Family Project ~Kazoku Keikaku~ is an adult visual novel game that focuses on the chance meetings and growing relationships between seven people forced to cohabitate in Japan. All of them face their own distinct hardships and familial issues and find it's in their best interests to move in together. In order to avoid unwanted questions, they pretend to be a family, with some taking the facade more seriously than others. Originally released in 2001 to a Japanese audience, the upbeat, heartwarming, sometimes dark title featuring profoundly flawed characters found a large fan base and is considered by many to have one of the most well-written plots of any eroge title in the relatively short history of the genre. G-Collections took on the task of translating and uncensoring the title for a western release in 2009.
Like most visual novels, the story is presented along with backgrounds and character cutouts, much like a digital puppet show. Occasionally artwork depicting major events and adult scenes are shown as the plot progresses. Family Project is lengthy even for a visual novel, however the majority of the game is tied up in a common story before the culmination of your decisions throughout the game are tallied behind the scenes and a unique endgame plays out detailing the developing relationship between the player character and the character he was most attentive to throughout the game.
The player character is named Tsukasa Sawamura. He's a hardworking person who is quick to anger and has strong opinions unlike many protagonists in the visual novel genre. At the beginning of the game he has an apartment, however events cause him to become homeless and fall into debt. He makes ends meet by working for a Chinese restaurant and moonlighting as a male companion in a Hosts bar thanks to his understanding and uncomfortably flirty superior, Assistant Manager Lau. Lau is mysterious, bisexual, and undeniably dangerous when he chooses to be, however he generally chooses to be goofy and good-natured.
Chunhua is the chinese girl Tsukasa discovers unconscious in a gutter behind the restaurant and the catalyst for the major events in his life that lead him to join the Family Project. She had a difficult life in China and came into Japan illegally but escaped her captors in an attempt to find her mother. She doesn't speak any Japanese at all, however Tsukasa brings her home and does what he can to help her for reasons he's not entirely sure of himself. Not having any money or real ability to converse, she initially offers herself to Tsukasa as repayment for his kindness, which he refuses on principle regardless of what choice the player makes. The carefree and generally happy girl becomes something like a little sister to him who he feels it's his duty to protect.
Hiroshi Hirota is a strange, eccentric middle-aged homeless business man who sneaks and forces his way into the life and apartment of Tsukasa Sawamura. While undeniably crazy, he adopts a fatherly affection for everyone he lives with and is the main driving force behind the Family Project. Tsukasa has a one-sided antagonistic relationship with Hiroshi, who views the relationship as one would with an unruly, disrespectful son who he cares for greatly.
Masumi Itakura is an emotional 30-year-old woman Tsukasa comes across just as she attempts to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge. After her rescue, she feels indebted to Tsukasa and intent to be a part of his life. She adopts the motherly role in the Family Project, embracing the concept of an adopted family more than most in an attempt to avoid falling into depression again.
Matsuri Kawahara is a model first-year high school student who is introduced as coming home to a cardboard box in a construction pit. Despite her planning and preparation, strong winds and heavy rains destroy her "house" and leave her truly homeless in the beginning of the game, leading to the meeting with Tsukasa and company. Once in the Family Project, she takes on cooking duties and other chores as the dutiful youngest daughter in the fake family. She performs her tasks with earnest, and for lack of a proper family latches onto her family of convenience.
Jun Ogawara is a cold, quiet, disturbingly aloof girl who seemingly is willing to do anything for money, including dealing drugs. Prior to the start of the game, she had history with Tsukasa when they were both in high school where she hired herself out to him as a girlfriend, going so far as to write up a contract. After a chance reunion, Tsukasa proposes a new contract in order to get her to join the family project, as her participation is critical since no one in the Project has the financial sense she does. Still, lingering feelings remain on both sides.
Aoba Takayashiki is the estranged daughter of a powerful Japanese family. With no other sources of income, she spends her days in the park as an portrait artist, however disturbing her art may be. Most subjects feel cursed after having their pictures drawn by her. She has no desire to join the Family Project but feels she has no other choice. She has no qualms about pulling rank as "eldest daughter" in order to get her way.