Saturday, November 2, 2013

Imperfect Spectrum digital edition released

4LS's fifth Katawa Shoujo illustration book, Imperfect Spectrum, is now available for download here.

This illustration collection was originally released in Comic Market 84 in August. Like the previous books, it features artwork from our staff and guest illustrators. Enjoy!

- Aura

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kawasoft Artbook now available for download

The artbook that Kawa Soft produced for their release of the French translation of Katawa Shoujo is now available for download:

It features some artwork from the game as well as new original content. It's in French, but none of the text should pose much of a puzzle to figure out. So if you didn't manage to be in Paris in July, here's your chance. Thanks again to Kawa Soft for producing the translation and the artbook.


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Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Comiket event report

Hi from the Japanese translation team!

It's been some days after the summer Comiket. A warm thank you to everyone who came to our table, despite the extreme heat on that day. Both the new and the previous books sold well, thanks to the support from all of you. The stock of Tomorrow/Today books that we brought for the day even got sold out.

As for the surprise which we did not disclose until the day of the event, we had Raide, one of the 4LS devs and Lilly's artist, came and sit with us. He is on a trip to Japan and managed to drop by on the Comiket. This is the first occasion where a KS dev has personally sat at our booth. If in case you came by, you might have noticed him wearing a Kumamon cap in the back.

When we blundered and forgot to bring all the poster arts, Raide immediately saved the day by sketching up a number of drawings of KS heroines. Also for the first time we were able to respond to sketchbook requests. 5 out of 6 requests were of Hanako, showing her dominating popularity yet again.

We would like to thank Raide and another western fan who helped us, Lawls, for their support.

We saw many non-Japanese visitors coming to our booth, even more than in previous events. It may be that Comiket is becoming increasingly internationalized. We will hanging out again at Big Sight for Comitia 105 on August 18th. Please drop by if you didn't have the chance to come to Comiket.

Regarding the translation progress, our initial draft is complete and we are now in the reviewing phase. This is taking more effort than expected, and we do not have a clear view ahead as of now. We think it will take some time before we are able to report concrete progress.

We apologize for the long wait, and would like to ask for your patience.

- hir

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Katawa Shoujo 1.1.1 patch (Mac OS X only)

The Mac OS X version of KS 1.1 has a bug where the game crashes on reaching the Act 1 bad end in French. This is a patch to fix it:[4ls]_katawa_shoujo_1.1.1_patch_[mac][E4951D8E].zip

Again, this patch ONLY applies to the OS X version of 1.1, it is not necessary for any other version (or if you do not intend to ever read it in French).

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fifth Katawa Shoujo illustration book to be released at Comiket 84

Are you one of the thousands of people attending the 84th Comic Market, despite the sweltering late summer heat? Come chill out at the Katawa Shoujo translation project table and say hello! You'll find us on the third day of Comiket (12th August) at East Hall 5, table プ-46a.

As a new item for this event, 4LS is releasing our fifth illustration book, Imperfect Spectrum. It's a 20-page full colour book featuring Katawa Shoujo-themed artworks by 4LS staff members and our friends. As with previous illustration books, a limited physical edition will be on sale at Comiket and a free digital edition will be released later.

Contributing artists:
Mike Inel
Monica Ray

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Katawa Shoujo 1.1 Released

After a year and a half, the first update to Katawa Shoujo is released! The occasion is brought upon by the completion of the French translation project. Give your monitor a high five to congratulate the hard-working translation team. We've also included some other, mostly minor upgrades to the game, such as typo corrections. 1.1 replaces the original release as the main distribution of KS so if you are distributing KS in any way, it'd be nice to swap to this version. Meanwhile, many other translation projects are still forging ahead and when completed, will be integrated into further updates to KS.

The main features of the 1.1 version are:
  • French localization
  • New version of the "Red Velvet" track, featuring luscious live saxophone tunes from our friend Japes
  • Engine upgrade to version 6.15 for OS X, allowing usage of Retina displays and fullscreen.
Get the new release from the Katawa Shoujo website, or directly from these links:

Torrent: Windows | Mac OS X | Linux
DDL: Windows | Mac OS X | Linux

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Monday, June 24, 2013

New Katawa Shoujo release upcoming, the party is in Paris

Katawa Shoujo 1.1 will be released on the second weekend of July. The main feature of the new release will be the French language localization, the first of the Katawa Shoujo translation projects to come to completion. The translation was done by a French amateur translation team, Kawa-soft, who will be present at Japan Expo happening in Paris, France from 4th to 7th of July. Here are a few words from them:
Hello to you all, we're Kawa-Soft! 
Our goal is to promote visual novels to everyone who is French-speaking. We translate VNs - always with the proper permission to do so, legally. Everybody at Kawa Soft loves the idea of having a nice international VN collection. Kawa-soft is a nonprofit organization and the few profits (when we don’t just lose money) we make are only used to pay for the booths at conventions and the costs of printing physical releases. 
Katawa Shoujo is the biggest project we've had at Kawa Soft. And for this occasion, we wanted to do something special. This year, we are publishing a 60 page Katawa Shoujo artbook and the KS physical edition will consist of a fancy Digipak case with a full color manual. Additionally, there's a “collector's” edition which combines the Digipak of the game, the game’s OST in CD format, the artbook and a special cloth bag.
Of course, the artbook will be available online for free shortly after. 
On another note, we are doing a lottery with a few games but we'll announce it officially soon on our website, we are for now really busy getting things done for Japan Expo. For the same reason, we don't have any pictures to show you because everything is currently under production... but as soon as we have some, we'll post them on our blog. 
For more information, please follow this link (except for this page, everything else is in French, sorry). 
That's all folks! Hope to see you at our booth.


    Kawa Soft staff.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Katawa Shoujo at Tokyo events and Japanese translation progress

KS Japanese translation team held a desk in COMIC1☆7 (April 28) and COMITIA 104 (May 5) during the Golden Week holidays in Japan. COMIC1 is an all-genre doujin event resembling Comiket to some extent, and Comitia is an event dedicated to original (not fan-creation) doujins.

We had a large number of visitors in both the events. It was very encouraging to see that so many people are continuously looking forward to the release of KS in Japanese language. Of course there were many questions about how far the translation has progressed. We are trying our best to meet the expectations of all the fans.

The entire game draft has been translated, and we are in the reviewing phase right now. Since a review will not get completed in just a single pass, it is difficult to give a clear-cut number. Our plan is to complete and hand over the entire translation within 1 year.

Other notable questions we had:
- How will the Japanese version be released? : Most likely as an update to the current full version, with the Japanese text merged in, similar to Act 1.
- Releasing in physical media? : No plans as of now.
- This game made a huge news a few years back! : (Yeah that's us)

We'll continue to post our progress in this blog so please keep watching.

- hir

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools: Katawa Shoujo 2 Cancelled

The only thing set in stone about creativity is that nothing is set in stone. We at the Four Leaf Studios know that as well as anyone. Throughout the development of Katawa Shoujo, we changed our minds countless of times about grand visions of the project, and about minute details as well. After KS was released, we felt like we were done, finished both emotionally and creatively. We didn't want to stay with KS anymore, but where to go from there?

After about a year of soul-searching we realized that we hadn't done anything of relevance for about a year and panicked a little. Katawa Shoujo 2 was brought up again. Maybe we should just accept our fate and go for it? Do we have motivation? Could we get inspired by returning to that uninspiring setting and having to write about teenager drama once again? After some unfruitful discussions and a lot of hemming and hawing we decided to use the most powerful development tool known to man: voting. Everyone would simply vote for or against making KS2 and we'd abide by the democratic decision no matter what anyone actually said about the issue.

I think just about everyone's mind was blown when it turned out that every single vote was for “yes”! I couldn't believe it myself. Just like that, we had changed our minds on the biggest rule for ourselves, the one we thought was truly set in stone. So, that was it. Half excited, half scared, we set out to make KS2, but how? What would it be like? What should it be like? 

It would be a failure, as we found out.

Finding an unified vision between a great number of people is difficult. The proverb about chefs and soup goes for devs and visual novels just as well. The overall approach for KS2 was the first point of conflict. I argued that there was no point in making a sequel unless it's essentially the same thing again, which made delta threaten to quit on the spot because he'd rather cosplay Misha at the next Oktoberfest than make KS all over again. Suriko thought he was being clever by suggesting a compromise with a female protagonist and a girl love theme, but everyone was wise to his self-serving agenda and shut it down immediately. Not that anyone was really that attached to Hisao as the protagonist. Five people, individually from each other, suggested a plot revolving around killing Hisao in the most unfortunate ways. Too bad the only thing everyone hated more than Hisao were the proposed plot concepts.


With an immediate bad end in the direction of going the high-concept route (which Silentcook pointed out was utterly ridiculous given the topic we're talking about), we thought maybe we could let the story write itself if we could come up with a sufficiently strong cast. That's what some creators are able to do, I've heard. As for us, the sheer amount of moe characteristics, fetishes and thinly veiled dream girlfriends fast became impossible to deal with, and since everyone is very adamant about their tastes being supreme, compromise was hard to reach. The discussions soon became very much like actual office politics, with people colluding to support each other's inane ideas, backstabbing, threats to quit and even blackmail.

Visual concept design wasn't going any better. We had a bunch of unused character designs left over from KS 1 (half of which various devs wanted to cram into the sequel for no good reason) and the artists jumped at the chance to create worthy spiritual successors to classic designs like Hideaki and Jigoro. Delta threatened to quit once he heard that moekki would get to do character design, but we made sure she would only be working under strict supervision of kamifish which calmed him down a bit. The character design process overall caused quite a bit of anger and resentment, eventually resulting in every single completed design being rejected. Things were not looking good for us.

As a final desperation move we turned to our resident expert in lowest common denominator, climatic. He suggested we should do a fandisk for KS that amends the lack of certain "fundamentals" in the original game. This would be appealing to the widest audience. The concept involved things like a beach event, a pool event, a hot springs event, Shanghai turned into a maid cafe, catgirls, doggirls, foxgirls, bunnygirls, sheepgirls, a cute but a bit tsundere little sister character, a perverted otaku best friend character, a stalker character, a harem ending, a harem ending, a harem ending, a haunted house, inexplicable superpowers, alternate dimensions, mecha battles, magical girls, zombies, fantasy MMORPGs and a clown.

This titanic project didn't even need a metaphorical iceberg, it sunk because of its own impossibility. All that remains are dozens, maybe hundreds of concepts, all rejected for one reason or another, many ruined friendships and the memory of the worst month of my life. We truly tried our best to find a vision worthy of a sequel of Katawa Shoujo, but regrettably it just was not to be. We're sorry. 

So where do we go from here? We decided that what we're going to do now is to skip KS 2 entirely and go straight for creating Katawa Shoujo 3. From how our planning is going, it's looking to be absolutely magnificent, with so many amazing features and stories. We're really excited and confident about this project and hope you're too. Look forward to hearing more about that in about a year.

- Aura

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Katawa Shoujo at Anime Expo 2013


It's that time of the year again, and just as the case was in 2012, a number of Katawa Shoujo developers will be attending and operating tables at the Anime Expo convention, held at the Los Angeles Convention Centre from July 4th to July 7th.

The developers in attendance will be Weee (artist), Gebyy (artist), Nicol (musician), and Suriko (writer, producer). We won't be selling a new Katawa Shoujo artbook this year, unfortunately, but feel free to swing by and say hi if you're there. We'll update this blog post later once table placement is known.

 - Suriko

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Friday, January 4, 2013

365 Days Later

We have traditionally "celebrated" the 4th of January anniversary of the beginning of our project in one way or another, often with a blog post relating to the passing year. Now that the date is also the anniversary of the game release, it's a nice excuse to keep the tradition going for one year more. As expected, releasing Katawa Shoujo didn't mean that it would let go of us, and much of the year has gone with wrapping our heads around the aftermath.

Living Up to the Hype

The waves of Katawa Shoujo's release splash have somehow lasted through the entire year. That there is an actual fandom spawned around KS is incredible, something not very many visual novels can claim, and we're happy and surprised to have so many people come to love it. Apart from the reactions of people, the emotional resonance and such, the things that have left an impression are the many new creative projects inspired by the Katawa Shoujo (as well as the direct fan creations), and the new fan communities spawned around the Internet. There has been lots of more personal communication as well. Many people wrote to us with stories of how KS struck a chord with them, but by far the biggest impact for me came from the comments of RAITA, the creator of the concept art that birthed the project. A few kind words about our perseverance and his satisfaction in the end result were enough to give me a feeling of validation beyond anything any other person could've given. It's funny, isn't it? With that, I felt the circle truly coming to a close.

Anniversary Presents

As an anniversary present of a sorts, we release the digital edition of the summer 2012 4LS artbook, Tomorrow/Today. The 32-page full colour artbook featuring Katawa Shoujo illustrations by 4LS staff and our friends was originally released in Los Angeles' Anime Expo in June, followed by the Japanese edition in Tokyo's Comic Market 83 in December. You can download the digital release from this link.

This Is Not a True Ending

What about 2013? Well, at the very least we hope to to go public with some new 4LS projects that have been in the concept/early development stage in 2012 (and before). There's been some pressure to do so, and I suppose at least for me personally, it's a solidifying thing too, plus I enjoy engaging with the public. Look forward to that. Depending on how things go this also could mean that we actually need to recruit some people in 4LS. And finally, don't be surprised if you see a new artbook coming from us this year too. That's the future foreseeable from here, but who knows what is going to happen this year. Let's hope it will be good and precious things only.

- Aura

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