwork Villain, who originally envisioned the story as a web comic. Though the web comic was never fully realized, Scott decided the next step would be a visual dating sim, which has been in development for about seven months. In that time, the team has been able to design the characters and core user experience, code the groundwork for some of the fundamental game systems and make progress on the various mini games. The game is written and designed by Scott, with Johnson serving as the producer as well as assisting with the game’s design and formulating the development team.

The target demographic are people ages 17-35, who enjoy anime, comic books, music, video games and visual novels. According to Johnson, the goal for the game was to create a dating sim with a western approach, which is not often seen in the genre. One of the major differences is the lack of traditional dating sim courting methods.

“It’s typical of dating sims to go out on dates and try to court as many women as possible,” Johnson said. “Well, not in Cyberpunk Casanova. It’s more of a problem-solving game. A lot of the women in the game have issues and problems in their lives, and Enzo gets involved. You can help them, or move along. What differentiates from the ho-hum regular visual novel is that Enzo can actually get killed. He can get killed because some of the women are involved in futuristic gene therapy, drug cartels and organized crime. Some of the decisions you make can lead to actual death.”

Along with a lack of flowery language and bestowing gifts, each decision Enzo makes will not only affect his own outcome, but that of the other characters a la the Butterfly Effect. “One lady’s story can actually affect another lady’s story and vice versa,” Johnson said.

Production is 40 percent complete with artists Edward Simmons, Jay Chen and Christina Entwhistle working on the artwork and mini games. Thirty tracks of music will be completed by PRIME8PIMPIN. Recently, the team launched a Kickstarter campaign, asking for $8,000, but only made $2,434 of their goal.

“We’re actually going to relaunch our Kickstarter again next month, probably middle of April,” Johnson said. “It took us a while to get 10 percent, so we’re way behind in the funding and we’re trying to get the word out. Our goal is $8,000, but we also have tier goals.”

Included in the tier goals are two additional story arcs as well as having the game fully voiced by professional voice actors.

“We’re trying to put Louisiana on the map for game development,” said Johnson, who has been in the LTP for two years. “I’m trying to help foster a game community here. We’re just working hard trying to progress Baton Rouge and Louisiana as a whole in the tech world.”

The estimated release for the game is February 2017, and will be made available for PC, Mac platforms and iOS and Android tablet devices. Cyberpunk Casanova will be featured as part of the spring installment of Pop!Smart.

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