In what must be one of the biggest coincidences in history, just only a few weeks after the fantranslation of Toshin Toshi 2 was released comes news that a remake developed by Imageepoch is in the works dated for January 2014.
This particular remake marks a milestone in Alicesoft’s history: It will be the first game they’ve created that was designed ground-up for a portable console, rather than their usual PC gaming. The only other PC to Console port they’ve done is Pastel Chime Continue, which was almost a direct straight port, minus the adult content.
I have very mixed feelings and yet an intense curiosity towards how the game will be handled.
Let’s start with the devs: Imageepoch. Imageepoch has quite a long history of ups and downs involving RPG design. They created Criminal Girls, Arc Rise Fantasia and the 7TH Dragon series which are generally considered good, but also have a couple of stinkers on their hands such as Sol Trigger.
In other words, the quality of this game is probably going to be entirely up to the air. They’re no Atlus, but on the other hand I suppose it also means they aren’t Idea Factory either.
The choice of 3DS as its only platform is also a weird decision: Generally speaking, fanservice oriented games don’t tend to show up on Nintendo consoles. Some might show up as a dual console thing (e.g Senran Kagura on the 3DS and Vita), but… 3DS only? If you only had to pick one handheld to go with, it should really have been the Vita, isn’t it?
The other thing I’m concerned about is whether or not the original game’s themes will be compromised in favor of just “fluff” fanservice.
This seems like an odd complaint to make doesn’t it, considering the original was an Eroge, wasn’t it? After all, according to your average ignorant person on the internet, none of them have any meaning or artistic worth whatsoever because they have the gall of actually portraying people have sex in them.
While adult games that are later turned into an “all-ages” version isn’t the most uncommon thing in the industry, most of the time the adult content in those games are obviously tacked on and thus easily removed when doing the “cleaning up.”
Alicesoft’s games, for better or for worse, have almost always tightly interwoven its adult content in both its narrative and gameplay, and thus the choice of adapting this particular game for an all-ages Nintendo console is mindboggling.
The original TT2 did a couple of things that are rather uncharacteristic of the genre as a whole. For example, at the start of the game, the main character already has a clear goal in mind: proving himself worthy of marrying his childhood friend by the ways of winning a fighting tournament.
In fact, the game actually gives you the opportunity to “cheat” on her and sow your wild oats, but the tone of writing and other factors makes it highly clear that the writers don’t approve of it and goes out of its way to make you feel really guilty about the entire thing, which is probably not the sort of narrative take you would expect from most games (which trend towards the “power fantasy” aspect of narratives).
Whereas in the remake, it seems that a good portion of the game mechanics involves taking the various girls out on dates and giving them gifts, which will unlock new abilities for the player character, Persona 3/4 style. According to articles, there will be “over 70 girls” to choose from.
I’m not sure if casual dating constitutes “cheating”, but it does seem kind of off.
Still, I’m not the sort of person who will doom and gloom everything just for being different. At bare minimum, while I dislike the new character designs (somehow the new character designs actually show more skin than the original), the other aesthetics such as background art seem pretty good. The original game is 20 years old and it’s surprising to even get a new installment at all. I would probably still give it a chance by playing it but too bad about Nintendo 3DS having a region lock and all.
To finish up, I wonder: what does it mean for the future of Alicesoft? In 20 years, will we actually enter a Bizarro world where we have an all-ages version of Kichikuou Rance on the 5DS? Crossovers in Super Smash Brothers? The mind boggles.
All pictures courtesy of the original Famitsu article