Giving Visual Novels a Chance in the West

DualShockers writes: "Those who enjoy cut-scene-driven games are a dying breed. Back in “the day” we enjoyed that part of a game’s story telling. Remember watching as Cloud raced his bike through the streets of Midgar or the opera scene in Final Fantasy VI? Those were some truly defining moments in the history of, not just the Final Fantasy franchise, but video games in general. These days, though, a new generation of gamers is rather spoiled by all the “must have action now” attitudes that prevail throughout their peers. First person shooters with pitiful excuses for stories, RPGs that try to cater to this “I want it now” generation, but fall flat because the story isn’t expounded upon as much as it should be and games that attempt to cover over the fact that their story sucks with massive amounts of customization and personalization of the characters and everything else are all commonplace."

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Hitman07692360d ago

I've always loved the storytelling aspects to RPGs especially ones based on Anime characters. I think that Anime and Video games like Cross Edge are going to be a great way for Anime to come to life for its fans on another medium. Final Fantasy is one of the best examples of storytelling done at its best, I personally find Final Fantasy VI to be the most amazing storytelling experience but it has aged of course from what we now consider standard.

Hitman07692360d ago

Lupin the Third would work as more of an action game though.

Archaic2360d ago

While there's certainly more room for visual novels in the west, I'm honestly surprised that the author of this particular piece didn't write about those which have been successful. After all, what are the Phoenix Wright games if not visual novels? Actually, quite a few successful games on the DS have arguably been visual novels. Professor Layton probably qualifies, Hotel Dusk most certainly does. Perhaps the real problem right now is that Western Gamers aren't so willing to accept these kinds of games on their PC.

Chadness2360d ago

You are right, there are many visual novel style games that are fairly popular on various systems, some of these crossed my mind. The intent of the article wasn't particularly to say, "Hey, look at this and look at that, these are good!" I guess it was more to say the style of storytelling and depth of some stories are good in the genre overall.

Also, at least to some extent, I was trying to point out why Western gamers should be interested in some of these titles and not point fingers at the ones that worked and say, "Hey, you liked this one, what is wrong with all these others?"

Part of the issue is with localization. I really think that some of these titles would sell well if they're localized on the PSP or PS2. Maybe not the high-end systems, as that may be too expensive for the publisher. It is partially the publisher's responsibility to try to widen out a certain audience's exposure to these niche genres, and, of course, they won't do that unless the idea is financially sound, unfortunately.

But you are right, there are a few specific franchises that appeal to Western gamers that would hopefully be a stepping stone to get more of those types of games over here.

Archaic2360d ago

Always nice to see the author of a piece like this come on to comment. =) Welcome to AnimeShinbun.

I agree that localization is an issue. Visual Novel games can be more text heavy than some RPG's. They're a real chore to bring out of Japan for many groups, and with them thinking of the games as being a real market risk, they just don't see there being much incentive to translating them.

I wonder if taking a Crunchyroll style approach would help them at all. Encourage fan groups to contribute translations, then release the games as download only in those languages using those translations. A lot less risk involved there.

Reibooi2360d ago (Edited 2360d ago )

While I agree that on a technical level there are games that can be considered visual novels that have been successful here it's kind of misleading.

When you say the words visual novel most will picture games like Fate/Stay Night, Clannad, Air, Shuffle, Little Busters, Tsukihime, Snow Sakura and the like.

Games like those have never been successful on a main stream level. Alot of that is because most of those games have adult material in them and most people can't seem to accept that most of the time it's not exploitative and that it actually adds to the games(R rated movies have sex scenes and no one freaks about that.)

Even looking past that almost all of the games mentioned above(with the exception of Tsukihime) had console versions with all of the adult material removed and still they were never brought to the US. There are clearly markets for these games as the anime they inspired are quite popular here. Fate/Stay Night and Clannad for example have great fan followings in the US and yet have never seen the original games that inspired the anime released in the US.

So while it certainly is true that games like Phoenix Wright could technically mean visual novel it's also not what most could think off when mentioning visual novels and those that the games that need to be given a chance in the US.

Archaic2360d ago

Agreed that it's not what most people would think of, but I believe those sorts of games demonstrate at least that the market may be more receptive to that style of gameplay than some publishers realise.

cotter2360d ago

you know whats a good visual novel (EVER17 The Out Of Infinity)

Hitman07692360d ago

This looks pretty interesting cotter, do you have any others to recommend?

cotter2360d ago

yeah (Katawa Shoujo Act 1) its going be a very good game but its a demo so far. other good ones is (Cross Channel)(Edelweiss) you can download from site very good site
his anime lots of games to download.

Reibooi2360d ago

In the case of Edelweiss you know support the company and buy the game in english from instead downloading it illegally via Fakkku.

Gestalt2357d ago

Don't see that happening any time soon.

There's quite a bit of stigmata associated anime in general. Get caught watching it in public at high school, and suddenly everybody thinks you're a registered sex offender.*

*true story, one of my friends ended up like that. He's fine after he got into Uni, though.