Siliconera Sounds Off: Offering Visual Novels On Consoles

By Ishaan . January 24, 2010 . 3:40pm


This week, we wrap up our talk with MangaGamer with talk of visual novels potentially appearing on consoles in the West.



Localization Editor, MangaGamer – EvoSpace

Siliconera – Ishaan Sahdev Ishaan: Demos certainly don’t hurt when trying to reach out to more people. I found the KiraKira demo in particular very impressive, personally. It wasn’t too short, and it really made me want to see the full game. What about something beyond that, like posting news on visual novels released in Japan to see what clicks with your fans? EvoSpace: Yes. Ideally, there should be a demo for every game. It should help our sales in the long run. Posting news in Japan is something we did think about, but the workload required for frequent updates means a whole business by itself. So at the moment, we’re thinking about how to use our "column" section effectively, but different from our "staff blog."


Ishaan: Do you think editing out the sexual content would help reach more people? From what I understand, putting these games on consoles may not be worth the investment for a variety of reasons, but now that we have services like DSiWare and Playstation Network, do you think stripping out the sex and distributing them digitally on consoles would give you exposure to the anime and RPG audience? For example, Hudson released a game called Himitsu no Ooku on DSiWare last year…


EvoSpace: I’m not sure about "reaching out to more people" because in order to enjoy these titles, the customer / user needs to be of certain age anyway, and most of the time, the sex scenes are part of the story. At least in Japan, the all-age bishoujo visual novels never sell like the Adults-only equivalent (Unless its a big title like Little Busters!), and could even be a dangerous investment. As for the titles that already have an all age version, yes, it is possible to offer them in English along with the Adult version.


I can’t say about console DSiWare and PSN because we haven’t done any research yet, but maybe in the future…


Ishaan: Mainstream games are only just making progress in the realm of depicting and talking about sex, whereas visual novels and h-games have been doing this for ages. Do you ever feel they could play a big role in the future of the industry?


EvoSpace: Yes, more of the bigger titles are indeed implementing those elements today. But at the other end, there are the bigger titles in the H-game/visual novels market, which are living on with little or no h-scenes.


I think this means there are much more, wider tastes in videogames today than ever, and satisfying each customer is as difficult as ever. For example; there is a small category of this genre of its own — the love-adventure games — in the Japanese console market, since maybe the Sega Saturn days. Maybe we can develop this category in the western game market, maybe not.


In the end, I feel should be like a library of these games where customers can specifically choose a title to their liking instead of simply labeling all of them "porn."


Missed a piece? Catch up on the entire SSO with MangaGamer:

Part 1: Talking Localization And Expansion With MangaGamer

Part 2: Why Some Visual Novels Never Get Localized

Part 3: The Visual Novel’s Barriers To Entry

Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • tsukasa1288

    Stick to releasing visual novels like Clannad on consoles, which never had adult content to begin with. If they were to ever release outside of Japan, I’d prefer to have actual physical copies of the games myself, but if digital distribution was the only way that it could be sold I’d still buy it that way.

    • This. I want Clannad in the west, on my 360. Please, do this and it will sell. Clannad has a sizable audience in North America thanks to the amazing anime.

  • Aoshi00

    I wish we would have more console ports for these great visual novels like back in the Saturn and Dreamcast days. But if I’m spending a lot of money, I wouldn’t want a water down version w/ racy scenes cut out either.. So is the only way to get Kara no Shoujo via PC d/l now, for both Jpn and Eng.? There are 3 parts in total right? How many parts have Mangagamer translated alrdy? Sry I’m slow on this Ishaan (just caught up reading your articles linked here lol). I went to read the synopsis on this and it has me peaked! Like there’s a Jack the Ripper or something in early Showa after WWII! The “pics” had me sold too lol (but then maybe some are too grotesque for my taste..) I just want physical copies, either on PC or console…I’m d/l’ing the demo now, I’m going to try it out in a bit. I’m replacing my wallpaper too, Reco on her beetle (Mushihime-sama)’s been hogging the screen for months now :)

    • I don’t think MangaGamer have licensed Kara no Shoujo unfortunately. It does look incredible, though, art-wise. It’d be awesome if they did decide to pick it up in the future. :)

      You know, it’s kind of amazing how the 360 has become the system for visual novels in Japan despite all it has going against it…most of them are exclusive, too.

      • Aoshi00

        Yeah, MS is really pushing it in Jpn, exclusive VNs, shmups, and other games.. again a shame on a system the Jpn audience just doesn’t have the much affinity toward, despite its many great titles, and how much work and effort Jpn MS really puts into the market, the Jpn Live contents is great, I check it out every two days w/o fail.

        I got the demo from your link, but can’t get my computer to display the Jpn text though.. I like the art, but too much violence for shock value could gross me out.

        • I think I’m more resistant to shocks after Saya no Uta…

          Yea, in a sense it’s almost sad that the 360 is the only console on which these games are prevalent. If publishers could put more of them on the other four systems, they’d have a much broader reach than they do now. Still, I guess this is a good start.

  • Well, i think is coming little by little, ar tonelico are kinda close to of VN, agarest war soon to come, sakura wars… i know there are others but i cant remember now. But i am sure most of the people prefer VN with some kind of rpg style battles o.o…

    • Joanna

      yeah, I think that it should be gradual as well if more people are to be hooked into it. So make a game that is one part visual novel and another part S/RPG like the examples you provided. I think that could also lengthen games (since adventure games some times have problems with length).

      I know I would love more games that blend VN and RPG. :3

  • Aoshi00

    Actually there are quite a few VNs on 360 alrdy, like Memories Off 6, Time Leap, SteinsGate, etc. I kind of want to try SteinsGate, it’s about some sci-fi, time traveling thing in Akihabara or something.. I have to say I’m too lazy to read these days, I’ve been buying manga for the last two years (maybe about 5 per month) and there’s a stack of them I haven’t read, so there’s like backlog for both manga and games…

    • Moriken

      Yeah, SteinsGate looks intriguing. And I’d like to read Chaos Head Noah which supposedly doesn’t have those crappy endings like the original xD
      Someone should tell Nitro+ they have to backport them to the PC.

  • Aoshi00

    Anyone know how to make the Jpn words appear on the “Kara no Shoujo” demo? The text just appears as dots and I’m using Windows Vista… does one need to change the system’s language to Jpn or something? Sry if this is offtopic, I’m never really been into PC games.

  • StealthKnight

    The touch memories series, phoenix wright series, Room 13 and the last window are also visual novels or very close to visual novels. I would probably say focus on the less sexual ones at first to build up an audience then release some sexual ones here and there so people think of you as more of a literary company rather then some sleazy porn company.

  • bobhoskins

    Oh, look… An Ishaan post. And whudda thunked it, it’s about visual novels…

    Are you and Spencer the only guys working on this site? If so, then you need to put a bit more emphasis on stuff OTHER than a medium that less than 0.1% enjoy…

    • Aoshi00

      What’s your reason for criticizing the contents on this site. Why come here if you don’t even like it? Siliconera is a site that looks into imports and titles that aren’t readily available in the West. If you want updates on Mass Effect 2 (which is a title I like also), I’m sure there are lots of sites you could check out. I find the subject interesting, even though I’m not very familiar w/ the intricacy of licensing and distributing and such, since it’s not something I need to be concerned about, as I can read Jpn myself.

    • Hraesvelgr

      What’s with all these random people criticizing the VN posts, lately? If you don’t like what’s discussed here, go to Kotaku or something, they dicuss the mediums that 99.9% enjoy and nothing more. This site is great because these things are actually discussed instead of being ignored completely, except for unfunny jokes.

      • Ereek

        I’ve noticed there’s definitely a lot more negativity in the last few months. I started posting here because there wasn’t a lot of negativity and “hateful,” perhaps too strong of word – but whatever, comments. If you don’t like the site, or the article, simply don’t post.

    • Seriously, what’s up with all of the negativity?

      Every post on the site won’t appeal to everyone. We’re aware of that because Siliconera’s core is expanding awareness.

      If you don’t like something you’re welcome to skip it or perhaps leave constructive criticism. Comments like this aren’t adding to the discussion.

      I encourage EVERYONE to flag “complain-ments” and users that are derailing the comment section. Fortunately, we don’t have many of these kinds of posters, but the number has gone up recently. I hate to start moderating (dare I say banning?), but if it’s what we have to do…

  • Thanks for the kind words everyone! And yea, I’ll have to admit there certainly has been an increase in trolling of late. But a lot of our commenters are also very insightful, and that’s something we definitely want to preserve.

    Without going into too much detail (for now), we’re working on ways to allow the community to moderate itself, so stay tuned!

    • Just a hint, the community can moderate itself a bit. Use “flag” :)

      • But that still requires you to do the dirty work. ;)

        • Nope! Flagging is like voting down comments, it makes bad ones vanish without any interference by the staff.

          • Oh! Never mind my comment then. I thought we still didn’t have the voting down option implemented. :)

            Now you can bitchslap the trolls yourself! Power to the people! Viva la revolution! :D

  • Jaxx-Leviathan

    I second that notion. The only reason I post here is because most of you people here are mature and can have a decent debate without getting mean and hateful. Besides I think that a lot of the people who read Siliconera have an interest in VN to some degree, it’s a very “japanese” subject and relates to the unheard of side of gaming, which is what Siliconera stands for. Be happy that someone brings you articles like this. Kepp up the good work Ishaan.

  • That image reminds me how I sometimes miss 80’s character designs with big hair and heavy shading. Still, the production values of todays TV anime are on par with the OVAs of yesteryear so it’s not all bad (people tend to forget how shocking the TV animation was back then and only remember the OVAs and movies).

    The trouble with visual novels is that by the time we get to see them, there’ll probably have been an anime adaptation of them spoiling lots of the twists (admittedly usually only of the main routes).

    • I love a lot of ’80s character designs, too. They’re very charming with their huge eyes and general air of innocence. Coincidentally, I just ordered the DVD boxset of Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs off Amazon last week!

  • Moriken

    “most of the time, the sex scenes are part of the story.”

    Umm…at best 20% of all ero-scenes in story-based visual novels don’t matter for the story? Except for the fact “ok they had sex”, how it played out usually is totally irrelevant…not that I mind them, there’s always fast forward. But my favorites are the games which stick most of their ero-scenes after the ending – can it be any more obvious that they are only there…um…be there? ^^;

  • ritchan

    I would love to see Cartagra and Kara no Shoujo translated… in past tense. Sigh. Well I’ll just wait until they finish their translation at TLWiki and I guess I’ll pester them for the resources.

    Also, Cocktail Soft! I remember playing Pia Carrot with that translation patch for the PC-FX version.

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