Clannad (visual Novel) - Development

Development

The executive producer for Clannad was Takahiro Baba from Visual Art's, the publishing company which controls Key. Jun Maeda, who was one of three main scenario writers with Kai, and Yūichi Suzumoto, led the planning for Clannad and wrote the majority of the scenarios. Scenario assistance was provided by Tōya Okano. Itaru Hinoue headed the art direction, and also worked on the character design. Miracle Mikipon, Mochisuke, Na-Ga, and Shinory supplemented the computer graphics. Torino provided the background art. The game music was composed by Maeda, Shinji Orito, and Magome Togoshi.

For Key's second visual novel Air, Maeda admitted he felt he was able to write what he wanted to for the game's scenario, but he later discovered that Air was difficult for players to receive and experience. Due to this, Maeda felt that for Key's next work Clannad, he had a sense of duty to make the game easier to receive for as many users as possible. In any case, he wanted to make it an entertaining game, and started planning on Clannad almost immediately after Air's completion. From the start of Clannad's planning, Maeda did not want to write a story like in Air, but instead wanted to focus on writing a deep connection between the 'people and the town', and 'humanity'. Maeda noted that he exceeded his writing ability when writing most of the scenarios in Clannad, and equates Clannad's writing process as a "wall that I will never be able to get over again." While at the beginning Maeda felt he was prepared, the entire game's story started to increase to a level Maeda never predicted, and Suzumoto noted that it approximately doubled in size from the original projected length. Suzumoto attributed the increase due to the lengthening structure of the game's base scenario which caused the 'branch' scenarios to increase as well.

There were more concerns about Clannad being similar to Air. When Nagisa's scenario was being written, there were some disputes concerning the length of her scenario, and thus putting too much focus on the main heroine. Some were concerned that having a single prominent character with a unique storyline would be too much like how Air was structured with the overall focus on Misuzu Kamio. Takahiro Baba, the company president of Visual Art's, is even noted as suggesting to minimize the differences between the other characters' scenarios, but this was ultimately ignored since Maeda thought the game's evaluation by players would not decrease on account of the scenarios being vastly different, and thought the end result was a good one. Maeda was concerned that the After Story arc, mainly a continuation of Nagisa's scenario, would eclipse the entire game's scenario, much like what happened with Air according to Maeda. In order to prevent the same thing happening in Clannad, Maeda focused on making the first half of the story, the School Life arc, just as enjoyable by making it long and heart-breaking. Clannad is Key's second longest work, as reported by Yūto Tonokawa where he stated that Clannad is about 4000 words fewer than Key's 2008 game Little Busters! Ecstasy.

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