NIS America has been a relatively quiet but prolific publisher this console generation, bringing some of Japan's best -- or at least some of its most interesting -- games to the West.
Over the weekend, the company announced the two latest titles that are on the way to North America and Europe: Vita games Demon Gaze and DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.
Demon Gaze is a new title from Kadokawa Games and Experience Inc, the latter of whom was responsible for Demon Gaze's predecessor Students of the Round.
Demon Gaze unfolds some several thousand years after Students of the Round. It's not a direct sequel, so don't worry if you never played it -- which, unless you speak Japanese, you probably haven't -- but the two games do share a setting.
The game is a dungeon-crawling RPG in which you take on the role of the protagonist Oz as he finds himself in a strange and mysterious land, and attempts to eke out a suitably profitable existence while he comes to terms with his new "Demon Gaze" abilities. Along the way, he'll hunt for artifacts, fight monsters and build relationships with non-player characters. The game also features the facility for the player to create their own secondary characters from a combination of seven different character classes and five different races. Oh, and you can change their name and voice by making them take a bath because of course you can.
Demon Gaze's original Japanese incarnation featured a number of somewhat suggestive situations and artwork, as is often the wont for Japanese RPG developers. NIS America generally isn't too prudish when it comes to localizing that sort of thing, though going on recent history there may well end up being a few cuts and edits here and there to avoid offending our delicate Western sensibilities. We'll see.
There's no specific release timeframe for Demon Gaze yet, but it will apparently be with us "early next year."
DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
DanganRonpa is a mystery visual novel game developed by Spike Chunsoft, of 999 fame. The setup is mildly akin to Team GrisGris' horror visual novel Corpse Party, in which a number of students are trapped within a school, cut off from the outside world and subject to the machinations of a possibly supernatural influence -- in this case, a murderous little bear called Monokuma.
The gameplay in DanganRonpa is more like Ace Attorney than Corpse Party, however, albeit with a somewhat faster pace. Each section of the game unfolds in three main components: Exposition, in which characters interact with one another and build relationships in mechanics similar to Persona's Social Link system; Investigation, in which the characters try and gather evidence about something that has happened; and School Trial, in which the player must root out contradictions and uncover the truth.
The School Trial components are somewhat more fast-paced and aggressive than Ace Attorney's courtroom sequences. Using evidence "ammunition" gathered in the Investigation sequences, players must shoot contradictory statements, shoot specific letters from anagrams to uncover new clues, rhythmically respond to an opponent's statements and finally assemble the truth of the matter into a comic book-style depiction of what happened. Fans of Dr. Naomi's sequences in Atlus' excellent and much-underappreciated Wii game Trauma Team will doubtless be right at home.
DanganRonpa makes use of a "2.5D" graphic style in which 2D characters and items are blended within a 3D environment. It also makes use of heavy "pop art" influences to contrast with the dark subject matter.
It'll be out in early 2014, presumably around a similar time to Demon Gaze.