Oct
12

Would you “Love Plus”?

By

Love Plus” is a dating simulation game for the Nintendo DS where you get to flirt and eventually date one of the three available girls in the game.   The game has gained a huge following in Japan but so far has not been available in other languages.

(Personally, I prefer Nene - the one on the right!)

The Nintendo DS has pretty good graphics but it’s starting to show it’s age a little.  This isn’t a huge disadvantage with a game such as Love Plus which relies on drawing you into the game through emotional attachment and not fancy graphics.  Here you can see a sample video from the original game:

The game was very popular in Otaku circles but made world wide news when one of it’s players, a Japanese college student, married Nene Anegasaki, one of the characters from the video game.  Yes, he married her in real life – not in the game:

The next version of Nintendo’s hand held game was announced a few months ago, the 3DS, and of course there is going to be a new version of Love Plus on the new device as well.  It really looks fantastic and offers new possibilities for game play as well.  Here is a clip showing a sample of Love Plus on the new unit:

While the new release looks great and all it’s still only being released in Japanese.  I’ve studied some Japanese for a while but I’m nowhere near the point of being able to play a game or even watch anime without subs so that leave the possibility of this game off the table for me.  Thankfully Konami, the maker of Love Plus, may change that in the future.

Mina Okumura, in Konami‘s public relations department, was recently quoted saying: “We are doing research right now. We have just released it on the Japanese market but we are considering releasing it overseas,”.  If this is true, we may be seeing an English release of the popular Love Plus game being available in the near future.  (source of quote is here)

I’m not sure if it’s bad business decisions on some Japanese companies that cause them to ignore foreign markets or just plain Xenophobia but they should realize that the desire for these types of games, anime, and manga do not solely come from Japan.  There is a very large number of foreigners to Japan who want to spend their money on these products but find it difficult to purchase or in the case of this game, are not usable due to the language restriction.

So the question is, if Love Plus is made available in English and you have have the gaming platform, would you be interested in buying it?  Would you be afraid of looking like a ronery Otaku or have you gotten past that stage of caring what others think and decide to like what you like?

As for me I would have no problem buying/playing Love Plus – I’m a bit of a ronery Otaku now anyway and it seems like a good bit of fun.  I’m not too sure if I’d want to pay the high price for a Nintendo 3DS just to play it though.  I’m getting an Ipod touch next week – let them release it in English as a $20 game/app and I’ll be all over it.

**James.

Categories : Game, Otaku

Comments

  1. gekiganwing says:

    I admit this message may be TL;DR, and a bit late… But here’s some thoughts about the possibility of an English version of LovePlus on 3Ds.

    1) Early in 2010, there was a fan-driven effort to convince Konami to localize Tokimemo 4 (on PSP). I don’t recall that it got anywhere.

    2) During the lifespan of the DS, companies focused more and more on games for parents and kids. (I think this might be because a lot of the “games are serious business” fans were either interested in other entertainment, or played DS games through emulation or R4 cards…) It’s too early to say whether this trend will continue on 3DS.

    3) A lot of the top-selling games in 2010 have distinctly western aesthetics and themes. People have been buying serious action, sports, and military games. Generally speaking, 2D games and cute games are a niche.

    4) I’ve heard that Sakura Wars 5 for PS2/Wii was a failure in terms of sales, and I’ve also heard Agarest War for 360/PS3 was relatively successful. Sadly, I can’t back those statements up with numbers…

    5) It’s been over three years since Konami attempted to create a western-style romance game with Brooktown High. I’ve heard that it didn’t sell well. (Did it reach any audience? Was it doomed by being a PSP exclusive? I don’t know.)

    6) AFAIK, Konami has not expressed much interest in localizing its romance games.I don’t know if anyone at Konami has been paying attention to the now-finished fan translation of Tokimemo Girls Side DS. (But I do know that the discussion thread for the ongoing fan translation of TMGS2 on the GBATemp forums has been quite active.)

    7) Generally speaking, romance games are an untested category in English speaking console game fandom. There’s a fair number in English on computers, including some worksafe games, but both translated games and originally-in-English romance games are a small niche. There are some fans who will buy this content. But as you said, there are a lot of people who don’t want to have — or admit they have — an interest in fictional characters. Fans who exhibit Perverse Sexual Lust tend to scare off other fans.

    So yeah, there’s a lot of room for doubt. One hopeful note… If you look at DS software that was released in English, you’ll see a number of games that either didn’t get published on consoles prior to 2005, and some games that previously wouldn’t have been localized. I was impressed by some of the unique and unprecedented DS games. There’s potential for the 3DS to break new ground… especially if customers decide to buy them.

    So in conclusion, if you’re interested in an English localization of LovePlus for 3DS, then politely post on the company’s forums at http://www.konami.com/forums . Also, send a persuasive email to Konami employees. It might help to do a bit of research on persuasive letters, so that you emphasize Konami’s needs rather than your own wants.

    • James says:

      Thanks for all the info – great comment. I do know that outside of the Otaku fans in America a dating game would be a hard sell as it’s just too “strange” in most peoples eyes. There is also the idea that a dating sim game might take away from the family friendly ideal the company may be trying to portray. When it comes right down to it, many people would view it as a “porn game”.

      If they do get around to opening up an English release for the game it would be very interesting to see how the sales went, hopefully it would be enough to keep the companies interested in doing more English releases in the future.

      Thanks,
      James.

  2. dooley says:

    If they do release LovePlus here, I’ll buy it day one (or 2, depending on if and when Gamestop gets it in,) and use Youtube on an “As Needed” basis

  3. Anime Nut says:

    “4) I’ve heard that Sakura Wars 5 for PS2/Wii was a failure in terms of sales, and I’ve also heard Agarest War for 360/PS3 was relatively successful. Sadly, I can’t back those statements up with numbers…”

    According to vgchartz.com, which puts up sale numbers:

    Sakura Wars 5 on Wii sold 33,856 in the US and 17,611 copies in Europe

    and Agarest War on XBOX360 sold 132,076 copies in the US.

    Another interesting title is Muramasa, a game that was released only with Japanese voice acting.

    According to many people, and gaming execs, Western gamers don’t want to play games with Japanese voice acting (while most Japanese gamers aren’t bothered by English voice acting), and don’t like 2D games and games with cutesy anime style graphics, but Muramasa, a game with 2D anime style graphics and Japanese voice acting only, sold ,ore than 184 000 copies!

  4. Anime Nut says:

    correction : sold more than 184 000 copies!

    “I’m not sure if it’s bad business decisions on some Japanese companies that cause them to ignore foreign markets or just plain Xenophobia”

    Both, often Japanese companies think some products are too Japanese to export and won’t sell in other countries, especially non-East-Asian countries. South-Korea and Taiwan have gotten some of the niche stuff like Gundam games, dating sims and visual novels which are considered to be too Japanese for the west. However, there are also Westerners who are guilty of the same xenophobic and short-minded thinking.

    1) the Western branches of Sony and Sega used to have a no RPG policy back in the earlier times of PSX and Sega Saturn days, because most RPG’s in the first years of these consoles’ lifespan were in 2D, which they (Western branches) didn’t like, and a no 2D games policy, because 3D looks more high-tech according to Western execs that don’t know jack about videogames, and 2D games made the console look low-tech according to them…

    2) There is also a no Japanese voice acting policy enforced by Western branches while, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo Japan allow audio and text in any language (there have American games released only in English, with just an instruction sheet in Japanese, while the reverse would never be allowed by the xenophobic Western execs, despite the fact there is an importing market, so I’m sure some people would be ready to buy a Japanese only version released in Western countries with an instruction sheet in English)

    Since dubbing is so prohibitively expensive (it’s seriously at least 10 times more expensive than a text translation), companies choose only titles with very high sales potential, so titles that could sell well on a niche level are neglected, because of the cost of translation.

    The audio and text policies enforced by Western branches could be construed as trade obstruction, actually, Sony Europe used to have stringent approval policies like Sony America, which they had to abandon under pressure form the European union, so there’s ton of shovel ware released in Europe now, but also niche Japanese games that would never get approved by Sony America.

    Ever since the NES areas, companies have favored titles that needed no or few translation, like beat ‘em all, fighting and platform games instead of text heavy RPG’s or adventure games.

    They could take out all the voice acting and release a voiceless version, but this again is forbidden by Sony (dunno about Ninty and Microsoft), but it’s considered cutting out content. Companies are allowed to trim down (but not too much) on the amount of voice acting for Western versions if they want to, but can’t release a game that was released with voice acting, with no voice acting.

    3) Also, Sony of America supposedly doesn’t like text games, like visual novels, and doesn’t consider them games. Apparently Sega tried to release Sakura Taisen in the past but they were told their game wasn’t a game, because there’s too much text…

    3) The Western branches have much more stringent approval procedures than the Japanese HQ’s, tons of games which were released in Japan, and which were bestsellers there, get rejected.

    For example, the developer of Mother 3 (would be Earthbound 2 in the US if it had been released), Brownie Brown, commissioned translations in 5 different Western languages (including English), but the game was shot down by Nintendo of America who said the game’s story is too mature compared to its cutesy graphics. So the publisher spent money on translations only to be told the game’s release wouldn’t be allowed because of the mismatch between the story and graphics. Actually, ironically if the game hadn’t been translated, the people at NoA might have approved the game, because they wouldn’t have been able to judge its content.

    It’s totally ridiculous that a title that has been approved already by the Japanese HQ’s have to be approved by Western branches. The Japanese HQ’s let any kind of games get released basically, and value niche content and the long trail, while Western branches only care about games they can sell by the truckload to an audience they think is only illiterate Joe Sixpacks who are vowed by any kind of 3D games, even with bad 3D, and put-off by 2D.

    The Japanese market has mainstream games plus tons of niche games, which sometimes become mainstream and influence mainstream games, while the US market is mostly games that are assured to sell several million copies, so there’s little diversity, and most games cater to the same violence and blood and guts loving audience.

    Western branches have a huge responsibility in the decline of sales of Japanese video games in the West.

    Xenophobic and stupid Western execs working for console makers are also to blame. (and most of the times these people are not even gamers, and know nothing about video games!)

    PS: some publishers (the bigger ones) can get around these approval rules sometimes precisely because they’re big and powerful, and can release games with Japanese audio or games considered niche, but niche publishers have a uphill battle to fight.

  5. dooley says:

    if this 3ds version of loveplus should come here, I’ll buy it day one or 2. And I’ll have Manaka wake me up. To quote her “OK, this is the last one. WAKE UP”

  6. Freelancer says:

    Hrrmm, it’s definitely interesting, and I may get it BUT!!! I don’t have a 3DS (And it’s not enought to make me get one) and I am not yet in the stage of not caring what other people think. I’m still in the “Pretending to be like everyone else” stage, and I’m never alone so there would be no time for me to play it.

    • James says:

      I’d be very interested in trying it but not sure if I’d pay for a 3Ds just for this game. I don’t do much portable gaming as well. I do have some apps in my iPod but don’t use them that much.

  7. Landon Carter says:

    I think this game should be released in the US and if they do I’ll be in line to buy it.

  8. Ronin.Randy says:

    Well If Konami release love plus with english version..I will buy two of this game..and probably the action figure as well..I’m a big fans of this game..

    • James says:

      haha – I’m pretty sure I’d buy one, I’d also have to buy the device as I don’t own it, but not sure I’d buy 2. :D

  9. gekiganwing says:

    It’s been quite a few months since my initial comment. Konami has made no statements on any plans for a LovePlus localization. And it is difficult to say whether the Nintendo 3DS is succeeding or struggling.

    Meanwhile, fans on the GBATemp forum are steadily making progress on their own translation of the original DS game. As of June 2011, quite a bit of LovePlus is now playable in English.

    Also, other English speaking fans have been creating romance games for PC/Mac/Linux, and selling them through services such as BMT Micro and Impulse Driven. Teams such as Winter Wolves, Hanako Games, Okashi Studio, and Zeiva Inc have made a number of impressive, complex, and worksafe games about fictional relationships. Some of their independent games are aimed at men, while others are aimed at women.

    It might not be too late for a localization of the 3DS version of LovePlus. But I’m still not sure if Konami believes that it would profit by creating an English version. And even though indie game creators can make money by publishing their games on computers, it is more expensive and risky to publish games on consoles.

Leave a Reply

This is a Widget Section

This section is widgetized. If you would like to add content to this section, you may do so by using the Widgets panel from within your WordPress Admin Dashboard. This Widget Section is called "Feature Bottom Middle"

This is a Widget Section

This section is widgetized. If you would like to add content to this section, you may do so by using the Widgets panel from within your WordPress Admin Dashboard. This Widget Section is called "Feature Bottom Right"