Now this is what I’m talking about! Aksys is quickly becoming one of my favorite localization studios simply because they know what niche Japanese game fans want to see in the West and have no qualms about working to make it happen.
Fate/Extra is a PSP title based off of a visual novel (Fate Stay/Night). The game, however, is more of a customizable RPG/dungeon crawler. Sure, it will have been out in Japan for over a year by time it releases here, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less excited about the prospect of seeing this title in the U.S., considering it’s one of those games fans of niche Japanese experiences never thought we’d see without importing it.
Secondly, they’re bringing an even lesser-known title over, which is a historical RPG from Idea Factory called Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom. This is an RPG, sure, but it is also an “otome” dating sim/visual novel. If you know anything about Idea Factory, you know their games tend to lean heavily toward the visual novel side of things, regardless of what genre the game technically fits into (see Hyperdimension Neptunia, or others).
Typically, Japanese dating sims are geared toward a more mature and very male audience, thus you see girls in scantily clad outfits, or find the male protagonist in compromising situations with the girls. This one, however, is just the opposite. “Otome” style dating sims refer to games (or just media in general) that are geared toward young female players. The games always have a female protagonist and tend to make the act of fighting for the interests of the boy just as important as other aspects of the game. They also tend to be less overtly sexualized since they target pre-teen and teenage girls.
Interesting is the fact that Aksys decided to bring an “otome” title to the U.S. instead of the more popular (at least over here) male-focused visual novel/relationship sim. That’s a good thing, though, since it shows that they’re open to bringing anything this direction.
Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom follows Chizuru Yukimura in the Edo-period of Japan’s history, as she goes on a quest to find her missing father. Naturally there will be samurais involved, as well as Japanese mythological elements and, hopefully, a lot of good role-playing type stuff.
Both Fate/Extra and Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom will be PSP titles (not Vita), because it seems the aging PSP is a haven for niche Japanese games, and that’s just fine by me. Look for them both to be on store shelves here by the first quarter of 2012, if not sooner.