Transforming Kitty Powers' Matchmaker for Asia
Taking "Kitty" to Asia
The Opportunity - And The Problem
- Kitty Power’s Matchmaker is a dating simulator by veteran videogames developer, Richard Franke, and his studio, Magic Notion.
- Chorus was introduced to the game and felt it delivered something new in the popular dating game genre.
- Unlike other dating games, Kitty Powers' Matchmaker's approach to dating was egalitarian; the game treated characters of all races and all sexualities the same. We found this approach refreshing and reflected our own values. This was a key part of our decision to take this title on.
- The game was designed as a premium, pay-once-upfront title. Having published premium games before, we knew how challenging this was in Asian markets and looked to another approach.
- The game was very text heavy. At over 52k words, it was the length of a short novel.
- The key artistic component was the characters, which had been tailored for Western audiences.
- Made the game free to download and play, with IAPs and Ads to monetize
- Made in-game currency purchasable
- Interstitial video ads after a date, removable with IAP purchases
- Rewarded video ads for currency
- Over 52k words of text – slightly shorter than The Lord of the Flies (59k words)
- Team of 3 translators for the Japanese version – all experience game translators
- Able to translate phrases like “Raking in the wonga, though aren't you!” and “Get over the 'air for gawds sake!”, not to mention “Wha'evah!” into the right tone of conversational Japanese
- Research at the Tokyo Game Show, showed player reaction to the original character art was negative
- The anime/mange style is dominant across Asia
- Kitty's characters were described as "not cute" at best, "grotesque" at worst
- Re-drawing by the original artist was considered, but we felt it needed someone native to the anime style
- Chorus conducted a search and found a solution
(Re-)Designing the Characters
- Artist and game designer, Moa Hato, impressed us with her artwork and her own experience of making the dating game, Hatoful Boyfriend
- We engaged her to come up with a plan to re-design the game's characters
- The facial animation system used components for hair, eyebrows, eyes, nose, and mouth
- Moa had to make changes to the components and their positions, and work within the restrictions of the animation system that had been designed for the original assets
Work In Progress
- The original developers had created a tool to test animations, to preview them quickly
- Moa used this to quickly check and iterate her work, which enabled her to work rapidly without the need for assets to go back into the game to check each change
- Approximately 260 assets were re-created/modified
Press and User Reactions
- Press Reaction was positive, with articles and reviews from Famitsu, 4 Gamer, Weekly Ascii, Appget, and many other top level games sites.
- Press noted positively the "gender-free" aspect of the game.
- User reviews were also high, with a 4.5 rating on the App Store.
Changes We Made
Made a Premium app Free To Play to encourage downloads and get users to experience a very different type of game
Large translation job that involved 3 professional translators, just for Japanese, to translate very colloquial English into target languages
Changed the in-game characters by enlisting Hatoful Boyfriend’ creator, Moa Hato, to create Asia-friendly characters
- Chorus was able to take on a uniquely British game and make it accessible to Asian audiences.
- Reactions from the Press and Players was very high.
- Significantly increased DL numbers and gained user affinity