Disco Elysium’s Japanese Rival Gnosia is Coming to Switch
Gnosia, now announced on Switch, is a critically acclaimed role-playing game and PlayStation Vita exclusive released in June 2019 only in Japan.
On the latest Nintendo Direct Mini released out of nowhere, Petit Depotto announced Gnosia will be releasing in Japan on Switch on April 30. The game will be priced at 2750 Yen (Tax included) and will be digital-only, available on the Nintendo Eshop. Pre-download is available today, March 26.
Gnosia is an indie game published by Mebius and developed by Petit Depotto. Before this Switch release, Gnosia was first released exclusively on PlayStation Vita in Japan on June 20, 2019. It’s actually one of the last exclusives PS Vita got.
Gnosia is a role-playing adventure game set in a spaceship and is basically a Loup Garou. One or more of the inhabitants of the spaceship is a Gnosia, a life-form who disguise themselves as a human, lie, and kill someone each night. The player character needs to chat with all the other characters, and can end up being able to use around 30 different commands such as “cover this person” or “doubt this person”, and try to figure out who the Gnosia are. Each day, all the characters will vote depending on their own hypothesis on who is the Gnosia, and the most suspected character will be put in a cold sleep.
If you manage to put all the Gnosia in cold sleep, the human side wins. If there are an equal number (or more) of Gnosia than the humans left among the characters, the Gnosia side wins.
What makes the game even more interesting is how it’s stuck in a time loop. Whenever the human side or the Gnosia side wins, the game restarts. Each loop, the identity of the Gnosia changes. Moreover, the player character can end up being a Gnosia themselves.
A loop can be as fast as 15 minutes of playtime, and each one is completely different, never starting with the same scene. The characters can have 2 other roles as well, the Engineer and the Doctor. The roles are introduced and explained as you go through more loops. New characters, new dialogues, and scenes are added as you go through the loops as well.
As you keep playing each loop, the game opens up more and more possibilities, such as limited time to move around the spaceship and meet with the characters.
That’s not all. When you first start playing the game, after mysteriously being asked to pick one out of three different save slots, the player selects their name, gender (Male, Female, Neither), favorite color, and starting stats. The player character can gain levels and increase their stats: Charisma, Sense, Logic, Charm, Performance, and Stealth.
Some of the actions you can do such as lying will succeed or fail depending on your stats. Upgrading these stats also unlock certain Skills to use during the conversations. The other characters can use Skills on the player character too. The player character’s stats and level carry over in each loop.
All the other characters not controlled by the player have their own stats as well, such as the “hate” stat which will rise if the players act conspicuously, or the “trust” stat. The player character themselves have these stats as well, changing your relationships with the characters each loop.
Learning to know all the characters’ way of thinking is the key to victory. Some of them act by emotion rather than logic. For example, If you are a Gnosia, some of the human characters, depending on your relationship with them and their personality, can still help you even after discovering your identity.
As you keep playing, you’ll even end up encountering Boss-like verbal fights. The goal of the game is to discover what is the Gnosia, why the characters are on the spaceship, and why the game is looping.
Being an indie game, Gnosia is a pretty low budget game and isn’t voiced at all, something pretty rare for Japanese games nowadays. However, the game was critically acclaimed by multiple Japanese outlets, who kept putting the spotlight on it throughout 2019. Hence why it piqued my interest. I remember IGN Japan kept writing about Gnosia all the time, calling it a masterpiece.
The situation with Japanese media all hyping up Gnosia was extremely similar to what happened outside Japan with western media and Disco Elysium in 2019. Both games are actually kinda similar. Many Japanese games in the past or upcoming ones such as Ryukishi07’s Gerokasu use Loup Garou-inspired mechanics. However, Gnosia mixes Loup Garou with actual RPG elements similar to those found in Disco Elysium instead of going the 100% visual novel route. I quickly mentioned so as well in my top 10 games of 2019 ranking, lamenting on how I didn’t have the time to play either Gnosia or Disco Elysium in all of 2019. As I’m writing this, I still didn’t. I’m definitely going to grab Gnosia on Switch now.
Gnosia‘s Switch announcement trailer, narrated by the beautiful voice of Yuichi Nakamura, is included below along with a short gameplay video. I’d be nice if it released outside Japan.