One of the most important things with any visual novel is how to handle the main character. In many games the main character is somewhat anonymous, rarely seen in promotional art and not shown in dialogue. This is a nice way for the player to fully immerse themselves in the story, never feeling that the look of their character doesn’t properly represent them or who they’d like to be.
The other option is to give the main character a proper portrait and dialogue like any other character in the game. This means the story might feel slightly less personal, but it’s also nice to be able to show the emotions of the main character through a visual representation.
For this project, we’re going to go with the later alternative, having a main character with a portrait of their own. In fact, we’ve decided that you’ll be able to pick between two different characters to embody – a young man or a young woman. Further, you’ll be able to customize the character somewhat, choosing between a set of different hair- and skin colours.
In Secrets of Grindea, the way you customize the appearance of your main character also affects the look of that character’s mother, Charlotte. Depending on your hair colour and skin tone, her portrait varies accordingly:
For this project, we’d like to do something similar. Once you decide which of the characters you want to play, the one you don’t pick will become another important character in the game and will inherit the same customization as you (e.g. the same hair colour and skin colour). Our current idea is that they’ll become your cousin, with whom you’ve had a fierce rivalry for as long as you can remember.
Of course, you’ll still get to name your character, and you might also get to name your rival anything you’d like.
How do you guys feel about main characters in Visual Novels? Do you prefer the anonymous route, or to appear as an actual character in the game?