As evidenced by games like Lux-Pain, Phoenix Wright and Heileen, the visual novel and adventure game genre is slowly beginning to establish a presence in the conscious of gamers. Perhaps this could mean a sudden interest in the genre, to the point where it could become a recognizable force.
In Japan, visual novels are already a popular and established genre. It’s important to note that games like Lux-Pain and Phoenix Wright are considered adventure games with visual novel elements there, while a game like Heileen would be considered a true visual novel. Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure novels for kids, where you’d be able to influence the story depending on what choices you’d make? Visual novels work the same way.
Today, Important Importables is going to go through a few already established stories and series which would make fantastic visual novels. Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments as well!
Fruits Basket is one of the most popular shojo manga in Japan, and has a very strong following in other countries as well. It’s a romantic comedy with fantasy elements.
Young Tohru Honda ends up becoming part of the Sohma household after her mother dies. However, the whole Sohma family is cursed. Aflicted family members transform into animals from the Chinese zodiac when they are hugged by people of the opposite sex. Tohru is the only person outside of the family to know about the curse, and as she grows to know and love the Sohmas, decides to do everything she can to break the curse.
The stories and sidestories in Fruits Basket are all very heartwarming and moving, which means they would provide a solid foundation for a visual novel. As for the multiple endings part, perhaps the visual novel could borrow a bit from otome games. Depending on choices you make, Tohru can become closer to the various Sohma family members. At the end, you get a friend ending with the person she’s closest to.
Yes, there have been Death Note games before. Typically, they’re mystery and adventure games similar to the Phoenix Wright games, or have logical puzzles to solve. It’s a dark, thrilling mystery. What I’m proposing is a Death Note visual novel which would take place through Light Yagami’s point of view, so players could see through the villain’s eyes.
See, Death Note is about a high schooler named Light Yagami who ends up picking up a strange, black notebook labelled Death Note on the cover. When he looks inside, he finds instructions for using it. If he writes down the person’s name in the book while picturing that person in his mind, that person will die. It turns out a death god named Ryuk dropped his Death Note in the human world because he thought it’d be interesting. Initially, Light uses it on criminals, but then becomes a megalomaniac who decides to use the book to create his “perfect” world.
While the regular series has one true ending (which is awesome, by the way), a visual novel could explore other roads. Maybe Light didn’t become corrupted by power. I’d offer other possible scenarios, but that would spoil the real ending.
The Princess Diaries
Another English language series that would work well as a visual novel is The Princess Diaries. In this series of books by Meg Cabot, which was also turned into two movies, a normal girl named Mia Thermopolis discovers that she is a princess. The ten volumes act as Mia’s diaries, chronicling her life after discovering the news.
The Princess Diaries could see massive success as a visual novel. Most girls and women have dreamed of being royalty at some point in their lives, and this would provide an appropriate outlet. It may be a good idea to pick and choose parts from the existing books, rather than trying to strictly follow the storyline of certain volumes.
The Princess Diaries could also work well as a Princess Maker style game, where players have to build Mia’s skills and would get different endings depending on her abilities.
COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables looks at doujin games based on Air.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables talked about Sakura Taisen.