Visual Novels; could they work in Western market?

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#1 Posted by Miroku32 (8666 posts) -

Hello everyone.

First of all, I don't know if everyone knows what a visual novel is. For those who don't know, here is an article from Wikipedia. Overall, a visual novel is a game in where you read text and sometimes you have decisions that might affect how the game will end. Some choices aren't important, some are which decides if you get a bad end or continue with the game. And usually, Visual Novels are divided into routes for give some replay value.

Now, these games usually stay in Japan for some reason which I suppose is the japanese studios don't find a market that justifies an official translation and localize the game to America and Europe. For visual novels like me we depend on fangroups that translate the game to english or if you know japanese, well, you have a whole new genre at your disposal.

Recently, a fangroup posted in their blog that Valve contacted them for have a playable demo of the translation of Steins;Gate which makes me think Valve is interested in bringing the genre to the Western World. But you may thinking, why I would want to play a dating sim?; not all visual novels are dating sims. And even if they don't appear there are visual novels that have a great story like Clannad, Fate/Stay Night, Tsukihime or even Steins;Gate.

With this my main question, do you believe that Visual Novels have a future in the western world or they should stay in Japan forever and ever? Personally, I would love to have official translations rather than have to wait for a fangroup to translate it (I don't mean I want them to disappear but fangroups usually take a good time for translate a visual novel, which I understand of course) but it seems hard that gamers would buy games from this genre.

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#2 Posted by josephl64 (4424 posts) -

if they have a future it is definitely going to be a slow transition and if it succeeds it may forever remain a niche...Steins; Gate is probably a most fitting start for Western consumers though

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#3 Posted by Miroku32 (8666 posts) -

if they have a future it is definitely going to be a slow transition and if it succeeds it may forever remain a niche...Steins; Gate is probably a most fitting start for Western consumers though

josephl64
Yeah, that may be why Valve contacted the fangroup. Although Fate/Stay Night seems also a good choice for western market. Clannad and visual novels from Key on the other hand, aren't a good idea for start here.
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#4 Posted by gameguy6700 (12197 posts) -

Visual novels aren't viable in Western markets. The closest anyone has ever come was adventure games that were especially heavy on text (Phoenix Wright, Hotel Dusk). Stuff like Little Busters, Clannad, Saya no Uta, Yume Miru Kusuri, and Chaos;Head simply wouldn't do well in Western markets because

- They're weird
- They have WAY too much reading. Most gamers in the West already have a heavy aversion to reading even in normal games. A game based entirely around the fact that it's a novel you click through with pictures, music, and voice acting would absolutely bomb here
- A lot of them are erotic, and the characters (by virtue of this being made in Japan) often look very young, if they're not outright stated to be children. The issues posed by this should be obvious.
- In Japan VNs sell for something like $80-$160 a pop. This far beyond what Westerners would pay for any game, much less one in which you do nothing but read the entire time.

We'll never see VNs get commercial releases outside of Japan. And really the Western version of VNs are adventure games like Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle, Indigo Prophecy, and Heavy Rain which are intended to be to movies what VNs are to books.

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#5 Posted by tjoeb123 (6843 posts) -
I'm sure they would, if new people are invited into the genre. They're super long (er than The Elder Scrolls) - I haven't even beat Clannad yet! (But I saw all 52 episodes anyway.)
Clannad and visual novels from Key on the other hand, aren't a good idea for start here.Miroku32
*gasp* You take that back!!!! Lol. But seriously, if Clannad (and Air, Kanon, and Angel Beats!) did well over here, then it SHOULD be brought over (voices intact) should the genre ever get going, if it even exists. Oh, and the guy in the upper right hand corner reminds me a hell of a lot of Zell from Final Fantasy VIII, and the guy in the middle, of Otonashi from Angel Beats!.
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#6 Posted by juliankennedy23 (894 posts) -

Depends on how much nudity there is... no really I am serious people will play all sorts of adventure games for some virtual nudity... so I have um read.

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#7 Posted by uglyhippos (283 posts) -

I think it will do great on e-readers and tablets or at least I will buy it for it.

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#8 Posted by ZIVX (2981 posts) -

Phoenix Wright seemed to have a lot of success now that many people know who he is and I think 999 sold more in the US than Japan, but visual novels are going to cotinue to be niche and sell a couple hundred thousand at most

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#9 Posted by tjoeb123 (6843 posts) -

Phoenix Wright seemed to have a lot of success now that many people know who he is and I think 999 sold more in the US than Japan, but visual novels are going to cotinue to be niche and sell a couple hundred thousand at most

ZIVX
Just like NISA's games, particularly one where girls get (almost) naked in battle that's already out, and another one that literally has NOTHING BUT girls, does what guys like best, and comes out on the PS3 this Feb. Those games actually do have stories, though.
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#10 Posted by Miroku32 (8666 posts) -
I'm sure they would, if new people are invited into the genre. They're super long (er than The Elder Scrolls) - I haven't even beat Clannad yet! (But I saw all 52 episodes anyway.)tjoeb123
Clannad is even longer as a Visual Novel. There is a route about a boy called Kappei and Tomoya must help him. It also focuses a lot of Ryou and of course, we have the a lot of joy watching how stupid Sunohara is, especially since Kappei looks like a girl. And in After Story there are two routes, the one we all know about Nagisa and Tomoya but there is also another route that focuses on Akio and Sanae and it is must to finish that route for the happy ending.
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#11 Posted by Bigboi500 (35550 posts) -

It could work if they had at least some form of advertisement.

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#12 Posted by Jackc8 (8515 posts) -

Don't think they're viable here. They might find a tiny niche audience on tablets and e-book readers as someone said, but only if they were really cheap.

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#13 Posted by QQabitmoar (1892 posts) -

Did you just say that Steins;Gate will be coming to steam and with official translation at that? Just made my day.

Also, inb4 KATAWA SHOUJO.

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#14 Posted by tjoeb123 (6843 posts) -

Did you just say that Steins;Gate will be coming to steam and with official translation at that? Just made my day.

Also, inb4 KATAWA SHOUJO.

QQabitmoar
He links or he lied.
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#15 Posted by TheBlackKnight3 (1586 posts) -

Wasn't Katawa Shoujo made in the West?

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#16 Posted by Miroku32 (8666 posts) -

Did you just say that Steins;Gate will be coming to steam and with official translation at that? Just made my day.

Also, inb4 KATAWA SHOUJO.

QQabitmoar
Never said Steins;Gate will come to Steam. Said that the fantranslation group that is translating the game was contacted by Steam for have a playable demo of the game. Here is the link
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#17 Posted by gameguy6700 (12197 posts) -

Phoenix Wright seemed to have a lot of success now that many people know who he is and I think 999 sold more in the US than Japan, but visual novels are going to cotinue to be niche and sell a couple hundred thousand at most

ZIVX
I wouldn't really call Phoenix Wright a visual novel. It's more like an adventure game than a visual novel considering a large amount of the game is scouring scenes for clues and items to use later. Compare that to most visual novels where the interaction comes in the form of choosing between 2-5 options every hour or two.