You can’t make KS2.

I know that feeling.

The adrenaline is pumping. You’re totally committed. You are going to make this, and it will be awesome. Fame and fortune will follow. You’re going to transport your audience to another world, make them weep with happiness and foam at the mouth with rabid angry. You’re going to take them on a journey – one much like the one that you’ve just been on.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but I’m probably a little too much of a fan of the BBC’s Sherlock series. Every time I watch one of the episodes I’ll sit, spellbound, until the end of the credits. Then I’ll rush to a notepad or to my PC and start smashing out ideas.

Fiction has that great tendency to make you want to create yourself. I also know how that can go when it’s something that touches you deeply. I know the moment when I got completely hooked into the weeb culture. I was reading the Excel Saga Manga (a friend had introduced me to this but I was only a new Weeb at this point). There was a forum for fans of the editor, and there were recommendations of other anime. Both Haruhi and Higurashi were recommended there, and I downloaded both. At the time, both were 8 episodes in.

Haruhi was great, but Higurashi kept me up all night – literally. At that point I didn’t know about fansubs, but I watched all 8 episodes of Higurashi back-to-back, and I joined WinD Fansubs that night – initially as a proofreader and then eventually running the group for about 2 years.

So I understand how it feel when you experience something and then feel like you need to join in. You have that confidence that you can continue the story, and that you can keep the feels coming.

But, let’s face it – you can’t. Neither can I. We all know the story of the sequel that failed to live up to expectations, or the series that went so long it had to Jump the Shark (the fact that Happy Days actually had to get to that point to create the meme kind of proves the point).

So let’s talk about the title of this post: Why no KS2? Because nothing will meet the expectations of the fans. I’m not sure about the other devs, but I find it really hard to write Hanako now. In 2007 I had a Hanako in my head and I could drop her into any situation and see how she would react. If I did that today it would be inauthentic; the zeitgeist Hanako has surpassed the “authentic” Hanako in my head.

So, what if we let someone else do it?

Well, there are certainly people out there that have the talent to write a better story. None of the 4LS devs are deluded enough to think that we’re true professionals – at least we weren’t in 2007-2012. I’m also hesitant to say that 4LS was a fluke. We had a certain suicidal dedication and also high enough personal standards to make something that we could all be happy with. It was painful, but I learned a lot.

The thing is, I think that the people out there that have the talent to pull off a KS2 are also the people that want to create their own thing. The people that want to make a KS2 are the people that are simply inspired, but they don’t know how to deploy their creativity.

KS2 has also taken on a place in a lot of people’s minds. I still get fan mail today that goes along the lines of “Thanks for making KS – it changed/saved my life.” Before I say to someone “You can make KS2” I need to consider their ability to have that same reaction.

If, perchance, someone does come to me with an idea and a team that could pull that off, then I’ll be fighting for them with the other 4LS devs, and I think that we would likely give them our blessings. But until you see all our our Twitter accounts praising a new team, there is no “official” KS2.

I would hope that people would let the story end where it does, but, alas, every year or so another team comes along and decides that they’re going to make KS2 – no matter if I agree or not.

But, in the end, it’s not KS2. I simply don’t think that anything like that could even exist. There are much better stories than KS. There are much more talented teams than 4LS. But there are also a lot more teams that are worse than us. It’s got nothing to do with permissions or with copyright, it’s more to do with where KS sits in the community’s mind. There are still a few thousand people active in the various KS communities – you would need to convince all of them that you had a great continuation of the story to make a “true” KS2. There are some fan-works out there that even rival the quality of KS, and yet none of those creators try to say that they are making KS2.

I’m not sure how to conclude this, so let me just…

tl;dr: You can’t make KS2. Put your creative energies into something else. You’re not likely going to see me say that I’ve authorized KS2, and if you do see something like that, it’s probably a fake.

6 thoughts on “You can’t make KS2.

  1. Man, again Thanks for writing and help creating one of the most precious works of art I had access in my life. I cannot stress that out enough. I’m thankful to all of you for your hard work and I seriously accept and support your decision to end it there.

    I know is a disappointment to many that KS is the magnums opera and the last work of 4LS. But it was the sum of a prefect storm the perfect ensemble and a burning passion that consumed many of you. I don’t think it is a perfect work and I see many defects (like any work of fiction has) still it has it’s merits and not a small amount.

    I had fun, reading KS and sharing with my friends. I made great memories thanks to that work, it left a mark.

    And yes I think there is much more in the world than KS, many things can be said and should be said but it doesn’t need to be KS2.

    Hugs man, stay safe and again Thank you. Hanako is still best girl, always keeping her Social Distancing (protecting herself and others).

  2. While I mostly agree that you can’t really make a traditional KS2, I think you’re missing the trees for the forest. Like you bring up, there is some -incredible- fan content out there for KS, including some written by yourself. Mainly, I think it’s important to look at the April fools “joke” and how it spun off. The original 4LS put out an april fools tease, and several very talented writers went on to create incredible, fleshed out, full routes for the expansion girls. Not only that, but other writers have done that for side characters, like Miki. This is fan content that many would agree is on par with the original game, some that many would even consider the closest to more -real- KS that there is.

    Which ultimately brings me to my point; the only way to make an authentic continuation of KS in 2020 and beyond is to take that content (Snuzu, Rika, Saki, Miki, etc) and make that into the new game. It’s already written, just take it, put it in that engine, polish it, and call it KS 1.5 or 2 or w/e you want. It’s the closest spiritual successor we’d ever get to the “rag tag bunch turns a concept into a game”. These routes are already basically cannon, and I don’t think anybody would complain or dislike it.

    As for a “true” KS2 by 4LS or even a new project by 4LS, I’m just I’d love it and play it, but I think it’s unlikely to ever see the light of day. And even if it did, I don’t think we need to revisit the original story of those characters. I think it’d be best to move on to a new cast, especially since times have changed since KS1. The great spirit of KS1 is that it touched on something that was very fresh and unexpected at the time, it hit people in a way that they weren’t used to, and brought widespread acceptance to a group of people who are often stigmatized and overlooked. To truly make another one, I think you need to try and take that idea and move forward with it, but god knows how. It really truly was an incredible lightning in a bottle moment and I think we likely won’t see it again, and if we do, it’ll be in a different form.

    1. I guess one of the main points I missed in my whiskey-filled post was that I’m cool with fan works. If you say “Hey I was inspired by KS so here’s my fan art/fiction/whatever” then that is great.

      But to say “I’m making KS2” will mean that you will attract creative people and basically pour their efforts down the drain. And that’s not fair.
      What I wanted to prevent was anyone thinking that I had signed off on a sequel and thus working for that team is a good thing.

  3. KS happened and I’m happy for it. I do agree with you that one should take it as inspiration to make something for oneself rather than focus on trying to surpass something which need no continuation.

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