07th Expansion, originally a doujin-circle focused on visual novels, has announced on Twitter this week that they plan to create a new installment for the popular When they Cry series, scheduled to enter production in 2017. This tweet was followed by another sudden announcement: the next installment will be drawn entirely by 8-year-old Jason Henson, of Abbeville, South Carolina, a child without any previous artistic experience. According to author Ryukhisi07, this decision was made to please the demanding fans of the series.
“The art of the series has always been a topic of debate,” Ryukhisi07 told Anime Maru.
“I used to draw the sprites myself, but got a lot of negative feedback. Fans complained aboutcharacters having ‘boxing gloves’ for hands and ‘overall horrible anatomy’, but aside a few missing fingers I thought I did a pretty solid job.”
As a response to all the negative feedback, the studio hired a professional artist to draw the sprites for the PlayStation 3 port of Umineko no Naku Koro Ni, but unexpectedly, the PlayStation 3 art got even more angry responses than the original sprites drawn by Ryukhisi07. Even thought the new sprites now had the proper amount of fingers, the top review on PlayStation Network claimde the game lacked the same “emotion” and “authenticity” the original sprites had, making the game “soulless”.
“Then there’s the matter of the recent Umineko Steam release — I tried to strike some balance between the older sprites and the new generic looking art, and the reaction from the fanbase was like they had just witnessed the birth of Satan. We had to include the option to play using the old sprites so that the angry fans wouldn’t burn our homes in unjustified anger.”
Ryukhisi07 eventually noticed that even the fans had now lost sight of what they were criticizing: forums started to be filled with strange, complicated critique that ultimately amounted to random adjectives seemingly taken out of the context, like “sulky”, “cold”, and “thirsty”. Some fans even stated that they didn’t have a proper word invented to describe the contempt they felt towards the art.
“I just knew there was something wrong with the art”, a fan that wished to remain anonymous commented.
“There was something that couldn’t even be put into proper words, like the eerie feeling you get when you stare down a void. You just instinctively know there are countless of horrors lurking in the depths of that darkness. The art somehow managed to transmit this complicated feeling of indescribable terror of nearly cosmic proportions.”
Eventually Ryukhisi07 came up with a solution. “We thought about this for a while and decided that the most ‘authentic’, ‘fiery’, and ‘crisp’ experience would be to have a child with no artistic experience whatsoever to draw all the illustrations for the upcoming work,” the veteran game designer explained.
“I miss the days when criticism was just complaining about how bad the art is. Nowadays we get all this complicated feedback. How does ‘too clean’ translate to any valid criticism? How am I supposed to draw the characters in a ‘less clean’ way? By this move, we wish to return back to those distant simpler times when the characters barely looked like humans.”