…whoa! As of today, it’s been 7 years since I started developing Yandere Simulator! To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about that. I’ll elaborate below, but first, I want to share an incredible video with you:
For years now, ReubenThePig80 has been making truly extraordinary Yandere Simulator videos, and this year, he knocked it out of the park yet again! To commemorate the game’s anniversary, he used Pose Mode to arrange over 100 Yandere Simulator characters for an epic group photo! The sheer amount of time, effort, and patience required to pose all of those characters is absolutely superhuman! It warms my heart immensely to know that there are people out there who enjoy Yandere Simulator enough to spend their time building such impressive creations!
Actually, the existence of this video kinda supports a point that I’d like to make about the game. Click “Continue Reading” if you’re curious to hear this year’s anniversary thoughts.
After 7 years, it can be difficult to find something to say that I haven’t already said on a previous occasion. I’ve already shared a list of my most favorite fan-made Yandere Sim creations. I’ve already expressed how working on one project for a long period of time to can lead to a feeling of being “imprisoned” by the project. I’ve already explained why putting so much emphasis on Osana in my videos from 2016 to 2017 was a huge mistake. I’ve already discussed the factors that have been slowing down the game’s development. I’ve already summarized the events of 2020. So, on this day, the 7th anniversary of the game’s development, what else is there to say?
Well, actually, I have so much to say that I plan to make a whole video about it. I don’t want to type out all of my thoughts in this blog post, because then you’d have to hear me repeat myself verbatim in my upcoming video – but I’ll explain the main point that I’m going to be making in the video.
Yandere Simulator is not a traditional game project. It’s more of a “platform” than a “game.”
Take another look at that video up above. What does the existence of that video represent? It represents the fact that someone used Yandere Simulator as a tool to build something creative. Instead of looking at Yandere Simulator and judging it by the number of rivals that are not implemented yet, someone looked at the features that do exist in the game, and had fun with those features. Instead of looking at Yandere Simulator and seeing “a project that is not finished yet”, someone looked at Yandere Simulator and saw something that they could have fun with, regardless of how complete or incomplete it may be.
That is the audience that I have dedicated myself to serving. People who are already having fun with Yandere Simulator, but could have even more fun if I simply added certain types of features/modes to the game.
In a traditional game project, the developer sets a goal and moves towards that goal until he reaches the finish line and completes the project. I definitely started this project with that mindset, but over time, my priorities shifted. Instead of moving towards a singular goal, I periodically looked at what the userbase was doing for fun (creating mods to pose the characters, killing students in alphabetical order, etc.), turned those activities into official features (Pose Mode, Alphabet Killer Challenge, etc.) and regularly added new content into the game based on whatever people seemed to enjoy the most (easter eggs, minigames, lore, etc).
Instead of setting a specific goal and moving toward it, I have been constantly broadening the number of experiences that the player can have with the game. In other words, I have been focusing on turning Yandere Simulator into a “platform” that offers a wide variety of fun activities. A platform for people to be creative with Pose Mode. A platform for people to make cool mods. A platform for people to attempt challenges. A platform for speedrunners to compete for the best time. A platform for YouTubers to make funny videos. A platform for myself, to pay homage to my favorite games with easter eggs.
There was not a specific moment in time when I decided, “Screw the rivals, I’d rather focus on literally every other aspect of the game!” Rather, it’s something that happened gradually, over time. My priorities slowly shifted over the years, away from “I will set a goal and complete it” to “I will look at what is making players happy/frustrated, and I will put new content into the game to facilitate fun experiences and remove flaws.”
So, why did my priorities shift like that? I suppose the answer would be that, in life, I always gravitate towards whatever activity feels the most meaningful to me. And, over time, “give the player all kinds of fun activities and cool experiences” became much more meaningful than “put 10 girls into the game.”
Back to that video at the top of the blog post. The fact that someone posed 100 characters means something; it means that they have a personal attachment to the characters, it means that they have fun using the pose mechanic in creative ways, and it means that they care enough about the game to create a tribute to it. Watching this video makes me feel that I’ve put something meaningful into the world. Giving players the ability to have this type of experience feels far more meaningful than, for example, putting Osana into the game.
So, what’s the bottom line here? What’s the point, what’s the takeaway? If I had to summarize it, I would put it like this: Over time, Yandere Simulator gradually developed into something far different than what I initially promised to make. Arguably, it developed into something far better than what I initially promised. Instead of being disappointed about what has not been added to the game yet, you could instead be enjoying the overwhelming mountain of content that is in the game.
If you look at Yandere Simulator and perceive it exclusively as a game where an anime girl stabs other anime girls in a school, you’re not seeing the big picture. That would be like playing Minecraft to fight monsters, and ignoring every other feature or experience that the game offers. Most people who enjoy Minecraft are not playing it for the monsters; they are building creative things, trying out mods, performing challenges, doing speedruns, theorizing about the lore, making funny videos, etc. – and that’s exactly what fans of Yandere Sim do! (Plot twist: at this point in time, it’s more accurate to compare Yandere Simulator to Minecraft, rather than Hitman!)
If I had focused on putting 10 rivals into the game ASAP, then, yeah, Yandere Sim would have 10 rivals by now, but it would be a shallow game. Instead of digging a shallow grave and kicking 10 girls inside, I chose to spend 7 years digging a massive crater and filling it with an overwhelming number of features, characters, cut-scenes, minigames, gameplay modes, bonus content, and hidden secrets. The Yandere Sim that exists today is a better game than the one you would have gotten if I had simply crammed 10 rivals in.
…there is a problem, though, and the problem is 100% my fault.
For 7 years straight, across dozens of videos, I have been depicting Yandere Simulator as a “traditional” game project – a “set a goal and move towards it” type of project, rather than what it actually is: a platform for having a wide variety of fun experiences that periodically receives additional features and gameplay modes. And at absolutely every opportunity, I portrayed myself as a developer who is working single-mindedly towards a specific goal, instead of what I actually am: a developer who enjoys making people smile by broadening the number of fun experiences that the game offers.
The primary reason for this is that my priorities shifted so slowly, so gradually, over such a long period of time, that I didn’t even realize where my priorities actually were, until earlier this year. If you go back and watch my videos from 2014 to 2016, you’ll see a game developer who really does just move from milestone to milestone, making steady progress down a checklist of goals. From 2017 to 2021, my priorities clearly shifted, but my statements always remained the same: “I’m working toward my next goal, and I’ll have progress to show you soon!” My words were inconsistent with my actions, and for that, I am the only person to blame.
Instead of saying “I will make a game about killing 10 girls!” and then developing a game about killing 10 girls, I said “I will make a game about killing 10 girls!” and then developed a game with only 1 rival girl…who is accompanied by a mountain of bonus content. The end result is that I made a game that a lot of people really enjoy playing for various reasons, but I also opened myself up to being attacked for not doing what I initially said I was going to do.
Most indie games don’t take 7 years to complete. That’s because most indie games are small, short, and simple, and Yandere Simulator is the opposite of those things. However, because my words were not consistent with my actions, and because my priorities gradually shifted away from my original goals, it became very easy for people to craft a narrative that I was “deliberately” stretching out the development of the game. This false narrative – among others – caused me to receive a massive amount of harassment and abuse, and caused support for Yandere Simulator to drop significantly, which has jeopardized the future of the project.
Imagine an alternate timeline where, in 2015, I had announced, “Hey, guys. For the next few years, I’m just going to focus on making a silly sandbox game where you can goof around as an anime girl. I’ll eventually put some story stuff into the game later on towards the end of development, but that’s not going to be my main priority for a while. Don’t support the Patreon if you’re not okay with that.” If I had simply done that, then perhaps 90% of the problems I’ve dealt with over the past 7 years would never have happened. I severely regret not coming to this realization sooner.
So, what does all this mean? Am I saying, “I don’t care about putting rivals into the game! I’m just going to expand the number of features in the game indefinitely! Yandere Simulator is not the type of project that ends, it’s the type of project that continues to get periodic updates forever, like Minecraft!”
No, definitely not.
Let me remind you of what I said near the beginning of this blog post: working on one project for a long period of time to can lead to a feeling of being “imprisoned” by the project. 7 years is way longer than I ever expected to work on Yandere Simulator, and I would really, really love to work on other projects. However, there is a very obvious reason why that’s not an option: backlash.
If I took a break from Yandere Simulator for any reason, people would say “He abandoned the project!”, treat me even worse than they already do, and withdraw even more support than they’ve already withdrawn. So, I have no choice but to keep working on Yandere Simulator until it’s finished. Only then can I have my freedom back, and be able to work on anything I want. Also, the longer it takes to finish the project, the more harassment and abuse I will receive. So, I am the one human on earth who is most incentivized to hurry up and finish this project as soon as possible. Every aspect of my life only gets worse the longer that the game is in development. (This is why the “deliberately stretching out the game’s development” narrative has always been extremely stupid.)
I feel like Yandere Simulator is enough of a “platform” already. I would like to exit the game’s “periodically add new content to make it a better platform for fun experiences” stage of development, and enter the game’s “focus exclusively on the rivals and finish the game” stage of development. However, there is one huge obstacle: In order to put the remaining rivals in the game, I need animations and voiced lines. To pay animators and voice actors, I’ll need a huge amount of money. To get that money, I’ll need a successful crowdfunding campaign. And the campaign can’t succeed if everyone has been tricked into believing that I am “deliberately stretching out the game’s development” and other stuff like that. I don’t really want to spend my time making videos to debunk false narratives and disprove untrue accusations, but if the game can’t get the support it needs as long as a storm of propaganda is swirling around the game, then I don’t really have a choice in the matter.
The alternative is to pretend the false narratives don’t even exist, and focus exclusively on releasing really cool content that will re-ignite hype for the game and restore peoples’ faith in the game’s development. You might be wondering “What type of content could possibly do that?” Well, I’d love to tell you, but I’d like to keep it a secret for now, so that it can be a big surprise when it’s finally revealed. The good news is that most of the work is already done, and it’s shaping up very, very nicely. I want to keep all the details under wraps for now, but I’ll say one thing: For some people, it will satisfy the criteria of making Yandere Simulator a “finished game.”
I’d like to end this on a positive note, so I’ll leave you with a video that, like the one at the top of this blog post, represents the fact that Yandere Simulator inspires many people to be creative and to make beautiful things.
Thank you for following the development of Yandere Simulator.