PlayStation Vita-exclusive franchise Danganronpa has helped to establish a market for Japanese visual novel games in the West.
That's according to Takuro Yamashita, CEO and president of NIS America, which is the publisher for the titles in the US and Europe.
Combined sales of the first two Danganronpa titles – Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair – now total more than 200,000 across Europe and the US,” Yamashita told MCV.
That's just on PS Vita – it's quite an impressive number.”
Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair were released in the West last year, exclusively on Vita.
The Spike Chunsoft-developed games started off as PSP titles in Japan, before also coming to Vita and mobile in the region.
A third title, third-person spin-off Another Episode:Ultra Despair Girls, is slated for release in Western regions later this year, following its launch in Japan last September.
Yamashita added that the success of games such as Danganronpa had proved a Western appetite for the Japanese visual novel format – a traditionally niche medium which keeps active gameplay to a minimum, instead prioritising text-heavy storytelling, art style, dialogue and narrative depth.
Danganronpa was definitely the game that made visual novels popular with Western gamers; since then there's been more coming out,” he said. It's been quite good.
We're just about to launch Danganronpa: Another Episode in September, which is set between the first two games, and I'm confident people will love it.
NISA is known for publishing niche JRPGs like Disgaea, but now we're shifting the system towards visual novels after the success of Danganronpa.”