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The Whole Story of TSSB and ZUN - full transcript

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Jan 18th, 2015
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  1. Hello everyone, FSS here, and today are going to explain all the events between Touhou Smash and ZUN.
  2. So we'll start with the good news. Touhou Smash is ZUN approved and requested that we finish the game using everything within our ability. That being said, the game development will continue and Touhou Smash will be completed as scheduled. We learned a lot about specific unwritten policies of which future western Touhou fandom developers should be aware of before distributing or funding their project.
  4. The slightly less good news is that ZUN does not believe in collecting funds at the beginning of a project. We'll go into more detail as the events are explained chronologically below.
  6. It started with Dart looking at ZUN's official website guidelines in March to see what the specific rules were regarding a Touhou fan project. You can see the link to the official rules ZUN has laid down for Touhou Fandom here:
  9. The rules are as follows:
  11. After thoroughly reading the rules, it appeared that there would be no problems whatsoever creating a Touhou Super Smash Battles combo. However, reading that only doujin circles are allowed to distribute Touhou Fandom content, we contacted "curiousfactories" and registered FSS. They confirmed in an email saying "Congradulations FSS, your circle has been registered". From that point on FSS has been an official Doujin Circle. We even have Glass-wing, Spheroid, and the Glass-Wing comic uploaded to the website as our Doujin material.
  13. On August 18th is when you guys joined the boat and started to follow us as Dart officially began development of Touhou Super Smash Battles and posted weekly updates on YouTube for everyone to follow and discuss.
  15. Around early September FSS was invited as special guests to the first American Touhou con ever. And they helped us organize the first Touhou Super Smash Battles Tournament ever and the prize being able to pick your favorite character to be included in the game. That is how Yuuka was confirmed as a playable character for the final version of the game. The event was very wonderful and we met a lot of our earliest subscribers during this event when we talked to them personally about what they thought of the game thus far. We even met two Japanese Touhou smash fans that loved the event and played a huge part in helping us set up Touhou Smash vids in the Nico Nico Douga (Japanese Youtube). It was also at that time the early game supporters and fans recommended a crowd funding campaign, and we considered the practical applications of it.
  17. We thought it was an interesting idea, so Dart did more research re-checking the guidlines regarding Touhou/Doujin games and crowd funding, and there was no such clause or statement regarding the matter. There was only one previous Touhou project that attempted crowd funding and we personally talked to the developers asking them what led to project cancellation. They explained it was because they could not speak Japanese and establish any form of clear communication about proper venues of distribution. Also, at the time, it was known that they did not make any attempt to contact ZUN and there was huge speculation that this was a big reason the project was canceled.
  19. After that conversation, we looked at the rules again, (this is 4 months after the kickstarter), to see if there had been any augmentation to ZUN’s guidelines to accommodate the crowd-funding issue that was presented to ZUN in the kickstarter campaign in May. Seeing, that the rules had indeed not been updated or changed in any way hinted that actual problem was not with Kickstarter or crowd funding, but rather the manner in which they went about distribution. We assumed that the problem must have been deeper in the communication issues.
  21. Soon after on October 22nd, Nintendo took notice of FSS and gave us the wonderful honor of joining the indie game design community for the Wii-U. They have been a awesome community to work with and give so much freedom in terms of design and types of games created by the developers. As long as you make your own game with your own stuff, and it is legal it could possibly be a Wii-U game. (This is why we don't use mmd models)
  23. From that point we developed Touhou Smash until it looked presentable and towards mid-December we sent an email to ZUN asking him about his stance on crowd funding. We waited about 2 weeks for a response as to "Yes, or No". On his guidelines he states "...*whole are free so I will leave it to circle like judgment, please consult me if judgment does not stick. In addition, if you find a secondary condition that does not seem to be here that does not meet the above conditions, in the decision, you may be asked to stop distribution please note"... So it has been two weeks, we followed protocol using our own best judgment and took an extra measure in our email asking to discuss kickstarter and other crowd funding avenues with ZUN since he asked to “consult if judgment does not stick”. After almost 3 weeks, we assumed that it has been a reasonable amount of time to view an email and that if he did not approve of a crowd-funding campaign he would have let us know. According to part 9 of ZUN's policy he reserves the right to shut down distribution if he sees fit. As such, even though the guidelines have no mentions regarding crowd-funding We decided to release the campaign on January 6th, and were very aware and ready to accept ZUN's decision of shutting the campaign if he specifically asked for such action.
  25. As the campaign was launched, many different layers of media took note of Touhou smash. One of the most notable being Nintendo Nuggets in which case we were interviewed as to the possibility of Touhou Smash coming to the Wii U. There is a big Bold Note at the front page explaining that the details of a Wii-U installment are still in discussion and that a "Yes" is likely. It did not say that anything was guaranteed. As developers we did not want to present any information guaranteeing it a spot in the Wii-U until ZUN agreed with a very solid and precise "yes".
  27. Link:
  29. Some people understandably jumped to the conclusion that it was a definite title coming to the Wii-U. This included a few Japanese article writers such as "Game Saved" which stated that it was indeed coming to the Wii-U. FSS quickly contacted the Article Author and they fixed the article saying that it was a possibility and not an official Nintendo title. However, by the time the article was corrected ZUN had already tweeted his discomfort about the game being on a Nintendo console.
  30. At that point, we confirmed that he knew about the project and however for some reason, still had not responded to our email. We sent a follow-up email on the 11th to remind ZUN that we would like to discuss the project with him. Though, that after two emails and no response the only thing we know is that ZUN, Ruw, and some of his friends were continuing to tweet distain for something.... about the project.
  32. Realizing that email wasn’t working, FSS began to focus more on communication via twitter. However, twitter's 140 character limit made communication and responding to tweets about complicated question very difficult and thus Shade along with some fellow Japanese students in college typed up an informative article in Japanese explaining FSS's position and the state of the project. You can find the article and it's translation here:
  34. We then tweeted the article to ZUN and a few of his friends. Ironically enough, a few days later on January 16 at 6pm we finally got an email after all instead of a tweet from Shanghai Alice's Copyright representative Fumio Oyamada.
  36. Though it is not technically written in policy, he explained, crowd funding is not recognized as a valid means to support a project because it is an investment and those investment methods are not tolerated.
  38. At the end of the email, there was a plead that translates to "Using all of your own abilities please create the game". (Due to privacy issues and I doubt ZUN would let me publicize the email conversation)(Keep in mind that is the best translation we could have, and it’s not word for word)
  40. We received this email at 6pm the 16th this month. Now when we read the email. It sounded like they were cool with everything as long as we made it ourselves and within our own abilities. The only restriction apparently is crowd funding. Which we are completely fine with discontinuing in respect to ZUN's opinion. The only thing he doesn't like about crowd-funding is that it is backwards in the sense that money is made before the project is done. So it seems that as long as money doesn't appear till after the project is made it should be safe if distributed through a doujin site.
  42. Continuing along this thought process, we are a registered Doujin circle, and it is completely within our ability to put the game onto the WIi-u. Also it is specifically stated in ZUN's policy that you are not allowed to distribute doujin games through websites primarily used by “foreigners" (foreigners being anyone not Japanese). So, as of now, the closest outlet we know that is used mostly by Japanese but also by many foreigners is the Wii-u e-shop. My Japanese friends including my Father read the email and told me that it seems pretty safe to translate the last part as "You can do whatever you want, just do it yourself and without crowd funding". So you don't need to send another email asking specific questions.
  44. However, I knew that FSS could not make any more assumptions, so after reading it Shade started typing up a reply saying thank you very much for your email and affirming them that we will cease the campaign as we stated from the very beginning. At the very end I asked one final questions very clearly inquiring whether or not we could distribute the game on the Wii-U e-shop and awaited there response. You can view exactly what I said in email below January 17th:
  46. ---
  47. Dear Fumio Oyamada of Team Shanghai Alice,
  48. Japanese is fine, so please do not worry.
  50. It is a pleasure to meet you, and thank you so much for responding so quickly. My name is Kunihiko Higuchi of the FSS team.
  52. We completely understand and respect your decision and will cancel the funding campaign.
  54. We have one final question regarding copyrights to ensure that FSS will cause no more troubles. There are other parady Touhou games being sold on the I phone app store and the Sony Playstation Network right now. Once we complete Touhou Smash, will ZUN allow FSS to sell the game through the Wii-u
  55. e-shop?
  57. Again, thank you so much for your quick and clear response.
  59. -Kevin Kunihiko Higuchi-
  60. -FromSoySauce-
  62. 上海アリスチーム Fumio Oyamadaさん
  63. 日本語でも大丈夫です。
  64. 迅速な対応ありがとうございます。私はFSSチームの樋口国彦と申します。
  65. あなたがたの決定を理解、尊重した上で、ファウンドレイジングをキャンセルすることにしました。
  66. これ以上不明確な点がないように最後に著作権に関して明確にしておきたい点があります。現在、携帯アプリやSony Playstation Networkにて東方プロジェクトに関するパロディゲームが多数販売されています。もし、私達が東方大乱闘を完成させた場合に、FSSがこのゲームをWii-U e-shopにて販売することはZUNさんは問題だとお考えになるでしょうか?
  67. 迅速かつ丁寧な返答ありがとうございます。
  68. --
  69. The next morning we discovered they responded with a follow up email. Saying that they acknowledged our agreement to cancel the indigogo campaign.
  71. They said that in terms of Fan games, Touhou copyright is not a problem it is simply a matter of the ZUN talking with the original Author of the following game.
  73. The Wii-U, Amazon, and Steam not aceptable selling areas according to ZUN.
  75. In regards to the Playstation Network, In Japan, SCE and ZUN have a mutual agreement but releasing Touhou on the Wii-U is a matter between ZUN and Nintendo alone.
  77. That is all, best regards.
  78. --------------
  80. And that leads us to today. So for those wondering whether or not The Project has been approved, yes Team Shanghai Alice themselves have told us to please use everything within our own abilities, except the Wii-U, crowd-funding, Amazon, Steam, and any site primarily used by foreigners to finish the game by ourselves. And that is exactly what we plan to do. That is a lot of “no’s” But the biggest and most important “Yes” Is the project is good to fly and continue to be developed!
  82. Our first priority is "YOU WILL GET YOUR MONEY BACK". We have looked and looked and looked for a feature to cancel an indigogo campaign. After searching google for examples of canceled indigogo campaigns there apparently are none... meaning there is no way to cancel an indigogo campaign "per say". If you find a way please let us know to save us the trouble of reimbursing each person individually on at a time. Lol.
  84. What we can do is change the title of the campaign letting everyone viewing know that it has been discontinued and is no longer accepting donations. Simultaneously all of the contributors will be emailed and informed of the campaigns status. There we will say the campaign has been discontinued and all donations will be reimbursed when indigogo gives us access to the funds 15 days after the campaign is over.
  86. A number of you have expressed that regardless of the campaigns status you would like to reject the reimbursment and keep your perk. FSS is legally bound by indigogo to begin providing the service promised in exchange for money. That being said, any Donor can has legal authority to reject their reimbursement and force FSS to provide the service we promised in exchange. We have been extremely blessed to have received the amount of support and enthusiasm from all our supporters. It was very heart warming to read just how excited you all are for the game. And we still vow to deliver that excitement. For those of you that wish to maintain your perk, simply respond to the email we send tomorrow, let us know, and it will be so. If you do not respond to the email by the end of the campaign, then we will assume you wish to be reimbursed. Let me repeat that, we are assuming that you do not want to keep your perk and want to be reimbursed unless you specifically notify us otherwise!
  88. So, that take's care of that....
  90. S: So.... what's plan B?
  91. Sh: We'll I graduate college this may, I guess I'll get a job,
  92. D: Plan B is Shade get's a job!!!
  93. Sh: Lol, we'll I shouldn't say job, I meant a career
  94. Sh: RIght now I have a job, I work at a helicopter booth at the mall for now. But hopefully this may I could financially support things that way.
  96. D: To compensate for the time and effort we will have to dedicate to the game in order to still release with a sizable roster in good time, I have withdrawn from my college courses this semester, and will continue my education when the project is finished.
  98. S: I'll continue to make music-
  100. In regards to Touhou Smash and the new direction that it is going to take as a result, here is what is going to be changed about Touhou.
  102. First off, We have already released the beta of the demo. The real demo will feature Tenshi. After the demo, we will start to re-stylize the graphics. We have heard all your opinions and read all the comments, and the game will be taking an anime style art from now on. The art style was originally something to be unique, however, it has been heavily voiced that an anime style approach would best fit the game. So to the best of our ability, we will make the game in an anime style.
  104. Second: There will be another demo featuring 4 playable characters, afterwards, people with the perk of beta will continue receiving copies for the next 2 characters. After that, anyone who retains the endless beta perk, we will send you an update of the game once or twice a month until it is finalized.
  106. 3rd: A much larger cast is no longer feasible. However, anyone who maintained a favorite maiden perk will be our priority for character development after Tenshi and Yuuka.
  108. 4th: We're going to make the Metroid-Vania Story Mode anyway because we think it would be really fun.
  110. 5th: The open mailbox policy is still in affect. So, for anyone who wants to offer ANY resources for free, to make this as awesome as possible everything is very welcomed! is the place to submit resources if you have them.
  112. 6th: The stages and Boss perks that remain at the end of the campaign are also a priority now instead of a compliment to the main game.
  114. 7th: The only thing we can't guarantee any longer is improved animation quality and highly refined graphics.
  116. 8th: No Japanese translation will be provided since we don't have enough time to do it right and very terribly translated dialog won’t help the game. If anyone wants to hack it and personally make a patched Japanese version. Feel free, we think it would be wonderful 
  118. So an important note to Western Developers of Touhou Fandom. If you have any questions for ZUN, don't email him using the address on his site. We learned too late, and many people started to tell us, that he apparently virtually never emails anyone. He handles everything through Fumio Oyamada. But more important than that, try not to use Email so much as twitter.
  120. Now, we know FSS has caused quite a controversy. That was never our intention. We are sorry for any trouble that is might have caused. We honestly just loved Smash Bros (Dai Ranto) and loved Touhou, and just thought it would be cool and wanted it to be the best game it could be. We guarantee that everyone who wants their money back is going to get refunded. If you don’t get your money back, I’ll pay you personally from my pocket.
  122. We wanted to give a special thanks to every one of our supporters and subscribers for being there for us, telling us warm things in the midst of all the chaos. You guys are the reason the channel still exists, and I can’t wait to show you what other games and tutorials we have planned for you in the future.
  124. So again, to everyone who supported us. Thank you! Sorry to everyone we caused trouble for. We tried our best to follow all the rules, but I guess stuff just happens sometimes.
  126. We'll I hope that cleared up any questions you guys had, and This is From Soy Sauce, Out-
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