I didn’t have the systems to play Hakuoki when it first came out. In fact, I had no idea what it was until I found the anime and people said how they liked how the game better.
Now here I am, learning Japanese after making Japanese friends. And I rediscovered otome games.
So what about the West? Are we ready for otome games?
Let’s not forget the debut of Hatoful Boyfriend which drew flocks to its ridiculous setup, or the Hakuoki audience that led to Aksys localizing Sweet Fuse.
At Sabaku Con (my first convention ever!) I met with the company Petit Reve. They created Soukai Buccaneers! and are releasing Goes! this November. They said they believe it’s worth investing in a potential market in the U.S due to the success of Hakuoki. I shat bricks right there.
When I got home, I purchased Soukai for my brand new Vita!
But you don’t know Japanese, why the heck would you waste money on that?
Because I’ll never get to enjoy the countless games I’d been drooling over unless I imported them…and learned Japanese, of course.
Thank God I actually have an interest in more than just anime and otoges or else I would have given up by now. Japanese is intense. It’s not something you can just do and I don’t believe learning it to play games as your only reason for learning the language is plausible. Sure, it can get you somewhere, but eventually you’ll either hit a wall you won’t want to climb or you’ll discover the beauty/messed up sides of Japan and find other reasons to learn the language.
Thankfully, times are changing! I firmly believe there is a market here. Story of Seasons, a new title in the Harvest Moon games, have done extremely well with XSEED
and let’s not even go there with Hakuoki. The new Fire Emblem game coming out features romance elements and lots of people have forums dedicated to their favorite husbando/waifu. Hatoful Boyfriend was a thing. Nameless and Dandelion have done well on Steam. Mobile games are doing good too-though I honestly dislike them a lot.
And our upcoming Code Realize and Norn9 are FANTASTIC choices. We just need them to be marketed well. These aren’t so heavily romance focused and plenty of guys would enjoy them. They boast glowing reviews even amongst critical reviewers who’ve imported them, and I could not be any more excited.
There is a market for otome games. Especially for the Vita. Please, Aksys, IFI, XSEED, whoever. Localize them.
Here are some other titles I believe would do very well in the West (excluding Dialovers since so many ppl talk about it and no offense but I don’t like abusive relationships no matter how you try to defend it)
Beast Master and Prince:
Political intrigue, a murder plot, princes turned into animals by a Witch, a strong heroine, stunning visuals and great love interests? This is for sure one of my top otoges.
Shinobi Koi Utsutsu:
Ever wanted to attend Ninja School in feudal Japan with a jutsu that causes all the guys to fall in love with you? Now you can! Equipped with your deadly “meromero” jutsu, no samurai warrior is safe. As you attend this prestigious school on a scholarship granted to you with the conditions that you earn top marks, you must choose a partner to help you control your jutsu. Just as that special someone realizes the jutsu isn’t what’s making him all raburabu for you, the story takes a turn as someone targets you for your abilities. Nothing new, but it’s a ton of fun watching the guy’s change under your spell.
Wand of Fortune: PLEASE MAKE A VITA REMAKE!
Wanted to go to Hogwarts? Well, this ain’t that, but it’s close enough!!! Unravel dark pasts as you try to make it through school and exams and stuff. Haven’t played yet but my friends rave about this and it’s got quite a fanbase.
Ken ga Kimi:
Can’t get enough Hakuoki, depressing ends, and tragic characters? Try Ken ga Kimi, where every husbando has a terrible past to muddle through. Supposed to be one of the great otoges.
Shinsouban Okashi na Shima no Peter Pan:
From QuinRose, the company that brought us Alice in the Country of series (if you couldn’t already tell lol) with their staple takes-np-shit heroine, comes this awesome game where you and your stepbrothers (cause they had to cover up the incest) are whisked to Neverland-the greatest place on earth. Here, Captain Hook is hot, there’s a male Tinker Bell, and you can even get ichaiicha with Peter Freaking Pan! Tell me I wasn’t the only one madly in love with Peter when I saw the Disney movie. Peter, you can take me to Neverland any time you want!;)
Reine Des Fleurs:
It’s gotten high, golden reviews and dat art.
What games would you like localized here?