The hard work you all put into this game will always be appreciated. I've grown to love this game quite a lot. Happy New Year!
[Update] Beta 20: The story update
It's finally here: Idol Manager's new beta build is live and available for download via the game's itch.io page. (If you're a Kickstarter backer and never got your access key, now would be a great time to contact us and get that sorted out!)
This is by far the biggest update we've made for Idol Manager, adding the biggest and perhaps most important feature in Idol Manager: the main story! We hope you enjoy it and drop by the beta forums to let us know what you think!
The game's story is finally here! When starting a new game, you have the option to play in "story mode" or "free play."
The "free play" mode functions the same as previous beta builds have acted -- the only story events included are the early events with Fujimoto and Rival. (As with previous builds, the "new game" menu has settings that give you the option to skip things like the intro dialog, policies dialog, and so on.) Any save files you have from previous beta versions will exist in "free play" mode. To play in story mode, select "story mode" from the main menu to start a new game.
"Story mode" is the version of Idol Manager that has been our goal from the start: you'll progress through several "chapters" by completing various criteria, and along the way you'll make choices that will lead to one of a variety of possible endings. Most of your advancement through the story will be based on the tasks system that was introduced in September's update. (Not all endings are necessarily good! If you want to have a career that lasts longer than the events of the story, keep that in mind when making important decisions that could affect your career and the future of your group.)
There's lots of new features and gameplay systems bundled in the new story events, and this is normally the part of the announce post where we'd detail them at length...but we'd prefer not to spoil them and let you discover those moments along the way during your time with the game's story mode.
When socializing with other adults, you have the option to flirt and potentially explore romantic interest. (Not everyone is receptive to attempts at flirtation, and flirting attempts can easily backfire, so tread lightly!) Spend enough time kindling that romantic interest, and you may be able to spend more time socializing with them outside the office in a variety of venues. Of course, becoming romantically involved with people in the workplace is the kind of thing that has been known to end careers, so be careful...
More events and substories
Even if you don't play the game's new story mode, there's still lots of new story moments for you to encounter during your time with Idol Manager, including conversations that will have effects on gameplay.
The effects can be positive or negative, and there are lots of ways to trigger them, which is all the more reason to be careful with how you're running your group: if your company's finances spend too much time in the red, or you have too many explosive scandals, you might have a moment of reckoning...
You can now choose the gender of the rival character when starting a new game. (This is now chosen independently of your player character's gender.)
New save menu
The new save system allows you to name your save file, and the menu displays additional information about your save files, including your playtime (which, as of this update, is now tracked).
What we're still working on
We were hoping to have the tutorial system done in time for this update, but ran into a number of challenges along the way that meant that we would have had to delay this update if we wanted to include the full tutorial system. As such, the tutorial will be implemented in a future update.
That being said, we have a thread on the beta forum that shares some of the text assets from the tutorial -- in addition to this possibly serving as a useful text guide for those who might be playing the beta for the first time, experienced players are also welcome to give their feedback on the (non-implemented) tutorial based on their experience with the game!
We're also looking forward to getting your feedback on this version of the game, and our next update will likely be focused on bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements based on your feedback and experiences with this version of the beta.
Other things on the horizon...
While this version of the beta comes close to delivering the full Idol Manager experience, we have a few other surprises in store for when the full game releases next year. We can't talk about them just yet, but we're looking forward to sharing the news with you next year when the game is ready for official release, so please stay tuned!
This has been a challenging year for many of us, but we got to spend the year building and improving a game that has been our passion project for many years -- and that's been possible due to all of the support we've received from all of you. To everyone who has supported us during the Kickstarter campaign and in the time since, we're incredibly grateful: you are the reason we've been able to spend so much of our time working on this game, and for that, we cannot thank you enough.
Not only have you supported us financially, but your feedback has been a critical part of sculpting Idol Manager into the game it is today. If you decide to play this version of the beta, please drop by the forum to let us know what you think! We're close to the end, but we're not done yet, and hearing from you helps us to make Idol Manager the best game it can be. This is our biggest update yet, and we're thrilled that you can now experience what we've been working on for so long.
It's been a long journey to get here, but we're looking forward to the game's final release in 2021 , which seems so close we can almost taste it. Thank you for getting us this far and sticking with us for so long!