The "thank you 4LS" thread.

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Re: An Open Letter to the Devs of Katawa Shoujo

Post by Weaver » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:10 pm

I want to extend my thanks to the team. Sincerely and truly.
This visual novel has touched me very deeply. It's shaken me to my absolute core and I am very serious about this. I can with confidence say I'm a different person than I was this Friday.

I can also say this post is going to be long and I also hope it's cohesive as my mind is a bit of a blur at the moment. A lot of things are going to come out, and I apologize.

To be fully honest, I didn't know about the existence of this project until very recently and this was my very first visual novel. However, getting to the point of things: for a long time my life has been heavily based on escapism.
Bad day? I'll just play some video games or watch a movie, maybe I'll go get coffee from the nearby store with my headphones in listening to a new album. Surely this is like a lot of nerds and maybe, even like a lot of other people. Things for me, especially since graduating university (computer science) have been extremely listless and lifeless. I feel I'm just sort of drifting through life, working a job I hate, gaining age and remaining enamored in my safe world of books, movies, games and fantastical stories that I've grown up with. It's comfortable to me.

Sometimes I catch myself wondering what I'm doing with myself. Sometimes it will lead to a few days of semi-spirited enthusiasm for change, but not knowing how to really bring about "change", whatever it is I wanted to change, I just settled into my old habits. On and on it goes. Two years - almost anyways - I've been out of school and they seem to just have evaporated into time itself. My last meaningful relationship was 8 years ago, and the last girl I fell in love with... well we both knew she was going away after school. I never knew if she felt the same. Sometimes I thought it was almost obvious and sometimes I was never more sure she saw me as simply a friend. She left, of course, with neither of us saying anything save for one last hug at the bus stop before we got out of the cinema. I remember I was still recovering from a bad flu but I went anyways. Our very last movie together and I can't even remember what movie it was. Really though, I didn't go to see the movie, did I?

I dealt with her leaving like I've dealt with almost everything; just bottle it up and put on a cool, calm face. Play some games. Read a book until the sun comes up. Whatever it takes to keep my chattering mind from keeping me awake. I've never in my life talked to anyone about this, or mentioned it, or typed it except right here and right now. I was also afraid to ruin what we had ... and I was also very afraid to trust. I have deep seeded trust issues. My "best friend" in high school slipped into drugs and he slipped bad. I just didn't know what to do, so I just sort of watched stupidly not wanting to seem to have a problem with it. Even when it was obviously a problem. He finally robbed my house for drug money. He didn't take a lot, but what he truly robbed me of was my trust in people. In anyone.

At this time in life I decided, unknowingly, that trusting people will just lead to betrayal. 6 months after this I entered into my first relationship, it hurt when she dumped me and she broke up with me for not trusting her enough. Almost two years we were together; yes, It hurt, because I really did think I trusted her... even though now I know I didn't. In the back of my mind I was secretly re-affirming what I thought I already knew: if you let someone in they will hurt you.

Being a programmer I spend a lot of time on the computer and I'm firmly entrenched - as I imagine a lot of people here are - into gaming and anime "culture" as it were. I've noticed myself becoming more isolated recently and just wanting to be alone. As I mentioned, having such a penchant for seeking new methods of escapism, I suppose it was really only a matter of time until I finally took the plunge into VNs given my interests; whose existence I've known of at least for many years. I'm insurmountably glad I did. Katawa Shoujo was a critical piece of art for me. Laugh if you will, I don't care.

Maybe it just came at exactly the right time, maybe it just really is that good... maybe it's both. It's changed me. I needed to experience this. I needed this to happen. I needed to breakdown and cry. I may have only slept a couple of hours last night, but I let out years of feelings. Well, it's not so much that I let them out as I let myself feel them. I saw myself and how I walled people away. I saw how what I thought was keeping me from getting hurt was hurting me so badly.

I'm looking at my life now like I'm hazily realizing where I am and all the things I need to do. And, for what I might sheepishly admit is the first time, realizing I actually can do them. I should count myself lucky having no severe disabilities (I have a variety of mild medical ailments, but nothing too alarming). The amount of advantages afforded to me in life (such as growing up in a first world country) are so starkly one sided so such a vast majority of the world and I'm here sulking and brooding in my room. Wasting my life on escaping, instead of spending my life on making it worth living. Good things come to those who wait? I'm tired of waiting, so I'm going to make them happen. I realize - acutely - after KS that some people don't have the luxury of time to spend "waiting". That for some people mortality is always on the edges of their thoughts.

Today was a day that I haven't had in years.
I dug out the 6 month old gym membership (that I still pay for) from my wallet. I haven't used it in... 6 months.
I played my guitar for the first time in ages. I'm rusty as all hell. Shit, I was never even that good but it felt great to make noise.
I joined an online dating site.
I started looking for a new job; a few friends have some promising leads.
I have a new resolution to go places now. Even if it's just the mall, coffee shop, library, pub, whatever. Just out and away, even if it's just for a bit.

I'd say that Katawa Shoujo gave me the swift kick in the ass I needed to get my life in order. But that's a lie. I've shielded myself from the harshness of reality for something so blunt as a swift kick to affect me in any meaningful way besides a lazy jostle. Instead, it provided me with a deft tenderness. A gentle, delicate affection that unassumingly invites itself in and lets you realize, for yourself, that we're all broken in some way. Instead of kicking down the door and demanding change, it simply knocks and asks if it may come in. It then asks questions that become more difficult. It forces, or at least it forced me, to reason with myself and ask questions I didn't want to ask.

Thank you all so much.


Re: An Open Letter to the Devs of Katawa Shoujo

Post by Guest » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:50 pm

Hello KS devs.
I would like to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for finishing this ambitious project,I understand that it might have not been one of the easiest tasks,but in the end it was worth it,and for that I thank you.
It is rare that I cry or even shed tears,I only recently started shedding tears again,and it's partly thanks to you KS devs.
I don't know if this feeling is masochistic or just weird,but I felt really good after shedding tears to your writings,it was something that made me forget of everything else,it cleared my mind.It made me want to live again the years I've lost.
It made me want to change.
I played through the Lilly path with a very big smile on my face,then you wiped that smile back,you bought tears to my eyes,and then you bought a smile again,and a laughter at the end.
I laughed and clapped of happiness at the end of that path,despite of the people around me looking strangely at me.You had awaken a burning passion in me to read,to experience the different emotions of life.
You made me want to live again.
You made me realize what I did wrong with my life,you changed me,and I am forever indebted to you KS Devs.
I hope you will succeed in everything you plan guys,because you guys are worth it.You guys are born writers and have enormous talent.
It is sad to see you guys split roads after KS,but I understand each have your reason.
Though,a part of me is feeling sad,because 4LS is a good producer.
4LS is a producer that cared about their fans.
4LS is a producer that made me want to wake up in the morning and check up on my bookmark on how they are doing.
Before I realized,the story of developing KS was a novel all by itself,with the plot twists,the new characters and the happy moments you spent as a team.
You guys are the best.
I remember drinking champagne in honor of finishing the KS download and in honor of the game being finished.
It was one of the best glasses of champagne I drank,and I am honest.
Take care guys.

Sincerely, Lawrence

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Re: An Open Letter to the Devs of Katawa Shoujo

Post by Audo » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:14 pm

I didn't Know about Katawa Shoujo till 7-8 months ago, So i am not someone who has been here from the start, but after playing Act 1 months ago I found myself at times counting the weeks from which did discover it, lost track in October. It was the first time i did this with anything. so when i heard it was coming out on Jan 4th i jumped for joy and when that day came, its all i did. KS was my 4th, be it thinking about it, talking about it with friends, or actually playing it. It was another first, never spent all day (16 hours or so) doing something i enjoyed. Despite being a avid gamer i had never found a game that that i could talk about or play longer then 2 hours before moving on to something else, until KS. KS is also the first work of fiction period that has made me cry, be it of joy or sadness. I Thank the Devs for creating this wonderful game, something that has touched at least hundreds of people, the people who have been here for all 5 years, or these past 5 days. Not many can say they have touched anyone, but all of you can.

(Those are indeed my Initials)

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Thank you

Post by Rubytyr » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:34 am

I truely became lost within the stories told; and each and every heroine had my heart in their own way.
A depth of character is what really appeals to me in any story to be honest, and I feel 4 Leaf studios far exceeded my normal expectations of storytelling.

I only regret that I finished every Arc; I find myself filled with a wistful melancholy due to the finality~

But again, Thank you for sharing the heart and soul of each character - even with work dragging me out of bed every morning, I would find myself staying up into the late hours going through the novel. The music, the artwork, and the writing style used were all proffesional, yet still personal.

And i'm sure someone else has probably already said it - but the H-scenes with Hanako are beautiful and deep, rather then just a typical fap scene - and I think that gives it all the more justice it deserves.

Anyway, Im just repeating myself - but I wanted to at least take some time to thank each and every person that helped create this.

all the best, and i hope to see more works in the future, if it ever happens. :)

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Re: Thank you

Post by scoopnokes » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:37 am

Rubytyr wrote:I truely became lost within the stories told; and each and every heroine had my heart in their own way.
A depth of character is what really appeals to me in any story to be honest, and I feel 4 Leaf studios far exceeded my normal expectations of storytelling.

I only regret that I finished every Arc; I find myself filled with a wistful melancholy due to the finality~

But again, Thank you for sharing the heart and soul of each character - even with work dragging me out of bed every morning, I would find myself staying up into the late hours going through the novel. The music, the artwork, and the writing style used were all proffesional, yet still personal.

And i'm sure someone else has probably already said it - but the H-scenes with Hanako are beautiful and deep, rather then just a typical fap scene - and I think that gives it all the more justice it deserves.

Anyway, Im just repeating myself - but I wanted to at least take some time to thank each and every person that helped create this.

all the best, and i hope to see more works in the future, if it ever happens. :)
yes I'm with Rubytyr, Thank you

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Thank You

Post by JustAGuy » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:04 am

There must be a lot of these topics floating around lately, but here goes.

A friend introduced me to Katawa Shoujo almost a year ago, praising the writing in Act I. He was a bit of a writer himself, so I knew he was serious about it. I had never played through a visual novel before, so I took a peek.

I thoroughly enjoyed the demo, ending up on Emi's route. Emi was the one I was least attracted to initially, but I warmed up to her soon enough; those little moments that made me smile were worth a lot. I honestly felt teased when it ended, and I didn't play any other routes out of a sense of attachment. That's good, I suppose. I hadn't really felt warm and fuzzy like that in a while. I also hadn't felt as bad about disengaging from a story before, but I had to get back to real life eventually.

The long journey of the game's creation was about as interesting as the game itself, but with some guilt I admit that at that time I only skimmed it and planned to return later. I skimmed a lot of things. I usually lose track of them.

Many months of idleness passed, and Katawa Shoujo slipped to the back of my memory as other things caught my attention. Here would go a sordid life story about me, my friends, and my thoughts.
Romance wasn't one of those thoughts, which felt a little out of place for someone Hisao's age; I liked to busy myself with schoolwork, projects and nebulous soul-searching, taking it all with a bizarre sense of jadedness. In hindsight, I was somewhere similar to Hisao's position; I didn't quite have a dangerous heart problem, but I felt a little lost in the world, and had given in to a strange post-hormonal coolness like a slab of hot metal cooling in the tub.

Lots of memories came back when the full game was released. I dove straight back in, expecting a well-written story -- something I could stoically observe, pick apart and analyze in a lab. I went for Emi's route again.

Maybe it was the interactive format or my inexperience with relationships and visual novels both, but I didn't expect to be impacted so hard. The writing was sharp as I remembered, but the full breadth of the story fleshed out the characters in such a compelling way -- Emi's personal struggles, her masks, her outlook; Hisao's confusion and lost direction; It kicked me in the heartstrings and made my brain violently spew a whole bunch of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
The same thing happened with Lilly -- she was the one I was going for initially, and remains my favorite so far. The product of five years of writing and art held me rapt -- and that music. I will never forget that music.
Both stories unfolded pleasantly naturally.They were touching, hilarious, titillating, tragic, and carried themselves through all permutations thereof with the smoothness of a waxed pancake. Except for anal. That was rough. Even with lube.

I'm not the best person to evaluate how realistic the relationships are (Forever alone!). Hell, I got the Lilly and Emi's good endings on my first shot, which is cutely idealistic.

The best word I can think of to describe them, though, is genuine. I laughed when the characters laughed, and I cried -- really cried -- when they cried. I was genuinely connected to Hisao and his many lives. When he changed, I did too.

Maybe it's just a short-term high. Maybe my cynical brain's been knocked out by the kick to the heartstrings, and I can't think straight anymore. KS has made me realize how much "thinking straight" I've done, though. I'm a straight A student and I have the best friends I could ask for, but now I see how much of it's been a careful management game -- sensible, restrained, mature. A little cold, a little careful. Not that I'd ever willingly be stupid, but...
I'm not going to be young and carefree forever, and I'm already feeling like I've wasted an opportunity to be passionate -- to be forgiven for not being perfect, to explore, and to learn by living rather than calculating. Given that I'm essentially still a kid, typing this feels a bit pretentious -- and it's not impossible to carry this spirit into old age. Like Hisao, though, I feel like I'm standing at the foot of unfamiliar gates; I go to university soon, possibly in the far-off land of the United States, and I'll start over again.

Maybe it's not too late, though. I can't say Katawa Shoujo has changed my life, but your story -- the game, its development, its community -- has definitely changed me. To be sappy, you've made this mechanical guy grow a heart. And possibly a nutbladder, or something.

Thank you.

TL;DR: I'm pinocchio and disabled girls made me a real boy


Re: Thank You

Post by McBaggin » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:07 am

I agree. Thank you for making this game and not quitting !

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A Sincere Thank You!

Post by cygnis » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:39 am

To those who helped make KS,

(This is not a technical review, but merely a Thank you from a very surprised, and thankful fan).

I must admit, I was not prepared for what has been delivered to me in KS.

I have not been able to put down KS since I have gotten my hands on it.

I only learned about KS a few weeks before the release, so my wait and anticipation wasn't too bad, for that I am greatful.

I feel quite a lot of thought was put into the story lines, and especially the dialogue. I was not prepared for the depth, and the level of captivation I found myself wrapped in. The level of emotions, and the emotional roller-coaster I have ridden through, and the self-introspection I have found myself doing from things I've picked up in the game has been nothing short of amazing.

I am not sure if it was intentional, or unintentional, but, what I will call "lessons" taught in KS, are some that I think will only help to make me more understanding, and a better person..

I've learned due to my own personal experinces, for one, I've held onto things from my past a little to much, like Hisao. I've also learned valuable lessons from each of the 5 paths available in KS.

I really enjoyed KS, I will be replaying it again a few more times, aside from what I have learned, the character development for the girls was very good, so much so, that I find myself wishing they were real people.. Each of them was a treasure to get to know, its sad that it can't continue, and it's a set enviroment, they would have made wonderful friends and people to know, from Emi's giggles and upbeat attitude, Rin's abstract way of making me think, to Lilly's refined behavior and general caring nature. Shizune's highly competitive nature would make for some fun games, as well as other traits of hers. Hanako's shyness was just too cute, but there is more to her that would be fun to bring out, and also she'd be fun to play games against.

As i said, it's to bad they're confined, and fictional. I was especially fond of Emi and Rin, even tho I am more in-tune to Lilly's disability IRL. Emi's ending was my favorite, by far, especially the ending line, her last spoken words.

Thank you for the lessons, the chance to let my guard down for a good couple cries (who am I kidding, sobbing sessions), and the laughs. Thank you for the memories KS has given me, as each of these fictional characters has found a small place in my heart, and in my memory. In a way, I guess you could say that the folks who contributed to KS are as much a part of that as the characters themselves.

Thank you, so very much, 4LS, so very, very much for your hard work, and for such a wonderful work of art.

-Cyg :D

P.S. - I do wish / hope you folks would do another like this, it was amazing!

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Response from someone with depression. (SPOILERS / LONG)

Post by MintySocks » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:12 am

I'm a writer. I write mostly poetry- it helps with my depression. It's really hard to explain depression to someone who doesn't have it. We bandy about the term to mean sadness, but that's not what it is.

When I heard about Katawa Shoujo, I was immediately excited. I couldn't wait to see what 4LS did with such an interesting idea, and because, deep down, I don't think there's much psychological difference between mental and physical disabilities.

I sometimes show people my poetry, and I try to tell them that *this* is how I feel, that *this* is what I'm going through.

People keep telling me to collate my work and publish it. But I don't know. So much of what I write is fuelled by depression, by this self-destructive streak. I left my room twice in the last four days, just sleeping and trying to write. I think I ate twice. I also may have taken double my dosage of antidepressants. I'm not sure.

I realized that I am totally willing to destroy myself for my passion. To turn everything into words.

The words aren't enough though.

"It has to be like... Like the color you wake up and you know that you saw the meaning of life in your dream but can't remember it. Maybe it's yellow."
I finished KS two or three days ago as a break from writing. Rin's path was the first one I finished. The minute you start conversing with her, read her dialogue, her jabs at Hisao and her frank speech- I knew which path I would pick first.

Finishing Rin's path has changed how I think. About love, about friendship, and about art- and what art means. What Rin goes through on an artistic level is something, I think, that every artist (and maybe every person who has a serious passion) has to deal with. How far are you willing to go for art's sake?

Watching Rin destroy her mind and body for her art hurt to watch, because that was the spot I was in at that moment. The uncertainty, the confusion...everything.

And if you're not doing it for yourself, is it really art? If it is, should you be accepting of the work you produce?

On an emotional level? Hoo. What a ride. I had a serious breakdown at some point within the past few days. But the game forced me to reconsider the way I look at the people around me. Rin has Hisao. He can't fully understand what Rin goes though, but that doesn't matter. He sticks around all the same. I have friends who do, too. They don't know depression (except for the ones that do also suffer from it, but they're not the majority.) But they stick around all the same, and they're trying their best.

And at the end of it all, I didn't go out and run into traffic, overdose or kill myself. In fact, I'm a little stronger (if shaken) on the inside.

Thank you, 4 Leaf Studios. The writing is among the finest things I've experienced. The music is tied perfectly to the emotional ride. The characters are as well-written as some of the best works I've read. Thank you for art.

Thank you too, forum members, for building a world around this setting with fiction and artwork. It's great to see other people inspired and passionate about, well, things in general.

I mean this sincerely. Thank you from the bottom of my damaged heart. Thank you all.

(Also, if anyone cares, I'll be doing some fanfiction :3)

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Re: Response from someone with depression. (SPOILERS / LONG)

Post by shin0bi272 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:23 am

Well said. Also hold on to those friends because they are what will keep you sane. One suggestion... maybe put some of your works on a website or something. You wont have to publish them professionally or anything but you can still show your work to people easily and dont have to really do anything different from your normal routine which is what fuels your art.


Re: An Open Letter to the Devs of Katawa Shoujo

Post by Zay » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:56 pm

I didn't know about this project until a few days ago.
I downloaded it on a whim. I was unprepared.
I have now read the entire Dev blog, and just minutes ago finished Hanako's story for 100% completion.
This game made me so angry I had to walk away from it... it made me laugh... I am not ashamed to admit that I cried more than once.
I am utterly inspired by this game and the story of it's creation.
I want to say Thank You! Thank you so much!
I know the team is breaking up, but if any of the Devs, together or separately, at some time in the future, start another project... I want to know about it so I can support it from day 1!
With all you learned making this game, I can't wait to see what you would do next!
Thanks again. I can't say it enough.
Thank you.

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Re: An Open Letter to the Devs of Katawa Shoujo

Post by rydiafan » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:11 pm

Thank you 4LS for simple the best VN / H game i every played ... this is so much more then just a game to jack off too ( sorry about being crude) ... the music / art / story are a one of a kind thing in these types of games / VNs ... its very touching and breathtaking ( pardon the pun ) .... this VN did what games like Heavy Rain and Mother 3 did for video games ... make the story /plot the most important part of the game ( those games made me cry too :( )

well done 4LS

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Re: An Open Letter to the Devs of Katawa Shoujo

Post by ryvrdrgn14 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:36 pm

I've only come to check a few times over the years, but I'd like to at least drop by again (registered and all) to say that the game quality from the writing, character designs and expressions, and music have all be great and beyond my expectations.

I find the dialogue enjoyable and the stories quite good so far. The music is right where it should be and it helps enhance the visual and reading experience. I have nothing to nitpick with the art and find it suitable for the scenes with what I have played through so far. Each character certainly has their own charm and as I play through the Emi route I am already looking forward to going through the game again to find out the stories of the other girls.

Thank you very much for a great game so far and I'll be sure to come back and post again after I've played through it a bit more.


Re: An Open Letter to the Devs of Katawa Shoujo

Post by Guest » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:34 pm

I've never really explored VNs before but upon reading about this game just a few days ago I decided to download it admittedly out of boredom at the time. However I can quite honestly say that nothing could have prepared me for the emotional onslaught I was delving into. This game is simply beautiful. The level of effort in the writing and development of this game is clear for me to see.

Having just completed the good routes for all girls a few minutes ago (I can't quite bring myself to deliberately try to get the bad endings) I find myself emotionally drained. Never before have I found myself so emotionally attached to the characters of a fictional work, it honestly makes me sad to think that the characters are in fact works of fiction. I've found myself lacking sleep over the past few days just to find out what happens next.

The writing is beautiful making me invest not a small amount of emotion into each character, the music is a perfect accompaniment to each scene and intensifies every feeling that is felt throughout and the artwork perfectly conveys into images what is being laid out in words.

Thankyou for creating such an inspiring piece of work.

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Thank You Four Leaf Studios

Post by deusprogrammer » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:41 pm

I just finished Hanako's path and never have I ever been so touched by a visual novel...let alone a video game. The amount I cried, and the attachment I had for Hanako were almost scary. I will never forget this game, and I only hope you all get the recognition you deserve. I only wish this really was going to be an Anime.

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