"Cutesy Graphics"? Hard Sell, Apparently

Illustration for article titled "Cutesy Graphics"? Hard Sell, Apparently

Xseed Games, the California-based game publisher and distributor, brings Japanese titles to the North American market. Easier said than done.

Over on the Xseed Facebook page, action role-playing game Zwei!! was requested for U.S. location and release. Zwei!! was originally developed for the PC, but later ported to the PS2.

"Zwei is a well-made charming game, but the retailers aren't too crazy about the cutesy graphics," replied Xseed, "which makes our job a little more difficult."


As game site Siliconera points out, "cutesy graphics" are common in established Japanese franchises. (Hello, Nintendo!) But Western retail might feel more reluctant to take a gamble on unproven games with them.

Because if it's a choice between a heroine with pink hair and blue eyes or a bald space marine, American retail is going to pick the bald space marine. Every time.

Dear Xseed! [Facebook via Siliconera via インサイド via 痛いニューズ]

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When it comes to something that was originally cute, adding a dash of BADASSERY increases its cuteness factor by over nine thousand.

What does this mean to developers?

Give your adorable characters insane amounts of power or talent and equip them with oversized weapons. Make them such that they're able to fend for themselves instead of relying on others for survival or support.

Furthermore, opt out of making them bratty, clumsy, and annoyingly childish, and instead make them more mature, levelheaded, independent and self-sufficient while still maintaining that element of inherent (and perhaps idealistic) child-like innocence that made them likable in the first place.

Even better, you could try starting with a very childish character that becomes mature through the events portrayed in the game itself. Most video games force their characters into circumstances completely out of their control. Through this, they learn how to adapt to a harsh environment, then slowly evolve them into more mature characters. This would equate to a classic growing-up story, and is perfect for a video game.

Whatever you do, however, don't let this "independent" personality take the form of a very arrogant character. That's just fucking annoying as hell.

Finally, DON'T SEXUALIZE THEM. This will destroy the artistic integrity of your character and series.

All of these factors combined is nothing short of a flawless recipe for pure absolute win.