OPINION: IFI, Otome, and Visual Novels

Monday, January 16th, 2017

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Visual Novels = A Healthy Ecosystem

The very fact that IFI is being allowed to localize Otome Novels is a good sign. It means the company is doing well and Idea Factory has faith in them. If things weren’t going well, I doubt they’d be willing to let them even attempt this considering that this is the first time Hakuoki is being localized by them. Remember, Aksys Games has been doing the majority of the localization work here. It’s a lot safer to just allow them to continue to do that and collect whatever licensing or royalties there were. Instead, we have them bringing the franchise back in-house. This means the 2015 release of the Otome Novel Amnesia: Memories had to have at least been marginally successful and that Idea Factory has confidence in the Otome market and, by extension, the niche market as well. Do I have any proof of this? Well, yes.

Idea Factory International | Cyber Dimension Neptune

Yes, Four Goddesses Online: Cyber Dimension Neptune will more than likely be coming to the West, consideringthe Neptunia franchise pays the bills. However, IFI can not live off Neptune and friends alone.

Consider that at the same press event that Hakuoki was announced, Idea Factory International also announced that they would be bringing over Dark Rose Valkyrie, a game that was developed with an international release in mind, and Mary Skelter Nightmares which one could consider a very risky game due to its extreme ecchi elements. These games indicate a diverse portfolio of titles that Idea Factory International is working on. Something any good company needs. Yes, Neptunia may pay the bills, but it takes more than that to keep the company afloat and relevant.  If we’re even getting such niche titles as Otome games then I think it’s safe to say IFI is working very hard to diversify itself. Still, I can hear many of you dating sim fans yelling at me in the background about a certain franchise called Date A Live. Well let’s talk about that for a moment, shall we?

Idea Factory International | IFI Announcements

The announcements made by IFI in November all point to the company diversifying its portfolio. Something that’s good as a whole for gamers.

Why is Date A Live still MIA?

I did ask IFI’s CEO, Harusato Akenaga, about what’s going on with Date A Live and was told it’s something that they were looking into. While on one hand, that’s a very generic answer, I have to think they are looking into the franchise considering they are localizing Otome games now. Why didn’t they just go ahead and announce the game then or more strongly hint at it coming down the pipeline? Wouldn’t that make sense to do at a major press event? I have a theory regarding that. It actually makes more sense to wait.

Idea Factory International | Date A Live

Date A Live Twin Edition: Rio Reincarnation is the latest release in the Date A Live franchise and came out in 2015 for the Vita in Japan

IFI wants to give Hakuoki the best chance it has to succeed. That means it’s best to focus on one Visual Novel title at a time to give the ecosystem room to breathe. Yes Date A Live is a dating sim which is a different genre, but there is overlap. Not to mention with both being Visual Novels, you don’t want to launch two in the same window. Also, there’s another good reason to wait; we have a major event coming up in July known as Anime Expo.

Think about it for a moment: you have a major franchise that people have been asking to be localized for some time. Considering Anime Expo generally has major Visual Novel announcements, I think it makes more sense to announce it at a panel in front of fans. Granted, this is all speculation but if I was going to announce the game, that’s where I’d do it.  So is Date A Live coming? As of this point officially, no. However, I can’t help but think it has to be coming in the future. That all said, let’s close this out.

About Benny Carrillo

A gamer since the days of the NES, this professional otaku adores Mega Man, Super Robot Wars, Yuri, Visual Novels, the Slice of Life anime genre, and of course Hyperdimension Neptunia. His mission on oprainfall is to help deliver the news straight to you.


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