The visual novel is a fairly niche genre of gaming in the West. In the past, releases of games from this genre were rare, mostly due to the sheer amount of translation involved and the fact that many games of the genre don’t have “gameplay” in the typical sense of the word. The genre began to pick up steam with the releases of games such as Phoenix Wright and 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. While this style of game remains uncommon in the West, it seems that some publishers have begun taking the risk to bring us more games of this genre.
Case in point, “Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havok,” which received it’s first English trailer on December 5th, 2013. Although now a popular franchise in Japan, the series itself is relatively unheard of in the West. The game itself tells the story of a number of high school students who become trapped in their school. In order to escape, they are required to commit, and get away with, murder.
Some aspects of the game are similar to the Phoenix Wright series, with a focus on trial scenes to determine who committed various murders throughout the story. Danganronpa leans heavily on the “game” side of the visual novel genre (in which some releases can be nothing but reading and making dialog selections like in a Choose Your Own Adventure book), with first-person exploration of the game world and various mini-games strewn about.
NIS America, already known for handling niche titles, announced their intention to release the game on the PlayStation Vita in North America and Europe on February 11th and February 14th, 2014, respectively. The English trailer, featuring examples of the game’s unique visual style, can be seen below.